As soon as we walked over the hill I was instantly inspired. It was the most beautiful wreckage I had ever seen! I was looking at vehicles that held so much history and it was all I could to do stay away from my phone, wanting to look up information rather than just enjoy the exploring. We were near the Suffield military base looking at Armoured Fighting Vehicles (FV432) that were manufactured in 1968 and served with the most prominent tank regiment in the world - the 1st Royal Tank Regiment (1 RTR). We found one in particular known to travel through Europe protecting men and women for most of its career before ending its service and becoming a target for live training exercises in Canada. Still admirably serving by allowing the next generation of service men and women to hone their skills. This information was gathered from the UK Department of Defence once exploring ended and I did get to hop on my phone and do a little digging.
Climbing through the wreckage though, was a little eerie. Where exactly had these vehicles been? Who was in them and what were they feeling? What did they see and what was required of them? It was incredibly interesting as well as humbling. I’m grateful I haven’t ever had to feel the fear and pain, the range of emotions that must be felt while on duty travelling in a military vehicle. I am thankful that I cannot imagine the kind of situations these armoured vehicles maneuvered while protecting the freedom we cherish. I knew that I had to capture this personal experience and the many experiences of this vehicle's history within a timepiece.
After contacting the UK Department of Defence as well as connecting with multiple people on different forums, I was able to uncover a bit of history on this vehicle. Some of the information was classified and therefore not available to me, which is fascinating in and of itself. What I did uncover was that this FV432 began work with the 1 RTR of the British Army in the 80's. It finally came to rest in Ralston, Alberta as part of the live fire training exercises conducted by the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS). It's maintenance was well documented within Europe and it's quite likely it was deployed on a number of critical missions as the 1 RTR is known for being dispatched to major conflicts.
I'm thrilled really, to be able to turn what was once a fighting vehicle into the live edge dial of our newest timepiece allowing it to continue its heroic endeavours alongside you. As for the strap, I was aiming for something with similar historical substance. I was happy to find hand made straps created with a vintage RAF GQ 60 ft. utility parachute deployment bag. This was an issued stock item and not war reserved. Dispatched to 47 Air Dispatch, RAF Lyneham for deployment on a C-130 Hercules of RAF Support Command it was used for heavy drops. It has four layers, bonded together with flexible polymer, which makes it waterproof, pliable and strong.
In remembrance of the people who worked with these materials before they were given new life we would like to donate $100 of each Suffield timepiece purchased to Wounded Warriors Canada (or Wounded Warrior Project in the USA).
I couldn’t be more excited about this watch and the uniqueness of each individual piece. I look forward to assembling each one and the reminder the work will provide to be grateful.
Check out The Suffield - FV432 1968