On February 24th, 1918, Estonia declared independence from the Russian Empire. Unfortunately, there was no time to celebrate. Soon after the announcement, Estonia was attacked by Soviet Russia from the east and the German Landeswehr from the south. This was the beginning of the War of Independence. The war continued for two years, until eventually the Estonian forces drove out both enemies. Finally, Estonians were free. Free from Russia, and free from Germany. Victory was made possible by the Armored Trains, unique and oft-forgotten war machines. The Wõitleja wristwatch is named after the main artillery car of Armored Train No. 5, used to fight for freedom in 1918; the numbers on the watch case and in our logo come from the same battle machine. Wõitleja means Freedom Fighter in Estonian. The Wõitleja watch from Estonia1918 is dedicated to the memory of all men, women and children who secured our freedom in the Estonian War of Independence. It celebrates the upcoming centennial anniversary of Estonian statehood. In recognition of the anniversary, we will produce a maximum of 100 Wõitleja timepieces.
Marine Grade Bronze Case
The case design of the Wõitleja is inspired by the various types of bronze dials used in armored trains in 1918. The case is machined from a single block of CuSn8 bronze, without any stamping or casting. CuSn8 is commonly regarded as the industry standard, primarily because it is a marine-grade alloy. This means it can be submerged in salt water for a lifetime, with virtually no signs of corrosion. Bronze’s corrosion resistance can be attributed to its ability to superficially oxidize, creating a layer of brownish copper oxide that protects it from the elements: the watch essentially has a living skin. We have spent many months developing numerous prototypes before coming up with the 44mm wide, eleven millimeters thick case that makes the Wõitleja look large on the wrist, but also very comfortable to wear. With the round lugs placed close to the skin, the watch sits very comfortably on your wrist. The thin bezel and large 40mm dial create the look of a much larger watch, highly recognizable from a distance. The case is made entirely in Estonia by engineers who spend most of their time fabricating satellite parts for the space industry.
The dial of the Wõitleja from Estonia1918 is 100% handmade by a professional enameller from Roman Tavast, the artisans who create Estonia’s Decorations of State, including the Order of the Cross of Terra Mariana – the highest recognition that may be bestowed by the Republic of Estonia on a foreigner for extraordinary services to its independence. Dial enameling is a procedure that involves baking layers of glass particles through several firings at 800 °C. After firing, the enamel is polished to a mirror finish. The entire dial creation process is incredibly time-consuming, even for an enameller with over twenty years of experience. Enamel gives the dial an extremely deep black color that will never fade, and will easily last for another 100 years. The brushed indexes of the watch are machined as one with the bronze case. Swords pointing upwards on the Estonia1918 logo represent Estonia’s readiness to defend its freedom again, at any time. The hands of the Wõitleja circle below the indexes and the year 1918, like swords. Every full circle of the minute hand denotes another hour of freedom.
Hand Wound Movement
The Wõitleja is built around an upgraded version of the highly reliable 36,6mm Swiss-made Unitas 6497-2. This movement was first introduced more than a hundred years ago, initially in pocket watches, and later in military wristwatches. It beats at 3 hertz (21 600 vph), has 19 jewels instead of the 17 in the standard 6497-2, and features a 56-hour power reserve. The movement is gold-plated with a matte finish, sunburst winding wheels, blued screws, and anti-shock protection. Since the Unitas 6497 family of movements are widely used and known, your Wõitleja can be easily serviced by any competent watchmaker in any part of the world