The Sycamore watch line represents our foray into contemporary watches, and we've designed and assembled the initial two watch models in Los Angeles to replicate - given our Washington, D.C. roots - the two sides of the foreign statecraft “coin” every state engages in on the world stage, diplomacy on one side, and espionage and military on the other.
And what better way to represent our enthusiasm for watch history than a military-influenced dive watch with strong connections to Special Forces and intelligence operations, with a touch of Arabic reflecting the recent history of both?
The result is our automatic GMT dive watch, the Sycamore “Wolf” ( الذئب ), which represents the military and espionage side of foreign affairs statecraft.
Much like our homage to the 1970s U.S. Department of Defense MIL-W-50717-spec military watch, the Wolf features similar specifications (in particular the case shape) to the DoD diving watch. The MIL-W-57017-spec watch, like the Wolf here, has everything divers and other combat units needed and nothing they didn’t – thick steel cases measured in at 45mm wide and 15mm tall, and a design that made the watches impervious to disruption from beatings military-issue watches regularly endure during operations.
There exists evidence sterile variants of the MIL-W-57017 was issued to Navy SEAL teams and other Special Operations units in the U.S. Army and CIA (in particular during the Viet Nam conflict), since the lack of military markings on the case meant that the watch (and thus its wearer) could not be identified as American. We don’t know what truth exists in this regard, but it does make for a great story.
We chose a bulletproof automatic Seiko GMT movement for its dependability and Seiko's rich history in the Intelligence and Special Operations community; during the Cold War, personnel from the community wore "SOG" Seikos during covert operations carried out during the Vietnam War – and DCVW founder Nick Ferrell wrote Watches of Espionage’s “SOG Seikos - Vietnam MACV-SOG Watches” on the same iconic watches. Per WoE, “Maritime Special Operations units (including the Navy SEALs) were issued Seiko Divers until at least the mid-1990s and the CIA even modified a digital Seiko with a covert camera for intelligence collection.”
The main difference between DoD MIL-W-57017 military watches of lore and the Sycamore Wolf? Ours features a prominent GMT function. And it’s an independent GMT, at that, capable of setting to any world time zone the wearer desires.
In common with the popular “Arabic Seiko” (the Seiko SNKP21J1) popularized by Watches of Espionage, the Wolf GMT features a Seiko automatic movement and Arabic dial. But the similarities stop there – the Wolf has a far more robust case, screw-down crown, and is pressure tested to 200 feet. As well, a shiny stainless-steel case doesn’t lend much to…discretion. The Wolf, on the other hand, does.
But let’s back up and hear from Nick – “First and foremost, and as emphasized by Watches of Espionage, is ‘the deep meaning [the Arabic language-dialed Seiko SNKP21J1] has for our community.’ Many of us, myself included, have spent a considerable amount of time in the Middle East over the past 20+ years. I lived in the Middle East for years learning Arabic before a career in intelligence and diplomacy (and more time in the region) – I will always have a strong affinity for the culture and language of the Arab world. The Wolf was designed to be a reminder of that period in my life.”
"On a deeply personal note, I created this watch to memorialize a stray German Shepard I found as a young puppy in the streets of Cairo, Egypt – I named him 'Za'ib' ( ذئب ), the Egyptian Arabic colloquial word for "Wolf." He was my faithful companion – in good times and bad – for 13 years before he passed of cancer. A second German Shepard followed nearly two years later. Named "Wolf" by the shelter I adopted him from, he was unfailingly loyal, unflinchingly protective, and deeply loving of my entire family. Wolf would be taken from us far too soon, only two years later at the age of four, in late 2023. Both were my best friends, and I miss them daily."
The Sycamore Wolf comes with two premium nylon straps, rugged travel case, and springbar tool.
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