The Grands Fonds, developed at the end of the 1950s to accompany seafaring troops in their missions and boasting a rich past filled with adventures, adorns khaki green to pay tribute to the US Army and to the courage of the heroes of the Second World War.
Dawn breaking through on 6 June 1944 marked D-Day, Operation Overlord’s amphibious airborne assault known as Neptune. Amongst the allied forces that landed on the coast of Normandy, some 150,000 soldiers from the US Army were deployed throughout the land to help liberate France and bring the Second World War to an end, which actually happened nearly a year later. These courageous men who had come to defend Europe during this immense conflict were equipped with full military gear which was easily-recognizable thanks to its khaki green colour decorated with highly-specific, perfectly-identifiable white typography. The font Stencil USA, created using stencilled design, thus its name, now features on the dial of ZRC’s new GF300 Militaria watch.
Amongst the vehicles which rolled on French soil over 75 years ago was the well-known Willys Jeep, an off-roader utility vehicle today synonymous with freedom and adventure. This historic monument was designed in the 1940s based on strict specifications imposed by the US Army, as such making it somewhat akin to the legendary Grands Fonds 300, developed by ZRC back in 1958 after having submitted and won a tender launched by the French National Navy, and which would go on to become the official Navy watch in 1964. This sturdy, reliable watchmaking icon, boasting state-of-the-art technical features such as waterproofness to depths of 300 m, a crown set at 6 o’clock equipped with the Crown Protection SystemTM and ECS-patented bezel which eliminates risk of pollution and corrosion, accompanies seafaring troops as well as sportspeople and explorers as it, too, has been embodying freedom and adventure for over five decades now.
To pay tribute to the heroes who had come from a nation on the other side of the Atlantic to free a whole continent and to honour a key chapter in the History of Humankind, the Grands Fonds 300 takes on a military green dial, vibrant khaki set off by white-dressed hour markers and punctuated with central dots for this Militaria version, a name borrowed from military relics and regalia which collectors adore so much. The four Arabic numerals set on the cardinal points, and complemented by arrowed indexes, reiterate the US Army’s traditional Stencil USA font. This décor, resolutely inspired by soldiers’ uniforms, is hovered over by a pair of Super- LumiNova® X1-coated magnum-style hands which indicate the hours and minutes. This powerful luminescent substance, a must-of-musts for optimizing time-data readability in the dark depths of the sea, also enhances the dot of the “lollipop”-style central direct-drive and the markers etched on the matt-black DLC bezel. A bezel which, like on all ZRC watches, rotates and is equipped with ECSTM (Easy Clean System).
The 40.5 mm-diameter mono-block case crafted in non-magnetic 316L steel with its one-of-a-kind silhouette extended by two massive bevelled lugs hosts the ETA 2824-2 calibre, a reputed, Swiss-made self-winding mechanical movement, beating at a standard frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4 Hz) and delivering a power reserve of 38 hours.
Because “Life is an Adventure”, the new Grands Fonds 300 Militaria is complemented by a solid khaki-coloured rubber strap which matches the dial. The strap, attached to the wrist by a sandblasted ardillon buckle, showcases this watch, this tool, perfect for trips out at sea, on land and everyday anywhere, anytime.
ADVENTURE PURSUES ITS ROUTE…