Watch Travel Pouch and Challenge Coin - The History

Watch Travel Pouch and Challenge Coin - The History


During a 2022 trip to Africa, I brought my Tudor Black Bay 58 and a CWC SBS. While the watch pair worked well, I realized I needed a better watch case, as the watch roll I brought was bulky, poorly-constructed and lacking character.  After returning,  W.O.E. worked with Leather Works Minnesota to design a purpose-built, made-in-the-U.S.A. travel case. 

leather handmade trave pouch luxury watches of espionage
Travel Essentials - Version 5 - East German Strichtarn (Photo Credit: James Rupley)

The single watch case is durable, compact and functional, and honors our community with subtle accents, most notably flap catches constructed from recycled Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs).  It features subtle nods to our community, honoring those who have gone before us and upholding our ethos that you should “use your tools.”  

Like a great watch, the case is a tool: made to be used and to last decades.  There are a few accessories that every watch owner needs, and a good case is one of them. Whether for travel or home storage, this case has you covered. It is slim enough to fit in a front jean pocket for travel through high crime areas.  The patina on the leather that will develop over years of use is an added bonus. 

Leather Works Minnesota
Made by hand at Leather Works Minnesota (Photo Credit: Nathan O’Malley)

W.O.E. Product Development:

At Watches of Espionage, our product development model is to partner with true professionals –masters of their craft– to develop distinct and highly-functional products that honor our community and our core belief that you should “use your tools.” If it doesn't follow our mantra, it doesn’t get made. In short, we design products for ourselves.

Leather works Minnesota Watches of Espionage(Photo Credit: Nathan O’Malley)

Like straps, the vast majority of travel cases/pouches are imported from China and sold at a significant mark-up.  There is nothing wrong with that, but it's just not our thing: we believe there is something special about American-made fine craftsmanship. These cannot be mass-produced.  Each pouch displays a different section of the camouflage uniform used in its construction, giving each pouch a unique design. 

Watches of Espionage(Photo Credit: Nathan O’Malley)

A version of the spearhead insignia has been worn by elite units, including the original Office of Strategic Services, Special Operations and the Central Intelligence Agency.  “W.O.E.” is very much a “If You Know, You Know” thing.  Importantly, there is no metal incorporated in the design, which ensures the watch is not scratched during storage.  

Travel Pouch:

To date, there have been five iterations of the W.O.E. Travel Pouch.  All are considered limited productions and will not be reproduced.

Tiger Stripe - Version 1: October 2022-  Tiger stripe has long been associated with the Intelligence and Special Operations communities. Originally developed for the dense jungles of Vietnam in the early 1960s, a version of this camouflage has been worn by Intel and Spec Ops globally, including in present-day conflicts. The flap catcher was constructed out of two BDU tops from W.O.E.’s personal collection.

Tiger Stripe Watch CaseVersion 1- Tiger Stripe (Photo Credit: James Rupley)

British Army Desert Disruptive Pattern Material (DPM) Camouflage - Version 2: December 2022- Used by the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence and former colonies since the 1980s. The flap catchers were constructed out of four military surplus BDU tops. 

 Watches of Espionage Travel Pouch W.O.E.Version 2- British Army Desert Disruptive Pattern Material (Photo Credit: James Rupley)

Area Of Responsibility 1 (AOR1)  - Version 3: July 2023 - Developed for Naval Special Warfare operators fighting in arid environments during the early days of the Global War On Terror, AOR1 or Area of Responsibility 1 is a digital camouflage pattern taking inspiration from the Marine Corps’ MARPAT pattern. Released as a fundraiser with GBRS Group to benefit the Third Option Foundation, the flap catcher on this series of pouches was constructed from uniforms worn by former Navy SEALs Cole Fackler and DJ Shipley. 

navy seals aor1 luxury watch pouch gbrs group
Version 3 - US Navy AOR1 (Photo Credit: James Rupley)

Desert Night Camouflage (DNC) - Version 4: February 2023- The DNC pattern was originally developed to conceal U.S. personnel from Soviet-era night vision devices (NVD) and was worn by Special Operations Forces in the first Gulf War.  The camouflage quickly became obsolete for its intended purpose due to rapid developments in NVDs. The flap catchers were constructed from three military surplus BDU pants and jackets.  

*As of November 2022, we upgraded our travel leather to S.B. Foot’s, Burnside in Mocha, which offers a softer interior surface for your watches.

Watches of Espionage Coin
Version 4 - Desert Night Camouflage

Strichtarn  - Version 5: March 2024 - Calling back to the Cold War, Strichtarn (German for “line camouflage”) was a military camouflage pattern developed in East Germany and used from 1965 to 1990. The pattern was also used by several other militaries and non-state forces, notably in Africa. Built from vintage East German military uniforms, the flap catcher on each pouch in this series offers a unique level of fading and patina. 

Strichtarn east german camo watch pouch luxury
Version 5 - East German Army Strichtarn (Photo Credit: James Rupley)

Challenge Coins: 

In the Military and Intelligence Community, challenge coins are handed out to unit members and close associates to commemorate an assignment, operation or mutual respect.  While in the government, these coins have limited meaning and it is only when one leaves that the importance of meaning of the coins is fully realized.

Each one signifies an operational accomplishment, overseas tour or a snapshot in time. They tell a story, the words of which only we know.   Like watches, Challenge Coins have become collectable in both the military memorabilia and civilian markets.

To honor this heritage, we designed the “Watches of Espionage” coins, produced by our friends at Coin Squadron.  The front side has a dive watch with an eagle poking over it with “Watches of Espionage,” the time 9:11.  The back has a version of a spearhead that has been used by OSS, CIA, SOCOM and other special operations and intelligence units.

While we could sell a large number of these coins individually, these are provided to those who purchase the W.O.E. Travel Pouch, our first product released. 

Version 1: Numbered 1-150 - These are only handed out to those who have assisted in building W.O.E.  The best challenge coins are earned.

Watches of Espionage Challenge Coin

Version 2:  Included in Tiger Stripe (V1) and British Army Desert Disruptive Pattern Material (V2) Pouches. 500 produced. 

Watches of Espionage Challenge Coin

Version 3: Included in Desert Night Camouflage (V3) and Strichtarn (V5) pouch orders. 500 produced. The traditional OSS Spearhead has been replaced with a custom spearhead with an hourglass base.

W.O.E. Challenge Coin



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