TRI-05 – 303 Squadron P8331 – Limited Edition

TRI-05 – 303 Squadron P8331 – Limited Edition
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  • SKU: TRI-05-SSTL-02-V06

TRI-05
303 Squadron P8331
Limited Edition

£2,458.33

(£2,950.00 VAT incl.)

VAT, if applicable will be added at checkout.
SOLD OUT
With 2020 marking the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain, we’re proud to unveil the TRI-05 303 Squadron – a 303-piece limited edition dedicated to the crucial role Polish servicemen played in turning the tide of the Second World War. Containing metal from Spitfire P8331 of 303 Squadron, one of the Polish Air Force squadrons operating within the Royal Air Force, this watch doesn’t just carry over a century’s worth of Polish aeronautical cues within its design; it remembers the sacrifice of all those whom Churchill would call ‘the Few’ during those darkest of days.

View user manual

CHANGE YOUR PERCEPTION OF TIME

Unconventional. Dedicated. Unapologetic.

MAKING THE CASE
FOR SWISS

Engineered from 316L alloy in Switzerland, this stainless steel case is expertly finished with brushed and polished surfaces. A screw-down crown ensures a water resistance of 15ATM.

A BADGE OF
HONOUR

Inspired by the 6b/159 aviation watches worn during the Second World War, the TRI-05’s dial features the emblem of 303 Squadron: its Kościuszko badge is embossed into a subdial at 6 o’clock.

CRYSTAL
CLEAR

Every detail matters. Engineered on both the top and underside, our double domed sapphire crystal offers absolute clarity of the dial from all angles. Its signature convex shape pays homage to the dress watches of the ‘40s and ‘50s – our modern take on retro design.

A PIECE OF HISTORY
ON YOUR WRIST

Visible through a sapphire crystal is a disc of P8331. Each disc is displayed as it was recovered, battle scars and all – a direct connection to Piotr Laguna and the aircraft he last flew 80 years ago. The Polish motto ‘For our freedom for yours’ is engraved onto glass, while the red and white chequerboard of the Polish Air Force is a reminder of 303 Squadron’s Polish heritage.

SHED SOME LIGHT
ON THE PAST

Emitting a luminescent green colour, the pilots of World War II would use lume to great effect during night-time operations. The TRI-05's hands are filled with Grade X1 GLC3 Super-LumiNova® - a key feature for any pilot's watch.

HIGH FLYER

The SW200 features in many great Swiss-made watches – including this one. It’s a dependable automatic movement with an anti-shock system and 38-hour power reserve.

THE TOTAL
PACKAGE

This TRIBUS arrives with a signed Certificate of Authenticity in its own luxury presentation box, piano finished with a push button for easy access. An accompanying warranty card allows you to register your watch and view your online instruction manual. We believe you don’t need to hack down half the Amazon for a physical manual when you can easily download one.

PROVENANCE

How is it that a piece of metal from a Spitfire that crash-landed in boggy French farmland in 1941 finds its way into a limited-edition watch nearly 80 years later? With the help of flight logbooks, navigation charts and pilot testimonies, historians can generally piece together a sequence of events. Yet in the case of 303 Squadron’s Spitfire P8331 RF-M ‘Sumatra’, sheer good fortune not only helped with locating the arming panel that sits in the backplate of TRI-05; it revealed a whole new dimension to its story beyond those scribblings on a page.

FOR OUR FREEDOM
AND YOURS

Spitfire P8331 RF-M ‘Sumatra’ was one of the initial ten Mk IIB aircraft delivered to No.303 Squadron at RAF Northolt on 13 May 1941. It was flown by at least 15 pilots, the majority being Poles within 303 Squadron; it is credited with taking down two Messerschmitt Bf 109s – one destroyed and one probably destroyed, plus another damaged over its 52 sorties.

WHERE EAGLES
DARE

Its final flight would take place on 27 June 1941, piloted by Acting Wing Commander Piotr Łaguna as part of an operation with Circus 25 (Z.181) to target a steel factory in Lille. With conditions worsening, orders were altered to “Rhubarb” – searching for enemy troops, vehicles and choice targets at ultra-low level in the Gravelines area. Having located a Luftwaffe airfield near Coquelles, just outside of Calais, the flight destroyed three enemy fighters, but German Anti-Aircraft fire came in response. P8331 was directly hit by a shell, with its flaming wreck last seen diving sharply towards the earth. Piotr Łaguna was killed whilst attempting to bail from his aircraft and subsequently buried in grave no. 9, row A, at Pihen-les-Guines Military Cemetery.

A PAST
REWRITTEN

This was about as much as we knew – until the research of the Łagunas Spitfire Legacy Project revealed more of P8331’s story. They made contact with Frenchman JP Duriez, the man who helped positively identify P8331 during its excavation in June 1986. The wreckage was found lodged some 3 to 4 metres under boggy farmland. Eyewitnesses interviewed in 1986 were able to tell the tale of one German soldier who threw his cigarette into the liquid left on the surface of where the aircraft had crashed into – unaware that it wasn’t water but fuel! It set alight, singeing his and his colleagues’ eyebrows and hair, much to the amusement of the locals…

HERITAGE IS A RIGHT NOT STOLEN

Following its excavation, P8331 would be on the move again – but at a far slower pace. Identifiable parts like its engine and propellers were moved to the Calais War Museum; its dials and cockpit instrument panel were on display in another museum south of Calais. The remaining remnants of twisted metal recovered were even stored in a farmer’s barn until the 1990s before being scrapped!

Thanks to the efforts of French regional aviation archaeologists who helped in the recovery and curation of the aircraft in 1986, Łaguna’s Spitfire Legacy Project were able to locate the majority of remaining material left of the recovered P8331, including the arming panel that features in our TRI-05 watch.

Thanks to its distinctive shape and size, and the presence of quick-release fasteners, this arming panel section was one of the most easily identifiable parts of the aircraft. Having received the panel from the Łaguna Project, we here at TRIBUS set about carefully stamping out 303 pieces of metal from the panel – each one 16.7mm across.

MORE +

TRI-05
TECHNICALLY SPEAKING

The release of the TRI-05 303 Squadron P8331 Limited Edition to coincide with the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Britain couldn’t have been more perfect. A 303-piece limited edition that tells many stories within its 41mm case, it highlights the crucial role the Polish Air Force played during the Second World War. Just as significantly, its 2020 release was meant to coincide with the first time Polish veterans would partake in commemorating Victory in Europe Day after being controversially snubbed from the British Victory March of 1946 (Covid put that occasion on hold - for now).

Its backplate contains a piece of metal recovered from Spitfire P8331 RF-M ‘Sumatra’, an aircraft belonging to 303 Squadron based at RAF Northolt. Famous for downing the most enemy aircraft during the Battle of Britain, the squadron was largely comprised of Polish airmen who had previously served in the 1st Air Regiment at Warsaw. Spitfire P8331, flown by Acting Wing Commander Piotr Łaguna, would be shot down over Gravelines in France on 27th June 1941.

Surrounding the piece of precious metal, the Polish motto “Za naszą i waszą wolność - for our freedom and yours” has been engraved into glass, allowing a view of the Swiss-made Sellita SW200 movement inside. The red and white checkerboard of the Polish Air Force serves a nod to over a century of Polish aeronautical history, whilst remaining in use today.

The 303’s dial is reminiscent of the highly legible aviation watches worn by pilots during the Second World War, with green-emission lume used on its Arabic numerals and hands. The final nod to the Polish story at the heart of this watch features at 6 o’clock on the dial, where the Kościuszko badge is present. Tadeusz Kościuszko, a national hero who served in the American War of Indepence and led an 18th century uprising against the Russian Empire, would be remembered on many Polish Air Force aircraft – including the Hurricanes, Spitfires and Mustangs of 303 Squadron that would ultimately secure the victory of the Battle of Britain.

MORE +

  • MOVEMENT

     

    • Movement: Sellita SW200
    • 26 jewel self-winding mechanical movement
    • Hacking seconds
    • Anti-shock system
    • Power Reserve: 38 hours
    • Frequency: 4Hz (28,800 vibrations per hour)
    • Timing tolerance: +/-20 seconds per day

  • CASE

    • Brushed and polished 316L stainless steel case
    • Domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating (front and back)
    • Disc of historic metal from Spitfire P8331
    • 'Za naszą i waszą wolność - for our freedom and yours' engraved into glass
    • Red and white Polish Air Force checkerboard ring
    • Polished screw-down crown with debossed TRIBUS logo
    • Engraved serial number
    • Diameter: 41mm
    • Height: 13.22mm
    • Lug to lug: 50.5mm
    • Strap width: 20mm
    • Water resistance: 15 ATM (150 metres)

  • DIAL/HANDS

    1. White printed indexes
    2. Numerals finished with Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 GL C1 (white emission)
    3. Brushed black gunmetal hour and minute hands and white seconds hand filled with Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 GL C3 (green emission)
    4. Matte black dial
    5. Five minute dot markers finished with Super-LumiNova® Grade X1 GL C3 (green emission)

  • STRAP

     

    • 20mm vintage oak Italian leather strap
    • Brushed stainless steel dress clasp with engraved TRIBUS logo
    • Quick-release pins for easy changing
    • Additional 20mm Zulu Alpha polyester strap

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Customer Reviews

Based on 9 reviews
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M
Mark Phillips
An amazing timepiece with an incredible story.

This a beautifully executed watch. The case finishing is fantastic with an almost satin brushing to the bezel which contrasts nicely to the deeper brushing on the case. The fine polished bevel below the bezel provides a nice transition. The precisely engraved sapphire case back reveals the scarred arming panel disc that reflects its rich history and the legacy to Spitfire P8331 “Sumatra”. The watch wears beautifully on my 71/4" wrist and seems thinner than the specs would suggest. The debossed 303 emblem is crisp, the handset simple but proper, snd the lume excellent but not overdone. All in all though, it is really the heritage that this watch represents that makes it so special.

J
Jonas Mackenzie
Love the story behind this watch!

Being a WWII history lover I had to buy this watch. Having a piece of history on your wrist is amazing.

S
Simon Dando
TRI-05 – 303 Squadron P8331 – Limited Edition

A truly stunning piece with a classic look and feel to it. It also has a truly humbling back story and a piece of history contained within it. Very much the jewel in the crown of my humble TRIBUS collection and it has attracted many positive comments from my team at work on the first day wearing it. Everyone was especially blown away with the story and the actual piece of Spitfire on show. It's been great to contribute to the brilliant work being done by the Laguna's Spitfire Legacy (LSL). Thank you for the opportunity to own a piece of WW2 history and also for highlighting the 303 Squadron - wouldn't have been aware of them if it wasn't for the watch.

Yes, it's primarily a watch. But it's so much more than that......

M
M Karczewski

TRI-05 – 303 Squadron P8331 – Limited Edition

s
scott booth
A dream realised

I travel an awful lot for work and always ensure that I spend time in the various airports looking at the next purchase. I find that it is difficult to find really true classic design with a clean face and uncluttered. I am a simple guy and like a watch to do what it is supposed to tell me the time. However its fair to say whilst I have truly struggled to find the right watch for a special occasion and equally one i could wear for any occasion also has been difficult.

When Tribus released this particular watch it really felt like the moment i had been waiting for, classic looks mixed with modern sympathetic features all in a Swiss made watch. But that was only the beginning! The history hidden cleverly behind the crystal panel on the back of the watch hides an 80 year old secret too, that of a Spitfire, Pilot and 18,000 Polish Air Men and Women who came to defend our shores against tyranny too. This story was and is captivating all by its self and having a piece of history on my wrist to be able to hand to my son one day makes it even more special, not just beautiful but with true heart and meaning too.

The Tribus brand have dared to be different and have firmly achieved their goal, a simply stunning watch and now just struggling to chose my next!