This watch was designed by the oldest, highest-scoring, living American fighter ace

Updated onFeb 27, 2023 7:02 PM PST
3 minute read
bud anderson watch

With patina color indexes, the Praesidus A-2 origin looks and feels like 1950s field watch.


Triple Ace, test pilot, and Air Force legend Bud Anderson is the oldest fighter ace still alive. In 13 missions…

Triple Ace, test pilot, and Air Force legend Bud Anderson is the oldest fighter ace still alive. In 13 missions over Nazi-occupied Europe, Anderson brought down 16 Luftwaffe fighters in his P-51B Mustang fighter, nicknamed “Old Crow.” After World War II, he would serve during the Korean War and take command of an F-105 Thunderchief Wing, striking enemy supply lines over North Vietnam.

Now 101 years old, Bud Anderson has been inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the International Air & Space Hall of Fame. Despite his age, he’s not done. Anderson has worked with Praesidus Watch Co. to design a new watch, a World War II throwback, in his honor and a portion of sales will go toward Bud Anderson himself. 

When Praesidus Watch Co. approached Bud Anderson about creating a new watch to reflect his service, Anderson suggested they use his A-17 as a model, which is exactly what they did. Praesidus had previously created watches to honor World War II Army veterans Tom Rice and Vince Speranza, creating unique watches that reflected their service. For their next models, they chose Anderson and Naval Aviator Dean “Diz” Laird.

Just a week after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Laird drove from his hometown of Loomis, California to San Francisco to join the Navy. In October 1942, he was a qualified naval aviator. He started his part of the war flying against the Nazis in Norway aboard the USS Ranger, where he shot down two German fighters. In the Pacific, he was aboard the USS Essex and shot down three Japanese planes. 

U.S. Air Force retired Col. Clarence E. “Bud” Anderson spends time with family before a ceremony promoting him to the honorary rank of brigadier general by Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown, Jr. at the Aerospace Museum of California in McClellan, California, Dec. 2, 2022. (U.S. Air Force photo by Nicholas Pilch)

Laird died in August 2022, but his legacy as the only U.S. Navy fighter ace to have combat victories in both the Pacific and European theaters is a legacy that’s hard to beat. So Praesidus created two separate watches to honor both men, each with a little different flair to reflect their unique service to the country. 

This new Praesidus A-2 watch is based on Anderson’s own Korean War-era A-17 navigation watch. The original A-17 watch was designed by the U.S. government during the Korean War, and meant to serve the same purpose and functionality required of the World War II-era A-11 watch. The A-11 was a great timepiece, but new technology developed in the years after the war meant the next generation of military watches were ready for an upgrade. 

Original A-11 watches had a chrome-plated back. The new A-17 would get a parkerized, stainless steel upgrade that would make it even more corrosion resistant. The new watches would also get an upgraded face and dial with radium luminance on the hours, five minute indices, and handset, along with a 24-hour track to help users with military time.

There are two versions of Praesidus’ limited edition A-2 watches, called the A-2 Bud & Diz Special Collection. For the A-2 Bud, the company sourced a real piece of P-51 Mustang. The A-2 Diz will have a real piece of an F4F Wildcat, which is the plane Diz Laird first flew during World War II and was his favorite aircraft. 

Each special edition will have a custom-made caseback, engraved with either Bud Anderson’s “Old Crow” P-51 or Diz Laird’s F4F. The Diz A-2 will also feature a blue dial decoration that mimics the original color of the F4F flown by naval aviators in the Pacific Theater of WWII. Those who buy both watches will receive a special collector’s edition protective humidor casing.

Both watches are available now at the Praesidus website, along with a collectors' box edition.


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