Specialized in aviation inspired watches, Texas-based watch brand Tockr has joined with the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) to introduce a new 75-piece limited series of bronze commemorative watches known as the D-Day C-47 “Alfred Pepper.” Tockr named the new watches after decorated 99-year-old World War II pilot 1st Lieutenant Alfred Leland Pepper, an Ohio-based veteran who flew a C-47 and other twin-engine planes during the war.
Tockr Founder Austin Ivey, himself a pilot and grandson of a WW2 pilot, personally presented one of the new bronze watches to Lt. Pepper at a CAF event in Urbana, Ohio, on May 13, 2019. The event also gave Lt. Pepper another chance to step back in time and go inside the cockpit of a historic WW2 era plane known as the D-Day Doll.
Following the initial launch of Tockr’s stainless-steel C-47 “That’s All, Brother” watches in late 2018, Lt. Pepper’s grandson contacted Tockr to purchase a watch for his grandfather. The gift of this commemorative watch seemed a fitting way to honor his grandfather’s service, since its dial is made from salvaged aircraft material from “That’s All, Brother,” the C-47 plane that led the D-Day combat invasion into Normandy.
Tockr learned that Lt. Pepper had served as a pilot in the 403rd Troop Carrier Group, the 64th Troop Carrier Squadron in Guadalcanal and the 13th Army Air Force. He flew twin-engine planes (including a C-47) without a navigator, relying simply on sight, radio, compass, waves, or the instruments of the day.
Logging over 1200 hours of flight time before war’s end, Lt. Pepper successfully executed many drop and resupply missions and troop transports and earned many medals for his distinguished performance. This news inspired Tockr Founder Austin Ivey and Co-Founder Sophy Rindler to name the new watch after Lt. Pepper. They also planned to fulfill one of Lt. Pepper’s lifelong wishes: to see one of those WW2-era planes again.
Tockr and CAF arranged a special private event for the Ohio-based veteran on Monday, May 13, at Grimes Airport in Urbana, Ohio to present him with his new “Alfred Pepper” watch, in front of a WW2-era C-53 plane which flew in the original D-Day squadron 75 years ago, led by the “That’s All, Brother” C-47 aircraft. “The D-Day Doll” dropped paratroopers and supplies, and also evacuated the wounded.
The stop in Urbana was just the first stop for this historic aircraft on a seven-week U.S. tour before it embarked again to Normandy to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. This June, the “D-Day Doll” C-53 will join CAF, “That’s All, Brother,” and over 250 other historically significant war birds to return to the skies over Normandy in tribute to D-Day veterans, and Tockr’s D-Day C-47 watches will be along for the ride. A portion of each D-Day C-47 “Leland Pepper” watch sold at tockr.com/dday will support CAF’s restoration and maintenance of these historic planes.
Since late 2018, Tockr has released two 100-piece editions of the D-Day C-47 watch in stainless steel, and the 75-piece bronze limited D-Day C-47 “Alfred Pepper” series is the latest extension of the collection, designed and produced by Tockr in partnership with CAF to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. No more than 500 D-Day C-47 watches will ever be made by Tockr, and no more than 75 bronze watches of that series will be made.
The dials of this 75-piece bronze edition are also cut from authentic salvaged aircraft material from the “That’s All, Brother” aircraft, which led the D-Day invasion into Normandy, 75 years ago. Tockr has taken the utmost care to faithfully preserve and protect the original, genuine markings and unique character of the airplane material through each dial.
Consequently, no two watches are alike. The D-Day C-47’s distinct dial types each featured dark to light hues of brown and green and varying degrees of painting, stamping, or weathering. “Clean Cut” dials feature light to medium weathering and exhibit some light, original distressing; “Stamped” dials feature medium weathering and select “Stamped” models also display original typography in yellow, brown or blue hues. “Hard Worn” models feature heavily weathered, crackled, and chipped dial material with large areas of exposed aluminum.
Through an anti-glare sapphire crystal, the wearer can admire each precious piece of history, preserved beneath a special anti-corrosion sealant. An airplane-shaped second-hand, coated in vivid orange SuperLuminova, ticks along over the dial, visually linking the watch to the storied “That’s All, Brother” aircraft.
The Austin, Texas-based brand commissioned legendary watch designer Emmanuel Gueit to design a 42mm cushion-shaped case for the watch series, and the case also houses a Swiss automatic ETA 2834 A6 movement that is assembled in Switzerland.
Each Tockr D-Day C-47 “Alfred Pepper” model comes presented in a military-inspired, keepsake wooden box with two straps: a drab green strap made from canvas webbing and a brown leather band.
The Tockr D-Day C-47 “Alfred Pepper” retails for $2,700.