U.S. Navy Captain Dale “SNORT” Snodgrass wears custom designed timepieces from SwissPL watch company. He has since 2010.
SNORT, as most people in the U.S. Navy know him, is the actual guy that Cruise plays in the original movie. He is a legendary F-14 fighter pilot, and he is the inspiration to generations of aviators.
He was our first ambassador; our first customer; our first archangel. SNORT is the reason we make custom watches. Prior to SwissPL, I owned a micro-brand, selling stock generic designs. SNORT called up a few times asking if we could make him a single custom watch to pay homage to his Military career.
We didn’t have the capability to produce a single timepiece, at that time, so I reached out to my factory in Switzerland and inquired if they could make one for me. They laughed at this question and said, “No one can do this! To make a single watch for one customer is not financially feasible.” And SNORT didn’t need 300 watches.
So I formed SwissPL to specialize in the production of custom watches. Researching the machines needed, and after a lengthy search, I located a vintage Swiss dial printing machine. But that was only one aspect I needed to solve.
How to combine vintage dial production tools with today’s modern technology was the next question that needed answering. I had to design and develop various parts required to make everything work together. Designing in CAD to create the parts to exacting specifications and then CNC mill them.
Consider the dial is 30mm in size, and the graphics are 5, 8 or 10mm. The details and crispness are all affected by “sloppy tolerances” in the machined parts. What looks like a tiny movement of the dial relative to your printing mount, is in actuality “miles” on the dial in printing registration.
Once these, and a few other, fundamental production questions had been solved, I produced my first custom timepiece for SNORT featuring an F-14 Tomcat front-view at the 6-position, with his Pilot Aviation wings [the U.S. Navy Wings Of Gold] at the 12-position; and his callsign (as he signs it, taken from a scanned signature on paper). The caseback was engraved to reflect the Milestones of his Military career.
Over the years SNORT has made multiple watches with us in all of our case styles (the 42mm Classic, the 44mm Aviator, the 44mm Tactical in stainless and in pvd-black, and the 45mm Classic).
SNORT is an incredible individual, an inspiration, a friend, a mentor, and an absolutely gifted pilot. I had the privilege of flying with him once, and it was unlike anything I could have imagined. Barrel rolls, Loops, “Pulling G’s” all these concepts and phrases suddenly in practical reality.
And now 10 years later, he is still as dedicated in his support of me and SwissPL watch company as on day one. It is an honor and a privilege.
~ Alldaron Knewitz