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Military Watches

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Air Ministry Observer's/Navigator's 6E/506E/50 Observer's/Navigator's watch:
6E/50 is not a manufacturer but a military code assigned by the British Air Ministry during World War 2 to a type of pocket watch issued to observers and navigators in the Royal Air Force.  These watches are very similar to the GSTP watches issued to the British Army (see examples below) except that they lack luminescent paint on their dials and hands.  Accounts suggest that such watches were more practical than wristwatches as they could be laid on the maps and charts from which the airmen were working and be more easily read at a glance.  Movement.
Breitling SuperOceanBreitling SuperOcean:
The SuperOcean was developed in the 1950's for professional and military divers.  Originally water-resistant to a depth of 200 metres, these latest models can withstand the pressure at depths of up to 1500 metres and feature an escape valve which allows helium (built up after long stays at depth) to be evacuated from the watch case which would otherwise explode when returning to the surface.
Bulova Accutron AstronautBulova Accutron Astronaut:
Introduced in the early 60's, the Bulova Accutron was the world's first electronic wristwatch. Utilising the high frequency vibrations of a tiny "tuning fork" rather than the oscillations of a mechanical balance wheel to regulate timing, the Accutron achieved extraordinary levels of accuracy. Accutrons were worn on several of the early NASA space missions and were used in some of the onboard timing mechanisms. This watch is an Accutron Astronaut from 1966. The Astronaut was modelled by NASA Astronaut Scott Carpenter in Paris Match magazine and was featured in the film Seven Days in May worn by Kirk Douglas in the role of Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey.  Accutron 214 Tuning Fork movement.
Cartier Tank FrancaiseCartier Tank Francaise:
A contemporary interpretation of the classic "Tank Louis Cartier", the designs for which were first visualised by Louis Cartier in 1917 in homage to the armoured fighting vehicles of the allied troops.  This large sized Francaise model has an automatic movement, octagonal crown, steel bracelet and retains the classic Cartier guilloche dial with roman numerals.  Just beautiful!
CWC ChronographCWC Chronograph:
CWC (Cabot Watch Company) was founded in 1972 solely to supply timepieces to the British armed forces.  This is the date version of what was once the RAF issue pilots watch.  It has a Valjoux 7765 chronograph movement.  The back of the watch bears the broad arrow mark and the numbers 6645-99 924-3306.  Although the date version was never actually issued to the military, it's otherwise identical to the official issue non-date version.
CWC Royal Navy DiverCWC Royal Navy Diver:
Water resistant to 300M, this is the current issue Royal Navy divers watch which replaced the Rolex Submariner in the 1980's.
This is a quartz British general service watch which was standard army issue up until 1999.  From the
markings on the back of the watch, I think this one was issued to a soldier in the British Army in 1997.
CWC Pocket WatchCWC Pocket Watch:
Official issue pocket watch with Swiss, mechanical 17 jewel movement, chromed brass case and classic military type dial.
In the 1940's the British Ministry of Defence produced a standard specification for watches to be issued to the armed forces.  The result was the WWW (or Wrist Watch Waterproof) and was made by Buren, CYMA, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex.  You can see pictures of the 15 jewel CYMA movement HERE and the caseback HERE.
Elgin GS MkIIElgin GS MkII:
GS MkII refers to a type of military watch issued to the British Army from around the mid-1930's until the early years of the Second World War.  This example is circa 1941 and was  imported from the American, Elgin Watch Company.  It has a fancy, hinged case featuring a protective cover for the 7 jewel movement.  This example also appears to have its original crystal which exhibits severe burns over the numerals from the Radium-based luminescent paint.
Glycine AirmanGlycine Airman:
This watch has achieved legendary status since its introduction in 1953 from which time an Airman model has always spearheaded the Glycine range.  Popular with travellers, frequent-flyers and military pilots it's a 24-hour watch with a lockable rotating bezel that provides a second time zone.  This particular watch is probably from the 1960's and has an AS1701 25 jewel automatic movement.
GSTP is not a manufacturer, but rather a type of British military watch issued during the Second World War as "General Service Time Pieces" (although GSTP might also stand for "General Service Temporary Pattern").  They were purchased by the War Department from very many different sources and not all bear manufacturer markings, hence I decided to show my GSTP's all together.  All these watches are Swiss made, have 15 jewel movements and black or white dials with Radium luminescent paint applied to the dials and hands.  Most have snap-backs although some have screw-backs.  The casebacks bear GSTP and broad arrow markings plus a code number.  Movement.
This GSTP clearly shows radiation burn marks from the Radium luminescent paint around the 12, 3, 6 and 9 O'Clock positions...


...and this one shows similar burns to the dial where the hands have remained stationary for a long period of time.


A CYMA branded GSTP...


GSTP HelvetiaGSTP - Helvetia:
...and one from the Helvetia stable.


Hamilton 46374BHamilton 46374B:
A Hamilton US military "general purpose" watch from 1982.  In keeping with similar watches of this type, the dial bears the "H3" mark which I think signifies the use of Tritium in the luminescent compound and the Radiation tri-foil symbol.  The
back of the watch bears the relevant military specification, part number and date information, together with the instruction that it should be disposed of as "radiation waste".
This watch has an interesting life story!  As I understand it, it was procured, along with many other watches, by the British MoD in the 1950's and was evaluated at Herstmonceux Castle (at that time owned by the Admiralty) for potential military use.  In the 70's, the watches used in the evaluation were sold and became part of a private collection.  Ownership was then transferred to the author of a well-known book on military timepieces who, in 2004, sold the watch on to another collector.  Later, the watch briefly appeared on eBay, but the buyer returned it to the seller as he thought it was too small for him, thus enabling me to acquire it instead :-)
Longines_WWW_MODLongines WWW MOD:
In the 1940's the British Ministry of Defence produced a standard specification for watches to be issued to the armed forces.  The result was the WWW (or Wrist Watch Waterproof) and was made by Buren, CYMA, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex.  This Longines (also sometimes referred to as the "Greenlander" as it was supposedly used by members of the British North Greenland Expedition between 1952 and 1954) dates to 1946 although it appears to have had what I suspect is an MOD redial at a later date.
Marathon 46374EMarathon 46374E:
This is a US military "general purpose" watch from 1991.  It has a Swiss mechanical movement contained in a sealed composite (plastic) case.  The dial incorporates tritium vials for luminosity.
Marathon Navigator 46374G Type IIIMarathon Navigator 46374G Type III:
The Marathon Navigator is a quartz-powered US military watch intended for pilots and paratroopers. Some sources suggest that it is also in use by various US Special Forces. It features a water, dust and impact resistant fibreshell case with hesalyte crystal which is supposed to resist the effects of excessive external pressure changes. Luminosity is provided by tritium vials in the dial and hands.
Ollech & Wajs CarribbeanOllech & Wajs Caribbean:
This is a model 702 O&W Caribbean 1000.  The "Caribbean" name seems to have been used by more than a dozen different marques but the origins appear to go back to the first 1000m dive watches manufactured by Jenny in 1964.
Ollech & Wajs Early BirdOllech & Wajs Early Bird:
Manufactured around the late 60's and early 70's the "Early Bird" was reportedly a popular choice of US soldiers in Vietnam who favoured them over their issue watches.  It's a 17 jewel, manual wind, true 24-hour watch with a rotating bezel to give a second time zone and is water resistant to a depth of 200 metres.  The strap is a NATO "Speedbird" from
Timefactors, the colours of which are based on those of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (B.O.A.C.)  I think it's a perfect match for the Early Bird!
First Moscow Watch Factory Kirova "Rodina"First Moscow Watch Factory Kirova Rodina:
I've read that this was Russia's first example of an automatic watch.  You can see a picture of the 22 jewel automatic movement HERE.  Some people have also claimed that Juri Gagarin wore an example of this watch during his Vostok-1 space flight in 1961.  That particular watch was sold at auction for $25,875!
Poljot Sturmanskie SS-18Poljot Sturmanskie SS-18:
Utilising the same movement as the Poljot Aviator, the Sturmanskie SS-18 has a case made from Titanium recovered from de-commissioned Russian SS-18 "Satan" Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles!  The Cyrillic inscription around the outer edge of the case reads "Made from the Soviet Rocket SS-18". The emblem on the dial is that of the Russian bomber squadrons.  This watch is number 340 of 500 made in this particular style.
PRS-11DN Broadarrow 300 Metre AutomaticPRS-11DN Broadarrow 300 Metre Automatic:
Broadarrows are military style watches designed and commissioned by Eddie Platts of
Timefactors. They are often based upon or exceed the military specifications to which original military watches were made. The PRS-11DN has its roots in the 1971 Defence Standard 66-4 (Part 1) to which the Royal Navy divers watches were constructed. Here though, the PRS-11DN has a black PVD coated case, 25 jewel ETA 2824-2 automatic movement and sapphire crystal. Water resistant to 300 metres, this "DN" version of the PRS-11 is one of a run of only 25 watches which incorporate the handset from the PRS-2 Dreadnought 500 metre dive watch.
Record WWWRecord WWW:
In the 1940's the British Ministry of Defence produced a standard specification for watches to be issued to the armed forces.  The result was the WWW (or Wrist Watch Waterproof) and was made by Buren, CYMA, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex.
RLT Watch Co. RLT'69RLT Watch Co. RLT'69:
Number 016 of a limited edition of 100 pieces, the RLT'69 is an homage to the Smith's military watches of 1968-1970.  This example is shown on a black NATO strap.
Rolex GMT-Master IIRolex GMT-Master II:
The story goes that this watch, originally launched in the 1950's, was developed for commercial airline pilots who needed to be able to quickly establish the time in more than one time zone and that it was also adopted by several military pilots and astronauts, including William J. "Pete" Knight, who wore a GMT-Master during his record-breaking 4,520 mph flight on October 3rd. 1967 in the hypersonic X-15A-2 rocket plane. This is a 1996 example (model 16710) which utilises the Cal. 3185 movement.
Seagull 1963 Chinese Air ForceSeagull 1963 Chinese Air Force:
The Seagull 1963 is an official reproduction (or replica, if you will) made by Tsinlien Seagull of the Tianjin Project 304 that was issued to the Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force in the early 1960's. It utilises the 21 jewel version of the Seagull ST-19 hand-winding column wheel chronograph movement which, like the similar Soviet Poljot 3017, is based on a Swiss Venus caliber using original tooling sold by the Swiss manufacturer. The result is a high quality watch of historical interest with classically beautiful styling at an affordable price.
Sekonda ChronographSekonda Chronograph:
Nowadays, the Sekonda name is owned by a British company and is best known for producing very cheap "fashion" watches.  This Sekonda is one of the original USSR manufactured variety and uses a high quality Poljot 3017 chronograph movement.  Watches identical to this one were used by several Cosmonauts on Soyuz space missions in the 1970's.
Stocker and Yale (SandY) 46374F Type 1Stocker and Yale (SandY) 46374F Type 1:
This is a US military "general purpose" watch from 1993.  It has a high-beat Swiss mechanical movement contained in a sealed composite (plastic) case.  The dial incorporates tritium vials for luminosity.
Timor WWWTimor WWW:
In the 1940's the British Ministry of Defence produced a standard specification for watches to be issued to the armed forces.  The result was the WWW (or Wrist Watch Waterproof) and was made by Buren, CYMA, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and Vertex.
In the 1940's the British Ministry of Defence produced a standard specification for watches to be issued to the armed forces.  The result was the WWW (or Wrist Watch Waterproof) and was made by Buren, CYMA, Eterna, Grana, Jaeger Le Coultre, Lemania, Longines, IWC, Omega, Record, Timor and this one by Vertex.
Vostok Amphibia "Rodina"Vostok Amphibia - "Rodina":
This watch was made in 1995 to commemorate the 50th. Anniversary of the end of "The Great Patriotic War" - the Eastern Front conflict of World War II. The picture dial portrays Rodina Mat (or Mother Russia), a statue which stands atop the Mamayev Kurgan memorial complex overlooking Volgograd (Stalingrad). Wikipedia has an interesting historical article
Vostok Amphibia "Operation Desert Shield"Vostok Amphibia - "Operation Desert Shield":
I wonder if Vostok had run out of Soviet/Russian military events to commemorate by the time they produced this watch!  "Operation Desert Shield" involved the defence of Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War in 1990 and was the pre-cursor to what is perhaps the more well-known "Operation Desert Storm" (the liberation of Kuwait) in 1991.  The earliest examples of this watch were produced during the Soviet era whilst this one I guess is circa 1992 or later.
Vostok Amphibia-Cased Komandirskie for Infantry DivisionsVostok Amphibia-Cased Komandirskie for Infantry Divisions:
This is a Vostok Komandirskie for infantry divisions housed in an older-style octagonal Amphibia case, water resistant to 200 metres.  The inscription around the bottom of the dial reads "By Order of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR".  At some time, the original 17 jewel manual wind movement has been replaced with a newer 31 jewel automatic which fits perfectly.  The strap is an upgraded NATO from Timefactors which is thicker, softer and stronger than the normal variety and has 316L stainless steel fittings, bead-blasted to a matte grey finish.  A tough watch that makes for a great "beater"!
Vostok Generalskie for Marine Radio DivisionsVostok Generalskie for Marine Radio Divisions:
This USSR made 21 jewel automatic watch features in Juri Levenberg's "Russian Wristwatches" book:  "The dial was used by most ships in the... radio room.  The radio operator had to switch the radio to the international emergency frequency every fifteen minutes for the duration of three minutes, to receive possible SOS calls.  Therefore, the dial has a three-minute field marked in every fifteen minute segment."   I've also been advised that the red segments represent the times when the Silence Period was kept on 500KHz, formerly the international morse distress frequency (SOS),  whilst the pink segments are for the Silence Period on 2182KHz RT (speech) distress frequency (MAYDAY).
Vostok KomandirskieVostok Komandirskie:
Oddly combined here with a NATO style strap in the colours of the British Royal Tank Regiment, this watch features in Juri Levenberg's "Russian Wristwatches" book:

"Model 'Komandirskie' for Tank Divisions, Caliber 2414, 17 jewels, manual winding, date, chromium plated case with green dial bearing the inscription 'By order of the Ministry of Defence of the USSR,' made in the 80's, rare."
Vostok KomandirskieVostok Komandirskie:
An early military Komandirskie, probably from the late 1960's or early 1970's I would guess.  At this time in the USSR, such watches could only be obtained from stores which catered specifically to Soviet military personnel.  The purchaser would be required to prove their status by their uniform or by showing their military pass.  This watch features the hacking Vostok 2234 movement.
Vostok "Treptower Park Soviet War Memorial"Vostok "Treptower Park Soviet War Memorial":
This watch was made in 1985 in the USSR and commemorates the 40th anniversary of the end of "The Great Patriotic War" (WWII).  The picture on the dial is of a statue which stands in the Treptower Park Soviet War Memorial in Berlin.  The statue depicts an heroic Soviet soldier cradling a little German girl in one arm whilst carrying a broadsword in the other and trampling a smashed Swastika underfoot.  You can read more about the memorial
Vostok-Europe Rocket N1Vostok-Europe Rocket N1:
A tribute to "the world's biggest rocket", the infamous (if ill-fated) Soviet, super-heavy N1, developed during the 1960's in a bold attempt to regain the lead in the Space Race and beat the Americans to land the first man on the moon.  The watch has two time zones courtesy of it's separate GMT hand and rotating 24-hour rotating bezel and features a decorated 31 jewel Vostok
2432 movement.
West End Watch Co. Sowar PrimaWest End Watch Co. Sowar Prima:
West End Watch Co. was originally formed by Arnold Charpié. The marque was purchased in 1886 by Constant Droz and Arnold Amstutz who developed the brand via their sales centres in Bombay and Calcutta, India.  In 1917, Arnold Amstutz (who was by then the sole proprietor) established a company in Geneva, Switzerland, which took control of the brand.  West End Watches were very popular with British troops in India and the Middle East during the First World War and one was apparently purchased by Lawrence of Arabia!  The Sowar (which means "warlike" in Hindustani) model spearheaded the range since its introduction in 1934 and many, such as this example from circa 1939, bear the broad arrow mark and "C.S.(I)" indicating that they were issued to members of the Civil Service (India).
Zenith HS3Zenith HS3:
The Royal Navy's Hydrographic Department was supplied with Zenith deck watches during World War 2.  After the end of the war the watches were returned to the Admiralty at Herstmonceux Castle where they were redialled (like this example) and eventually re-issued.  The original "H.S. 3" markings on the casebacks were struck out and replaced with NATO style markings.  The issue number of these watches corresponds to the last four digits of the movement serial number.  The dial on this watch relegates simple time-telling functions to a small central scale, whilst seconds/minutes are read via the middle scale emphasised in red.  The outer scale denotes 10ths/100ths of a minute.  The high quality movement is apparently based on that used in watches issued to the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, like this one.
Zenith, Royal Flying Corps, 30 Hour, Non Luminous, Mark VZenith Royal Flying Corps, 30 Hour, Non Luminous, Mark V:
The Royal Flying Corps was issued with "Mark V" pocket watches from a variety of manufacturers during World War 1 from around 1916.  The watches were mounted to aircraft instrument panels.  Later, when the concept of night fighters and night bombers was developed, a luminous version was introduced.  The movement is protected by a hinged, inner dust cover. 
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