Military watch from the basics. The history of knowing 13 prestigious brands

Why are men attracted to military watches? The performance refined in the extremely harsh environment of land, sea, sky, and battlefield is overwhelmingly persuasive and resonates with the man’s heart.

A permanent staple of men’s watches. Military watch is our basic culture

Men in the world may be looking for a military watch because of their instinct in their DNA. On the battlefield, knowing the exact time is not only essential to the execution of an operation, but sometimes it also affects the survival of soldiers. A wristwatch that combines the ruggedness, functionality, and lean design cultivated in such a harsh environment stimulates the instinct of a man who seeks excellent tools.

A permanent staple of men's watches.  Military watch is our basic culture

In fact, even as watch trends such as luxury sports, divers and racing watches change with the times, military watches continue to maintain their “eternal classic” status. And whether you’re a fashion item or a watch expert who loves the history and specs of watches, they’re just as fascinating.

A permanent staple of men's watches.  Military watch is our basic culture Second image

One of the deepest interests of military watches is that the value is not determined by the price alone. Even if it is a low-priced model of about 10,000 yen, there are many that have historical value comparable to high-end models in the hundreds of thousands of yen and have a prank that can be talked about. This is also the reason why it is loved by a wide range of watch fans, from watch beginners to collectors. In this article, let’s examine the profound appeal of military watches, focusing on the three elements of “history,” “function,” and “brand.”

Directly connected to the history of watches in the 1900s. What is a military watch?

Directly connected to the history of watches in the 1900s.  What is a military watch?

A wristwatch called “Military Watch” was born and refined on the battlefield. At the end of the 19th century, “time” became even more important on the battlefields around the world. In order to efficiently carry out operations that are becoming more complex as weapons evolve, it is necessary for troops to know the exact time and act regularly. Therefore, the officers used a pocket watch to check the time, but some people began to attach a pocket watch to their arms to check the time more quickly. The prototype of today’s wristwatch was made to meet the demands of such soldiers. According to one theory, the wristwatch became popular during the First World War in the early 20th century.

Directly connected to the history of watches in the 1900s.  What is a military watch?  2nd image

In the 20th century, military watches gradually became popular among soldiers. However, the watches themselves were still expensive, so the armies of each country began with soldiers, such as officers, pilots, and submersibles, who needed to keep track of time. One of the most famous is the “Big Crown” developed by “Oris” in Switzerland. Made for pilots, this model featured a large crown that was easy to operate with thick gloves on. While watch brands are developing these high-performance models, the military demands the production of low-cost models. In this way, wristwatches that can be supplied to ordinary soldiers began to be produced.

Directly connected to the history of watches in the 1900s.  What is a military watch?  3rd image

The famous watch for general soldiers is the “Midget” developed by “Timex” in World War I. Born at the request of the US military, this model was one of the ancestors of a military watch with a large onion crown and a slender rug. In World War II after that, “Hamilton” produced more than 1 million hand-wound watches called “hack watches”. The mass-produced watches for general soldiers and the high-performance models and military watches used by special forces were thus divided into two.

The “quartz shock” that occurred in 1969 was also an event that influenced the history of military watches. This year, “Seiko” succeeded in developing a quartz watch that surpassed the accuracy of existing mechanical watches and realized a surprisingly low cost. With the advent of quartz watches, watches have rapidly spread to the general public. As a result, although the military’s supply of watches to soldiers has diminished, military watches have grown into a genre that is extremely popular due to their high functionality and visibility.

Let’s know three points that we want to emphasize in military watches

There are many unique military watches out there, but they have some things in common. High visibility that allows you to see the time at a glance, a lean and tough design, and a background that you can talk about. It can be said that the model that combines these three has the potential of a genuine military watch.

Because it is a military item. Focus on specifications such as visibility

Because it is a military item.  Focus on specifications such as visibility

The reason why military watches are highly regarded as gear. One of them is high visibility. The simple design, large Arabic index and easy-to-read date display are designed so that soldiers can check the time at a glance. Depending on the model, an index coated with Super Minorva and a 24-hour hour circle are also installed, so you can easily check the time even in bad weather or at night. Many pilot watches that need to know the time instantly have the highest visibility.

Get drunk with the “unique” looks that insist on toughness at your arms

Get drunk with the "unique" looks that insist on toughness at your arms

The tough design created as a result of neglecting decorativeness and pursuing only the necessary functions is the unique charm of military watches. Matte-finished dials and cases such as sandblasting give off a rugged aura not found in dress watches, while nylon NATO belts and silicone straps create a sporty image. In addition, the military watch has a rugged presence like the “metal lump” released by the military models of “Jin” and “Breitling”, which are known as the prestigious pilot watches. A wristwatch with functional beauty that has been refined on the battlefield will be a perfect accessory for styling with a masculine spice.

Invisible value. Emphasis on history and background as a military watch

Invisible value.  Emphasis on history and background as a military watch

Background and history that can be talked about. Many military watch enthusiasts place the highest priority on this point rather than visibility and design. For example, “Pilot’s Watch Mark 18”, the current flagship model of “IWC”. The origin of this model is in the wristwatch that was born in the 1940s by the UK, which did not have a high-tech watch brand, and commissioned the same brand in Switzerland, a permanent neutral country. Officially adopted by the Royal Air Force, the model can withstand vibrations, pressures, temperature changes, and strong magnetic fields in the cockpit, and has been touted as the “world standard for magnetically resistant watches.” In addition, there are many models with a strong background, such as “Khaki Navy” of “Hamilton” used for the special submarine unit of the US Navy, which has pressure resistance that can dive up to 300 m. Although an invisible element, the pleasure of looking at a watch and pondering historical episodes is a privilege of the military watch owner.

Exactly “iron plate” lineup. 13 brands indispensable for talking about military watches

Now that you know what a real military watch looks like, let’s take a look at the brands and models that are indispensable for talking about this genre. Both are masterpieces that make a name for themselves in the history of watches, which sets them apart from the trendy “military style”.



Founded in 1854, the American national watch brand has a history of working on military military watches in the early 20th century. The “original camper”, which is one of the brand’s masterpieces, has the motif of a military watch supplied during the Vietnam War. Is a feature. The quartz model, which has been reprinted for the first time in about four and a half centuries, has a lightweight and compact size of 36 mm in diameter and about 18 g, but its lean design gives it a unique presence. Size: 36mm, resin case, quartz.



“Hamilton” was the official watch supplier of the US military in the early 20th century. The brand’s masterpiece of military watches is the “Khaki Field Mechanical,” which has its roots in a model supplied to the US military in the 1940s. The reason why it is commonly called “hack watch” is the stop second function that stops the second hand when the crown is pulled. On the battlefield, the soldiers set the time with the command “Hack!” And started the operation. The matte 38mm case, NATO strap, and hands coated with Super Minorva are examples of military watches. Size: 38mm, SS case, manual winding.



“Breitling” has a history of serving as an official supplier of the Royal Air Force in 1936 and starting delivery to the US military in 1942. Developed under the concept of a military watch that can be mass-produced, the “Colt” is a simple three-hand style with a bar index. The lighter tab on the bezel is designed to be easy to operate even with gloves on. This “Colt Automatic 44” is self-winding, but there are other quartz models in the affordable price range, and it is also recommended as an introduction to “Breitling”. Size: 44mm, SS case, self-winding.



“Bulova,” which produced numerous epoch-making models such as the world’s first tuning fork clock and “moon watch,” also has a history of being officially adopted by the US military. This is the “Bulova Military” with the motif of the legendary military watch manufactured in 1944 during World War II. It features a three-layered dial and three crowns. The crown at 2 o’clock rotates the outer dial (minute display), and the crown at 4 o’clock rotates the inner dial (time display), and the hands are placed there. By matching, the elapsed time can be measured. Size: 42mm, SS case, self-winding.



Established in Switzerland in 1917, “Glycine” is a brand acclaimed by pilots who served in the Vietnam War. Even though it was not officially adopted by the military, the episode that the pilots bought and brought it at their own expense shows its popularity. The representative work is “Airman”, which can display the time in two countries and the 24-hour display, which makes it easy to grasp the feeling of day and night. The reprint model “Airman Number One”, which has a more original look, features military watch-like details such as a dome-shaped plexi windshield. Size: 36mm, SS case, self-winding.



The “Big Crown” provided to the US Air Force during World War II is a pilot watch developed by “Oris”, which was founded in Switzerland in the early 19th century. The large crown, which can be called an icon, is designed so that it can be operated while wearing thick gloves in the cockpit, which is also below freezing. In addition, the pointer date that indicates the date by pointing the number on the outer circumference of the dial with the center hand is also a mechanism unique to “Oris”. The “Big Crown Pointer Date” with its elegant wine red dial is a big standard that has both of these major mechanisms. Size: 40mm, SS case, self-winding.



Born in Italy, “Panerai”, which has established a solid position as a luxury watch today, is a brand that once made a name for itself in military watches. At the request of the Ministry of Defense during World War I, we started the development of a waterproof watch and completed a diver’s watch using fluorescent material. The “Radiomir Black Seal Logo” inherits the genealogy of such a masterpiece that was also used by the Italian Navy midget submarine. In addition to the large case that seems to be this brand, there is plenty of presence in the index that strongly emits light due to the phosphorescent paint Luminor and the unique sandwich dial. Size: 45mm, SS case, manual winding type.



Speaking of “IWC”, the “Mark Series”, which has its roots in the model supplied to the Royal Air Force during World War II, is famous. The technical capabilities proved in the series have been highly evaluated by the military of each country, and in 2019, the official license of the Blue Angels Squadron of the US Navy was obtained. The collaboration model “Pilot Watch Chronograph Top Gun” is one that allows you to experience the evolution of the pilot watch, such as a movement made in-house with a flyback chronograph function and a ceramic case with a magnetically resistant soft iron inner case. Size: 44.5 mm, ceramic case, self-winding.



Beloved by the great adventurers of the sky, including Charles A. Lindbergh, the prestigious Swiss has a history of making military watches at the request of the French Navy during World War II. .. The “Heritage Military” that reproduces the model gives off a simple and sturdy aura with a sturdy thick bezel, large hands with high visibility, and a simple dial design. The color of the dial, which looks like a vintage sunburn, is also a point. By the way, the letters “FAB. SWISS”, which means that it is made in Switzerland, are also reproductions of the original. Size: 38mm, SS case, manual winding.



“Luminox”, which has the name “Bright Night”, was born in 1989 in New Jersey, USA. Speaking of its pronoun, it is the military model adopted by the US Navy’s special forces Navy SEALs. The elite of military divers, including a reverse rotation prevention bezel, a natural rubber strap, a 200m water resistant function, a sturdy and lightweight case, and an index and needle with a self-luminous system that lasts for 25 years. This is “Ref.3001” of the “Red Hand Series”, which is limited to Japan and has improved visibility. Size: 43mm, carbonox case, quartz.

“Casio G-Shock”

"Casio G-Shock"

Did you know that the “G-SHOCK” that can withstand use in all environments also has the face of a military watch? It was used by many multinational soldiers during the Gulf War that broke out in the early 90’s, and it was also talked about in the 1994 movie “Speed” that it was used by the main character SWAT. Also, in the “American Sniper” released in 2014, “G-Shock” was attached to the arm of the main character who is a sniper of Navy SEALs. Various models are used on the battlefield, but the “DW-5600E-1”, which can be called the origin, is still one of the most popular models. Size: 48.9 x 42.8 mm, resin case.



The Swiss brand, which has the name “Military Watch Company”, is a child of military watches that has accumulated delivery records to special forces in each country since its establishment in 1974. This is a reproduction of the military clock “A-11” used by the US Air Force in the 1940s. A simple dial with even the logo omitted, a large Arabian index, and a thick hour and minute hand ensure high visibility. While faithfully reproducing such a simple and sturdy figure, the functional aspects such as the movement made in Japan and the stainless steel case have been updated in a modern way. Size: 38mm, SS case, self-winding.



Many German pilot watches that follow the Bauhaus tradition are masterpieces with excellent visibility. “Zurich” of “Raco”, which was founded in Germany in 1925, is one of them. The design that follows the basic design of the pilot watch, such as the 12-position triangle printed so that the top and bottom of the dial can be recognized quickly, makes you feel the functional beauty. This “Zurich.2.D40” uses a case with a case diameter of 40 mm and a thickness of 9 mm. Because it is smaller and thinner than the standard model, the sleeves of clothes are hard to get caught, and it is recommended for people with thin wrists. Size: 40mm, SS case, quartz.

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