Military Watches – The New In Thing

military watches

Military chic is certainly one of the ‘in’ fashions just now; whether you are a new wave hippy, MOD, hipster or just someone looking for a new stalking jacket – everyone and their dog seems to be descending on the high street and back street military surplus shops alike to grab the latest fashion accessory. The same is true for military watches; their functional design and durability won’t let you down even through the longest and rowdiest Greenpeace rally, making them excellent for the latest generation of politically minded freshman students.

Joking aside, military watches are highly sought after pieces of kit for a variety of reasons. Their functionality and accuracy is next to none, and considering the circumstances that these time pieces were designed for, one would certainly expect this to be the case. Since days of old militaries have always required superior time keeping and not just to coordinate attacks and other such maneuvers; since John Harrison invented his ‘chronometer’ – a clock that accurately tells the time at sea and is immune to the effects of the rolling and pitching of a ship, thereby allowing sailors to accurately calculate their longitude – no ship has dared leave port without an accurate mean of timekeeping.

It took some time for the wrist watch to catch-on as a concept when it was first invented, until then ‘real’ men  only used big hefty pocket watches, with wrist watches being reserved as a functional piece of jewelry worn by ladies. However the ease by which they could be read meant the military, aviators and motorists were quick to adopt it; instead of having to reach into your pocket, pull out your watch and remove the cover – a quick glance of the wrist was all it took. It may not sound like much but when you are in the midst of a fire fight or flying through the air at high speed, this improvement in practicality really makes a difference.

Although because of the circumstances that many of these watches were to be worn i.e. at sea or in the wind and rain of a battlefield, this made them prone to corrosion and as such early models had to be made from 14ct gold. Throughout the early 20th century a number of developments were made in watch making allowing for < =”” target=”_blank”>anti-magnetism and waterproof cases thereby axing their cost of production and making them not only more common among the military but also among the public.

As warfare has evolved and the battle space has now moved into the skies and to the very lowest depths of the sea so watches too have evolved. Many now possess a multitude of features which change dependent on their intended roll such as depth gauges, altimeters, stop watches, thermometers and compass functions – all have been integrated with the time piece all whilst still retaining their basic Spartan functionality. In fact many of these early models are still in high demand and make for valued collector’s items. As such many manufacturers such as Panerai, Heuer, Zodiac and partwork publishers have reissued these watches to meet the growing demand.

So whether you’re looking to start a revolution, exploring shipwrecks, sky diving or simply running laps of a track it is likely that you have military ingenuity to thank for the little gadget on your wrist.

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  •  License: Image author owned
  •  License: Image author owned

I am an enthusiastic blogger, fashion lover and collector of time pieces. For more related articles follow me on twitter.