Military-style bags and jackets continue to retain their appeal with stylish men, as do military-style timepieces. Just look at the plethora of collabs Timex has done with labels like Todd Snyder and J.Crew. Still, there’s nothing better than an honest-to-god military timepiece from the 20th century. They vary from country to country and branch to branch, but their style is always marked by the same features: simple design, mechanical guts. Most were designed to be used then discarded, so survivors are hard to come by. To help, here are three great examples you can purchase right now.
What we like: This general-issue field watch was built by Benrus in the ’70s to MIL-W-3818B specification and made during the Vietnam war era. It features a Benrus DR2-F2 hand-winding movement with hacking seconds, a stainless steel case and a clean dial free of any extraneous markings. It’s as pure a field watch as you could imagine, and this example from 1974 seems to be in excellent shape.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with signs of patina to the luminescent elements. Unsigned crown. Case back has military markings.
Omega RAF 53 Thin Arrow
What we like: This timepiece was made by Omega for the British Ministry of Defense back in 1953. It features a black-and-white dial and an anti-magnetic case, as per the MoD’s standards. The original watches made in 1953 featured lume made from radium, but were supposed to be sent back to the manufacturer to be re-lumed with tritium, as usually signified by a fatter arrow symbol and a “T” marker, according to Analog/Shift. Supposedly this piece never met that fate, and it retains its radium lume and thinner arrow, making it a particularly rare version.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition overall with signs of moderate use and wear in keeping with age. Dial is in very good condition with some signs of age, including patina to the luminescent (Radium) elements. Some lume is missing from the 0 in 10:00.
Rodania Monopusher Chronograph
What we like: Rodania is a forgotten name in the watch industry, but it still made some excellent watches back in the day (it produced chronographs for the Canadian military back in the ’50s and ’60s). This Monopusher chronograph, for example, is pleasingly simple inside and out, with a hand-winding mono-pusher chronograph movement and a clean white dial free of any sort of branding. An “RCN” stamp on the back indicates it’s used in the Royal Canadian Navy, according to Analog/Shift.
From the seller: Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition overall with some signs of age, including some discoloration and flaking to the luminescent materials of the hands. Unsigned crown.