11 Military Watches — 2015 Remembrance Day Special
On November 11th, we will take a moment to remember. Remember those that did not hesitate, those that gave everything, those that did not returned. As watch fanatics, we continue our tradition of posting a Remembrance Day Special story showcasing 11 timepieces with a military connection.
GRAHAM Chronofighter Oversize Navy SEAL Foundation
You better not mess with a guy wearing a 47 mm Graham Chronofighter Oversize Navy SEAL Foundation.
Without going into more details that you can find here, you need to know that for each Chronofighter Oversize Navy SEAL Foundation limited edition piece, Graham will make a donation to the Navy SEAL Foundation.
Hamilton Khaki Field WWII
Back in 1941, the US Government mandated Hamilton to produce a reliable timepiece corresponding to the high standard of the Army. The result was the iconic Hamilton Khaki Field, that every soldier leaving for Europe was wearing. To be able to keep up with this huge order, Hamilton has stopped the production of commercial watches and focused all its energy on this model. By the end of the war, there were one million watches that left the factory, quite a feat considering that things were done manually. It helped Hamilton to enhance its standards and learn new ways of producing watches.
In 2015, Hamilton has reinterpreted the Khaki Field WWII watch in a new Automatic model keeping the same colour of the dial, which is not dark green, it’s not grey, it’s a green that is quite sophisticated as it turns into anthracite.
Haigh & Hastings Gallipoli Centenary timepiece
In case it is the first time you come across a Haigh & Hastings, it is an Australian microbrand with a really interesting collection and huge ambitions.
To mark the centennial of the “Anzac Day”, Australian watchmaker Haigh & Hastings has launched a special edition Gallipoli Centenary timepiece that will help fund programs and services for The Returned & Services League (RSL). RSL is a support organization for men and women who have served or are serving in the Australian Defence Force.
For more about Gallipoli Centenary watch, check out our in-depth presentation.
Officine Panerai Radiomir
Longines Heritage Military COSD
Announced a few weeks ago the Longines Heritage Military COSD is based on a piece of equipment used by the British Special Forces during the 1940s. Each item of this equipment was marked with the initials COSD and intended for the sole use of the Combined Operations Command created by the British War Office during the Second World War. These timepieces were much appreciated by the paratroopers. The khaki NATO strap and the distinctive broad arrow on the dial – used at the time for all military equipment including the watches used by the British forces – bestow its particular style to this model.
The numerals and the hands are coated with Super-LumiNova for readability under all conditions.
Ball Engineer II Green Berets
The green beret traces its origin to the official headdress of the British Commandos during WWII and it is still worn by members of the Royal Marines after passing the Commando Course and men from other units attached to the Marines who have passed the All Arms Commando Course.
The American Green Berets received the ultimate recognition in the 1960s when President John F. Kennedy said: “The green beret is a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.” From that moment onward, the green beret was permanently identified as the symbol of excellence in the United States Army.
The Ball Engineer II Green Berets is a modern “combat watch”, with a 43 mm titanium carbide case, screwed-in crown for better water resistance (up to 100 m). The solid construction of the watch ensures that it can withstand impacts of up to 5,000Gs and it is protected against magnetic fields to an intensity of 4,800A/m.
For nighttime visibility, the watch is equipped with micro tubes of luminescent H3 gas. These micro tubes give off a strong green glow, in tribute to the military unit from which the model takes its name. The index at 12 o’clock stands out by giving off an orange glow, while the hands are fitted with micro tubes of yellow-coloured gas.
The Engineer II Green Berets is powered by the COSC certified BALL RR1103-C automatic caliber.
Bell & Ross WWI Guynemer
If it’s a Bell & Ross than it is linked to aviation and on the Centenary of the Great War, the brand pays homage to a legendary fighter ace and French National Hero: Georges Guynemer.
B&R wanted to (re)create a watch that Guynemer could have worn. A 45 mm case has a distressed «gunmetal grey» steel finish; opaline dial; sand-coloured numerals and hands as on antique dials; wire handles; narrow, natural leather bracelet with the patina of time and over-size grooved crown — a souvenir of the time when aviation pioneers had to
handle their watches wearing thick flying gloves.
The dial features a red silhouette of a stork, while the back is decorated with the portray of the famous French top gun.
Eterna Heritage Military
Last year, Eterna unveiled two models based a watch they have created for the Czechoslovak army in 1939. For more, go to our full story.
Blancpain, Captain Robert Maloubier and the Fifty Fathoms
OK, this is not a new model, but the Fifty Fathoms is a legend and it is linked to another legend, Captain Robert “Bob” Maloubier, co-founder of the French military’s combat diving corps, the French equivalent of the US Navy Seals. Captain Maloubier has passed away earlier this year, and I felt it would be appropriate to remember the famous spy by including the Fifty Fathoms in this list.
For his missions, beyond his diving tanks, regulators, masks, fins and wetsuits, Captain Maloubier and Lieutenant Claude Riffaud understood the importance of having a robust and reliable diving watch. After having thoroughly tested watches which were available on the market, they came to the conclusion that none of them were suitable for the task. It was following this experience that contact was made with Jean-Jacques Fiechter, then CEO of Blancpain, who was himself a diver and passionate about the underwater world.
Robert Maloubier describes his dealings with Blancpain thus:
“Finally there was a small watch company, Blancpain, which agreed to develop our project which imagined a watch with a black dial, large numerals and clear indications using triangles, circles and squares, as well as an exterior rotating bezel mirroring the markers of the dial. We wanted at the beginning of a dive to position the bezel opposite the minute hand so as to be able to read the elapsed time. We wanted in effect that each of the markers be as clear as a guiding star for a shepherd.”
The Fifty Fathoms was quickly recognized as a benchmark for military dive watches and it was adopted by civilian divers too such as Jacques-Yves Cousteau in The Silent World. It is noteworthy that a watch created in 1953, responds to the requirements of the NIHS 92-11 (ISO 6425) norm introduced for diver’s watches in 1996, almost 40 years later.
Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport no logo
As you can see in this picture, the Stowa Flieger Klassik Sport is a direct descendant of Flieger watches produced by the brand in the 1940s. While the Flieger Klassik Sport is also made with a logo and, or with the date, this is my favourite.
For more, go to the Stowa website.
Officine Panerai Mare Nostrum Titanio – 52 mm (PAM00603)
To keep my promise to TimeCaptain, I’m also including a Panerai, and my choice is the PAM00603, a huge 52 mm beast crafted from titanium, part of the Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) collection. The Romans called the Mediterranean Sea “Mare Nostrum” as they were in control over a big part of it. The Panerai collection gets its name from the period between 1941 and 1942, when the Royal Italian Navy was again in control of the Mediterranean Sea. The Panerai family created the collection for the deck officers of the Royal Italian Navy “Mare Nostrum”.
The limited edition Mare Nostrum Titanio is faithful to the original model, but introduces a few fundamental changes: first of all, instead of steel it is made from titanium; the dial is tobacco brown instead of dark green, and finally the new version is powered by a hand-wound manufacture movement: the OP XXV calibre developed on a Minerva 13-22 base; it is 12¾ lignes in diameter and has a balance wheel making 18,000 vibrations per hour, like the Angelus movement of the vintage prototype.
Anonimo Militare Classic Auto
Since I’ve included Panerai, let me finish with Anonimo, a brand cofounded by Dino Zei, a former of Panerai till the brand was bought by Richemont. The name of the new brand was chosen to convey the vision of the founders — the product has to be more important than the brand.
The Militare collection was introduced in 2001, and this year the brand unveiled a refreshed collection created in collaboration with renowned watch designer Antoine Tschumi.
Besides the Militare Classic Automatic, a three hand watch with a small second dial at 3 o’clock and a date window at 9, using Sellita SW 260-1, the Militare collection offers a chronograph line-up too, using the Sellita SW300 equipped with a Dubois Depraz 2035M chronograph module.
2015 marks the return of Anonimo to North America, so next time you visit your favourite Panerai dealer, ask them about Anonimo.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and Claude Detloff’s picture does not need any explanation. On November 11, we should remember. Lest we forget…