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Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
TOP
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
R 659,863
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
55
MC
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy...
R 214,999
Seller
The Diamond Channel
ZA
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM00339
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM00339
R 165,749
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
244
UK
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Giorni Composite
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Giorni Composite
R 119,469
Seller
Dual-Time
24
FR
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Iw389002 Ceramic
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Iw389002 Ceramic
R 118,287
Seller
OCWG Inc.
90
US
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Zwart Keramisch PAM00339...
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Zwart Keramisch PAM00339...
R 147,275
Seller
Xupes.nl
 
NL
Longines Heritage  Military
Longines Heritage Military
R 23,321
Seller
Zanon Gioielli
10
IT
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 DESERT TYPE Ceramic Auto
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 DESERT TYPE Ceramic Auto
R 39,196
Seller
ILT Watches
 
BE
Bell & Ross Watch BR01-92 BR01-92
Bell & Ross Watch BR01-92 BR01-92
R 33,057
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Anonimo opera meccana first edition MILITARE  CRONO 2007 b/p
Anonimo opera meccana first edition MILITARE CRONO 2007 b/p
R 36,823
Seller
L'ORA DEL GALLO
28
IT
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
R 147,660
Seller
Time Enthusiast LLC
 
US
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare PAM00339
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare PAM00339
R 165,749
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
244
UK
IWC Fliegerchronograph TOP GUN Miramar IW3890
IWC Fliegerchronograph TOP GUN Miramar IW3890
R 122,726
Seller
maxwatches.eu
559
DE
A. Lange & Söhne Pilot WWII Flieger 55mm 1944 Zertifikat
A. Lange & Söhne Pilot WWII Flieger 55mm 1944 Zertifikat
R 148,600
Free shipping
Seller
Uhren Atelier Gehm GmbH
182
DE
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Roestvrij Staal PAM00587 - W4035
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Roestvrij Staal PAM00587 - W4035
R 126,016
Seller
Xupes.nl
 
NL
Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military
Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military
R 104,740
Seller
Uhrmacherhandwerk
226
DE
Breitling : Chronospace Military :  M7836622/BD39-159M : ...
Breitling : Chronospace Military : M7836622/BD39-159M : ...
R 56,314
Seller
Bernard Watch Co.
272
US
IWC Watch Mark XVIII IW324702
IWC Watch Mark XVIII IW324702
R 69,448
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Bronze
TOP
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Bronze
R 60,801
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark VXIII Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark VXIII Top Gun Miramar
R 73,830
Seller
Time Enthusiast LLC
 
US
A. Lange & Söhne WWII Aviator FL23883
A. Lange & Söhne WWII Aviator FL23883
R 111,117
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
244
UK
Tutima Military Chronograph Full Set
Tutima Military Chronograph Full Set
R 32,715
Seller
maxwatches.eu
559
DE
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
R 119,010
Seller
CKLY Trading Limited
26
HK
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Days Composite PAM 00339
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Days Composite PAM 00339
R 143,200
Free shipping
Seller
Coleccionismo e Paixões, Lda
180
PT
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Edition
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Edition
R 267,815
Seller
Kronopassion
30
US
Bell & Ross : 03-92 Military Type :  BR0392-MIL-CE :  Black...
Bell & Ross : 03-92 Military Type : BR0392-MIL-CE : Black...
R 35,757
Seller
Bernard Watch Co.
272
US
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
R 60,188
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Bell & Ross BR0392 DESERT TYPE
Bell & Ross BR0392 DESERT TYPE
R 55,643
Seller
Temps & Passions
29
MC
Bell & Ross Radar
Bell & Ross Radar
R 53,521
Seller
Ian Blowers Jewellers
39
UK
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Chronograph IW389002 Box Papers Unworn
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Chronograph IW389002 Box Papers Unworn
R 145,638
Seller
UHREN-NAGEL
20
DE
Tutima Military Chronograph TL
Tutima Military Chronograph TL
R 35,988
Seller
maxwatches.eu
559
DE
Panerai Marina Militare Lefthand Pam00217
Panerai Marina Militare Lefthand Pam00217
R 238,939
Seller
schreiter-muenchen.de
207
DE
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 1940 3 Days PAM 00587
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 1940 3 Days PAM 00587
R 117,833
Free shipping
Seller
Coleccionismo e Paixões, Lda
180
PT
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
R 170,099
Seller
Kronopassion
30
US
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Tourbillon 18k Rose
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Tourbillon 18k Rose
R 574,562
Seller
Watches4me
29
CH
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00339
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00339
R 143,526
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Tutima Military Watch 798 Lemania 5100
Tutima Military Watch 798 Lemania 5100
R 27,505
Seller
Time Merchants
37
CA
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8-Days "Giorni...
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8-Days "Giorni...
R 193,528
Seller
Ian Blowers Jewellers
39
UK
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
R 111,469
Seller
BlackTagWatches
100
US
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe stainless steel Full Set
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe stainless steel Full Set
R 46,642
Seller
A Novavenida Relojoeiros Lda.
177
PT
Breitling Chronospace Military
Breitling Chronospace Military
R 52,370
Seller
Xpetuo
25
IT
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Stainless Steel Men's...
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Stainless Steel Men's...
R 123,988
Seller
Xupes.com
170
UK
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
R 186,747
Seller
Kronopassion
30
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Navy Seals GMT Titan Q178T470
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Navy Seals GMT Titan Q178T470
R 114,396
Seller
CWC GmbH
113
DE
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
R 69,448
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Military Type
Bell & Ross BR 03-92 Military Type
R 42,551
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
481
UK
Bell & Ross Compass
Bell & Ross Compass
R 53,521
Seller
Ian Blowers Jewellers
39
UK
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8-Days
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8-Days
R 120,284
Free shipping
Seller
fitzroviawatches.co.uk
144
UK
IWC Top Gun Miramar
IWC Top Gun Miramar
R 100,612
Seller
Tarrytown Jewelers
110
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving GMT
R 122,978
Seller
Ticking Way
 
US
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Black Ceramic Men's...
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Black Ceramic Men's...
R 144,359
Seller
Xupes.com
170
UK
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
R 137,527
Seller
Kronopassion
30
US
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days PAM00587
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days PAM00587
R 110,191
Seller
CHRONO WATCH
108
UK
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00587
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00587
R 110,191
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 45mm
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 45mm
R 85,920
Seller
WatchesofMayfair.com
481
UK
Zenith Pilot Type 20
Zenith Pilot Type 20
R 70,930
Seller
Ian Blowers Jewellers
39
UK
Panerai PAM 217 Marina Militare Limited Edition - One of 1000...
Panerai PAM 217 Marina Militare Limited Edition - One of 1000...
R 162,879
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
48
UK
IWC Pilot´s Watch Top Gun Miramar Keramik Black Titan Automati...
IWC Pilot´s Watch Top Gun Miramar Keramik Black Titan Automati...
R 150,531
Seller
Juwelier Ralf Häffner
759
DE
Anonimo Militare Crono Ox Pro yellow dial NEW
Anonimo Militare Crono Ox Pro yellow dial NEW
R 48,933
Seller
Timepiece Bank
445
BE
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar
R 171,823
Seller
Wonder Invest Sp. z o.o.
205
PL
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Military Watches: Beloved Amongst Military and Civilians Alike

Whether on water, land, or in the air, military watches are useful everywhere. They're robust, functional, and relatively affordable even when new. An older military watch with a documented history, however, can reach astronomical prices.

Everything to Know About Military Watches

  • Robust and legible
  • Famous watches like the Rolex Submariner or IWC Mark 11
  • Extensive vintage selection
  • Rare and expensive collector's pieces are good investments
  • Large selection of affordable everyday watches

From a Service Watch to a Cult Watch

Military watches should, above all, be reliable and fulfill their purpose - no more, no less. Failure while the watch is in use can result in grave consequences. Military watches have no superfluous extras. Stainless steel and plastic are the main case materials used, as gold watches for regular military equipment do not fit most budgets. A military watch can't be too expensive, seeing as they're distributed en masse to the troops.

In any case, there is no clear cut definition for a military watch. This is why some watches are labeled as military watches even though they were originally meant for civilian use. Usually, they have common military watch characteristics, but have been sold on the regular market like any other watch. Thus, a soldier may indeed be a customer, but these still aren't "real" military watches.

IWC Mark 11: Serving the Royal Air Force for Over 30 Years

Watches that exist solely because the air force, marines, or army requested them are rare. Most are only introduced later as part of the brand's regular selection of watches available to everyone. One example of a watch like this is the most well-known pilot's watch, the Mark 11 from IWC. Created in 1948 to fulfill the wishes of the British Ministry of Defense, it was first the service watch for the Royal Air Force. Both IWC and Jaeger-LeCoultre delivered Mark 11s to pilots. The RAF gradually phased the watch out at the beginning of the 1980s. IWC continued developing the series, staying close to the original and also changing the numbers in the name to Roman numerals. The 2016 model is called the Mark XVIII. Clear and legible dials are no longer just for military pilots and their crews; they're a standard characteristic of IWC watches.

The same applies to some legendary diving watches. Blancpain developed the Fifty Fathoms for the French combat diving unit, Les Naguers de combat. The Fifty Fathoms featured a unidirectional bezel and has been competing with the Rolex Submariner for the title of the first diving watch in the world since its premiere in 1953. Blancpain offers the Fifty Fathoms in versions that are based on the one from 1953. There are also models in gold or white gold with special features such as diamonds or a tourbillon. These special watches are similar to the military watches in name only.

Watches for Combat Divers

The Panerai Radiomir has a similar history. The Italian Marines turned to Panerai in 1938, as they needed a reliable and legible diving watch. Panerai created a watch that was named Radiomir after the luminous, radioactive material used. The Marina Militare gave the elite combat unit Gamma the Radiomir. Initially, the timepiece was shroud in secrecy. After Panerai replaced the harmful radioactive material with a harmless one, the diving watch was renamed the Luminor in 1950. The Radiomir is available today once again, but the luminous hands and indices are not radioactive.

Two additional famous diving watches from the 1950s were also used by the military: the Rolex Submariner and the Omega Seamaster 300. However, the Submariner and Seamaster weren't originally conceived for the military. The Submariner had already been in production for four years when the British Ministry of Defense began searching for a good diving watch. They chose the Rolex, but not the regular, civilian version; rather, they asked for some changes. The metal bars for the strap were integrated into the case, and the strap became a continuous textile strap (NATO strap) so the watch couldn't be lost. The larger bezel is made of silver, a relatively soft metal which doesn't suffer cracks or break on impact. Rolex used tritium as the luminous material. These models have an encircled T on the dial above the depth indicator. Rolex produced these military Submariners until the late 1970s.

The Seamaster: Originally for Pilots, Now for Marines

The British military also used the Omega Seamaster. However, unlike its name would suggest, the Air Force were the first to use the timepiece. At its start in 1948, the Seamaster wasn't a diving watch. It only became a diving watch when the Seamaster 300 model was released in 1957. The Omega Seamaster 300 was soon part of the Royal Navy's Special Boat Service gear. Today's Seamaster 300's design is reminiscent of the version from 1957.

For years, the Vostok Amphibia enjoyed cult status in the West as well. This watch is an inexpensive, mechanical Russian diving watch. Its construction and design have barely changed since its introduction in the late 1960s. In order to fulfill the demands of the Soviet Ministry of Defense, designers Michail Novikov and Vera Belov came up with a revolutionary sealing concept. The deeper one dives, the more intensely the edge of the Plexiglas pushes against the o-ring, which creates a seal protecting the front side of the watch. The stronger the water pressure is, the better the waterproofness is. The case back is positioned on a large rubber ring and a steel ring is also screwed on to the case. This results in both the case back and o-ring pressing against the case. Unlike other well-known diving watches, the case back is not screwed down. The Amphibia's rubber ring is neither horizontally compressed or stretched, which can happen when a screw-down back is tightened or loosened. Thus, the o-ring must only be changed in exceptional cases, while in regular diving watches, the piece is considered expendable.

With the Chronospace Military, Breitling introduced a watch that proclaimed to be a military watch directly in its name. It's powered by a quartz movement and has an analog as well as a digital display. The Chronospace Military features an alarm function, a timer, and a second time zone display. It's waterproof to 50 m (5 bar), which isn't particularly impressive for a 4,000-euro watch that claims to be a military watch.

Countless watches in a less expensive price range carry the title Swiss Military. These watches fall into three different categories: Swiss Military from Bubendorf, Swiss Military Hanowa from Möhlin, and Swiss Military by Chrono from Solothurn. Less expensive quartz watches play an important role in the Swiss Military market.

In any case, the less expensive and reliable quartz watches have prevailed amongst the military and are still worn by troops today. Navy SEALS use Luminox watches. Soldiers often wear a Traser or a Casio. A Submariner or Fifty Fathoms is no longer a piece of military equipment, but rather a luxury item.

Buying Advice

Are you looking for a sporty watch that also functions perfectly in adverse conditions? Military watches are not only functional, but incredibly robust and legible as well. Some military watches have even reached cult status.

The Submariner is one of the most famous watches of all time. The incredibly rare, early version of the Submariner has the reference number A/6538. Other reference numbers to keep an eye out for are 5513, 5517, and 5513/5517. However, a search for the 5513 results in not only military Subs, but civilian Submariners as well. The 5517 is especially sought after; it can be identified partly by its sword hands. The price of a military Submariner heavily depends on its condition and availability. Even a non-military Rolex watch, reference number 6538 from the 1950s, costs around 40,000. The military version is much more expensive. Over the course of 30 years, there were only 1,200 - 1,300 military Submariners produced, making prices over 100,000 possible. A few 5517s have already been sold for almost 150,000 euros. Frequently, dealers only first reveal their desired price upon request.

As a buyer, you have to decide if you're more interested in a historical or modern military watch. The price is often the same. A German pilot's chronograph with one push-piece from Hanhart from the Second World War costs around 8,000 - 9,000 euros. A new automatic Blancpain Fifty Fathoms diving watch with a traditional design also costs around that amount. For the Fifty Fathoms versions with a red gold case, you should plan to pay around 23,000 euros.

However, these price ranges are not typical. Normally, modern military watches are good everyday watches with an excellent price-performance ratio. When new, you can usually buy them for less than 1,000 euros; this especially applies to quartz-powered watches. A mechanical Vostok Amphibia costs less than 100 euros and has an in-house automatic caliber, 2146 B.

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