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Panerai Special Editions
R 192 400
Seller
Topwatch SA Pty Ltd
ZA
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy...
R 214 999
Seller
The Diamond Channel
ZA
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Desert Type
R 46 094
Seller
Aurum Road S.L.
19
ES
Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military World Limited 1000Pcs Model
R 76 497
Seller
G-BALLER
6
JP
A. Lange & Söhne WWII Aviator FL23883
R 106 764
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
370
UK
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
R 106 558
Seller
Temporis Aeterni
11
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Navy SEALS Q2018470
R 91 640
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
522
US
IWC IW388002 TOP GUN Miramar Chronograph Ceramic (31517)
R 98 744
Seller
European Watch Company
309
US
Panerai Special Editions Mens 47mm Left Steel Watch
R 177 050
Seller
WT Time Pieces
63
UK
IWC Fliegerchronograph Top Gun Mir
R 118 825
Seller
Chronothek Uhrenhandels GmbH
58
AT
Panerai Marina Militare PAM00587 Special Edition
R 101 337
Free shipping
Seller
fitzroviawatches.co.uk
197
UK
Bell & Ross Horizon Limited Edition
R 34 292
Seller
Juwelier Burger, since 2001
1104
NL
Bell & Ross Airborne Skull World Limited 500Pcs BR 01-92-SA 46mm
R 64 363
Seller
G-BALLER
6
JP
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM00339
R 159 256
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
370
UK
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar perfektes Fullset LC100
R 143 387
Seller
TimeElements
57
DE
A. Lange & Söhne Elite School Pilot WW II Zertifikat
R 178 636
Free shipping
Seller
Uhren Atelier Gehm GmbH
271
DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Navy Seals Compressor Diving Chronogra...
R 111 488
Seller
sense-of-time
150
DE
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe Mens DLC 46mm Watch
R 40 837
Seller
WT Time Pieces
63
UK
TOP
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Automatic Navy SEALs
R 110 850
Seller
Private Seller
 
FR
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8-Days
R 101 337
Free shipping
Seller
fitzroviawatches.co.uk
197
UK
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Edition
R 262 844
Seller
Kronopassion
56
US
Panerai Radiomir Militare Limited Edition PAM 587
R 112 952
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
522
US
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare PAM00339
R 159 256
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
370
UK
TOP
Bell & Ross BRV192-MIL-ST/SCA
R 19 180
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze Fullset LC100
R 79 589
Seller
TimeElements
57
DE
A. Lange & Söhne B-Uhr Flieger Pilot WWII Watch Zertifikat
R 148 970
Free shipping
Seller
Uhren Atelier Gehm GmbH
271
DE
Heuer Chronograph Bundeswehr Flyback AWESOME Condition
R 71 614
Seller
COMERZIA WATCHES
312
ES
Panerai Luminor Marina Militare Special Edition PAM 217...
R 196 165
Seller
maxwatches.eu
879
DE
Panerai Luminor 1950 Stainless Steel Watch PAM00217
R 284 141
Free shipping
Seller
Avi & Co NY
167
US
Anonimo Militare
R 31 899
Seller
Juwelier Lutz Reuer e.K.
13
DE
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar IW501902
R 166 941
Seller
Kronopassion
56
US
Zenith Type 20 Pilot Montre d'Aeronef 03.1930.681/21.C723
R 56 121
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
522
US
Zenith PILOT TYPE 20 EXTRA SPECIAL 45mm Bronze -NEU-
R 81 327
Seller
MyChronograph
721
DE
TOP
Breitling Chronospace Military
R 51 603
Seller
Private Seller
 
UK
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual Calendar Chrono...
R 142 007
Free shipping
Seller
J A Meyer Jewelry & Watches, inc
72
US
Heuer Military Flyback chronograph 1550 SG Top Condition
R 55 824
Seller
Glueck Unlimited S.L.
113
ES
Panerai PAM00587 Militare 1940 S.E. Unworn in Seals Full Set B&P
R 143 387
Seller
MESSINKWATCHES
45
NL
Bell & Ross : BR 01 Burning Skull : BR01-92-Skull-Burn : ...
R 95 050
Seller
Bernard Watch Co.
382
US
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar, Ceramic & Titanium
R 163 389
Seller
FeelGoodWatches, Inc.
12
US
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
R 183 280
Seller
Kronopassion
56
US
TOP
Breitling Chronospace Military
R 55 127
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
TOP
Breitling Avenger Hurricane II Limited 105/500
R 78 072
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
Zenith El Primero Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual...
R 91 640
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
522
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar - 48 mm - NEU
R 120 420
Seller
MyChronograph
721
DE
IWC Top Gun Miramar IW388002
R 92 279
Free shipping
Seller
J A Meyer Jewelry & Watches, inc
72
US
Sinn U1 Camouflage (Limited Edition)
R 31 102
Seller
Istock LTD
220
LV
Zenith Pilot Type 20 03.1930.681 / 21.C723 Watch with Leather...
R 41 884
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
325
US
Tutima Military Fliegerchronograph
R 39 858
Seller
Miquel Schmuck & Uhren GmbH
1186
DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Navy Seals GMT
R 274 210
Seller
Chad Warrick
24
US
Bell & Ross BR0392 DESERT TYPE
R 54 229
Seller
Temps & Passions
42
MC
TOP
Panerai Special Editions
R 184 701
Seller
Private Seller
 
HK
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
R 120 276
Seller
Private Seller
 
AU
IWC Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar IW5019-02
R 127 160
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
522
US
Heuer Bund Pilots Chronograph 1550 SG
R 99 440
Seller
WearingTime LLC
30
US
Panerai Radiomir Ceramics Dark Brown Manual Wind PAM00339
R 143 667
Seller
VIP WATCH & JEWELLERY
147
HK
Jaeger-LeCoultre MASTER COMPRESSOR NAVY SEALS/BOX&PAPERS
R 307 221
Seller
Wrzeciono Czasu
755
PL
Anonimo Militare Crono black dial last edition NEW
R 47 689
Seller
Timepiece Bank
682
BE
Longines Heritage
R 23 047
Seller
Hourglass
42
IE
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
R 127 429
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
1049
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
R 151 362
Seller
SPAZIO 21
 
IT
  • 30
  • 60
  • 120

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.