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IWC Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar IW5019-02 Watch with Textile...
IWC Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar IW5019-02 Watch with Textile...
C$ 10,968
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
Breitling Chronospace Military Special Edition 48mm  PVD Black
Breitling Chronospace Military Special Edition 48mm PVD Black
C$ 4,617
Seller
Alux Watches
 
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT...
C$ 13,470
Free shipping
Seller
de Boulle Diamond & Jewelry
US
Tutima Military Tutima Military Rare Tach Scale
Tutima Military Tutima Military Rare Tach Scale
C$ 3,207
Seller
Private Seller
CA
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Edition
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Edition
C$ 23,732
Seller
Kronopassion
19
US
Breitling Chronospace Military
Breitling Chronospace Military
C$ 6,079
Free shipping
Seller
A. Grimmeissen Uhren An- und Verkauf
124
DE
Anonimo militare automatico
Anonimo militare automatico
C$ 4,737
Seller
wiquel s.r.l.
9
IT
Panerai PAM00587 Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Day (28031)
Panerai PAM00587 Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Day (28031)
C$ 10,583
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
C$ 9,141
Seller
Badel Watch
6
BE
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Edition Top Gun Miramar IW3880-02...
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Edition Top Gun Miramar IW3880-02...
C$ 9,301
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Pilot Mark
IWC Pilot Mark
C$ 5,709
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
Zenith El Primero Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual...
Zenith El Primero Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual...
C$ 7,633
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
Anonimo Militare Opera Meccana Crono  Referenz 2007 Revision...
Anonimo Militare Opera Meccana Crono Referenz 2007 Revision...
C$ 4,736
Seller
Uhren - Borgardts
 
DE
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
C$ 17,318
Seller
Kronopassion
19
US
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
C$ 9,878
Seller
BlackTagWatches
52
US
Alpina Startimer Pilot Big Date Chronograph Men’s Watch –...
Alpina Startimer Pilot Big Date Chronograph Men’s Watch –...
C$ 738
Free shipping
Seller
ShopWorn
161
US
IWC IW389002 Top Gun Miramar Chronograph Ceramic (28193)
IWC IW389002 Top Gun Miramar Chronograph Ceramic (28193)
C$ 11,481
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
Panerai PAM 587 Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days Acciaio...
Panerai PAM 587 Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days Acciaio...
C$ 10,904
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
35
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph IW3890-02 Watch with Leather, Nylon...
IWC Pilot's Chronograph IW3890-02 Watch with Leather, Nylon...
C$ 9,301
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
Longines Heritage L2.811.4.53.0
Longines Heritage L2.811.4.53.0
C$ 1,976
Free shipping
Seller
SLS TIME
32
US
Zenith El Primero Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual...
Zenith El Primero Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual...
C$ 8,274
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar inkl. 19% Mwst.
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar inkl. 19% Mwst.
C$ 15,001
Seller
Helmut Seidl GmbH
7
DE
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
C$ 15,073
Seller
Kronopassion
19
US
IWC Automatic Big Pilot's Watch TOP GUN Miramar IW501902
IWC Automatic Big Pilot's Watch TOP GUN Miramar IW501902
C$ 12,572
Seller
BlackTagWatches
52
US
IWC Pilot Collection Chronograph Top Gun Miramar Ceramic 44mm...
IWC Pilot Collection Chronograph Top Gun Miramar Ceramic 44mm...
C$ 11,513
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
112
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Q1852670 Master Compressor Diving Pro...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Q1852670 Master Compressor Diving Pro...
C$ 27,581
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
C$ 17,953
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
35
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph TOP GUN Miramar IW3880-02 Watch with...
IWC Pilot's Chronograph TOP GUN Miramar IW3880-02 Watch with...
C$ 9,301
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM00339...
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM00339...
C$ 20,397
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
62
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diver GMT Navy Seals Q178T470
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diver GMT Navy Seals Q178T470
C$ 10,198
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC IW324702 Pilot Top Gun Automatic Anthracite Dial Men's Watch
IWC IW324702 Pilot Top Gun Automatic Anthracite Dial Men's Watch
C$ 6,156
Free shipping
Seller
Chronostore
130
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
C$ 12,187
Seller
Kronopassion
19
US
Longines Heritage
Longines Heritage
C$ 1,923
Seller
Topper Fine Jewelers
41
US
Tutima FX UTC Germany Chronograph GMT
Tutima FX UTC Germany Chronograph GMT
C$ 3,143
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
112
US
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot TOP GUN Miramar 7 Day Ceramic (28253)
IWC IW501902 Big Pilot TOP GUN Miramar 7 Day Ceramic (28253)
C$ 12,700
Seller
European Watch Company
113
US
Panerai PAM 339 Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Day Giorni Brevetta...
Panerai PAM 339 Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Day Giorni Brevetta...
C$ 12,822
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
35
US
Breitling Chronospace Military M78366 Watch with Textile...
Breitling Chronospace Military M78366 Watch with Textile...
C$ 4,875
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
IWC Pilot TOP GUN Mark XVIII Miramar IW324702
IWC Pilot TOP GUN Mark XVIII Miramar IW324702
C$ 6,254
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
62
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW3890-02
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW3890-02
C$ 10,198
Free shipping
Seller
Govberg Jewelers
247
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002
C$ 13,848
Seller
Gemnation
229
US
Zenith Pilot
Zenith Pilot
C$ 5,387
Free shipping
Seller
Chronostore
130
US
IWC Big Pilots Top Gun Miramar Anthracite Dial Automatic...
IWC Big Pilots Top Gun Miramar Anthracite Dial Automatic...
C$ 15,676
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
108
US
IWC Pilot Collection Top Gun Miramar Mark XVIII Ceramic 41mm...
IWC Pilot Collection Top Gun Miramar Mark XVIII Ceramic 41mm...
C$ 6,318
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
112
US
IWC Pilot's Men's Watch IW324702
IWC Pilot's Men's Watch IW324702
C$ 5,709
Seller
WatchMaxx.com
209
US
Panerai Pre-Owned  Luminor Marina Militare Limited Edition PAM...
Panerai Pre-Owned Luminor Marina Militare Limited Edition PAM...
C$ 19,178
Seller
WatchBox
60
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Top Gun Miramar IW3880-02 Watch with Textile...
IWC Pilot's Watch Top Gun Miramar IW3880-02 Watch with Textile...
C$ 9,493
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph Q178T471...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph Q178T471...
C$ 14,753
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
62
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT Navy...
C$ 29,900
Seller
Timeless Watches
 
CA
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 Annual Calendar...
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 Annual Calendar...
C$ 10,583
Seller
Gemnation
229
US
IWC Pilot's IW388002 Titanium Men's Automatic Watch
IWC Pilot's IW388002 Titanium Men's Automatic Watch
C$ 11,929
Free shipping
Seller
Chronostore
130
US
Longines Heritage Military 1938 Automatic GMT Mens Strap Watch...
Longines Heritage Military 1938 Automatic GMT Mens Strap Watch...
C$ 2,180
Free shipping
Seller
Watches And Beyond
231
US
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar Ceramic 48mm...
IWC Pilot Collection Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar Ceramic 48mm...
C$ 11,321
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
112
US
Panerai Marina Militare 8 Giorni Brevettato Brown Composite...
Panerai Marina Militare 8 Giorni Brevettato Brown Composite...
C$ 11,161
Seller
Prestige Watch
103
US
Panerai Pre-Owned  Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni...
Panerai Pre-Owned Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni...
C$ 11,481
Seller
WatchBox
60
US
IWC Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar IW5019-02 Watch with Textile...
IWC Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar IW5019-02 Watch with Textile...
C$ 11,161
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
10
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT...
Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Compressor Diving Chronograph GMT...
C$ 26,811
Seller
Pacific Bay Watch Corporation
62
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
TOP
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
C$ 13,420
Seller
Private Seller
 
DE
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 40mm 03.1930.681-...
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 40mm 03.1930.681-...
C$ 6,181
Seller
Gemnation
229
US
IWC Big Pilots IW501902 Men's Automatic Watch
IWC Big Pilots IW501902 Men's Automatic Watch
C$ 14,110
Free shipping
Seller
Chronostore
130
US
Heuer Bundeswehr
Heuer Bundeswehr
C$ 6,991
Free shipping
Seller
Vesper & Co.
9
US
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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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