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Alpina Startimer Pilot
Alpina Startimer Pilot
AU$ 999
Seller
JOYCE JEWELLERY
10
AU
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
TOP
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
AU$ 65,746
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
A. Lange & Söhne WWII Aviator FL23883
A. Lange & Söhne WWII Aviator FL23883
AU$ 11,115
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
236
UK
Bell & Ross Military Type BR03-92-MIL-CE
Bell & Ross Military Type BR03-92-MIL-CE
AU$ 3,800
Seller
Watch Trader Pty Ltd
AU
IWC Fliegeruhr Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar
IWC Fliegeruhr Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 6,930
Free shipping
Seller
A. Grimmeissen Uhren An- und Verkauf
288
DE
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
AU$ 11,697
Seller
CKLY Trading Limited
18
HK
Longines Heritage  Military
Longines Heritage Military
AU$ 2,324
Seller
Zanon Gioielli
10
IT
Panerai  3 Days Marina Militare   Special Edition PAM 587
Panerai 3 Days Marina Militare Special Edition PAM 587
AU$ 11,235
Seller
Juwelier Wilfart
26
DE
Orfina U.A.E. Air Force Military Chronograph - 7177
Orfina U.A.E. Air Force Military Chronograph - 7177
AU$ 7,990
Free shipping
Seller
Watches.de - Mercurius Trading Ltd.
132
CH
Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military
Breitling Avenger Hurricane Military
AU$ 10,599
Seller
Uhrmacherhandwerk
225
DE
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
AU$ 6,141
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM00339
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM00339
AU$ 18,988
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
236
UK
A. Lange & Söhne Pilot WWII Flieger 55mm 1944 Zertifikat
A. Lange & Söhne Pilot WWII Flieger 55mm 1944 Zertifikat
AU$ 14,806
Free shipping
Seller
Uhren Atelier Gehm GmbH
176
DE
Zenith Pilot extra SpecialMontre DÁeronef Type 20 Bronze
Zenith Pilot extra SpecialMontre DÁeronef Type 20 Bronze
AU$ 7,988
Seller
Paul Koppenwallner GmbH
 
AT
Tutima Military Chronograph Full Set
Tutima Military Chronograph Full Set
AU$ 3,260
Seller
maxwatches.eu
534
DE
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Bronze
TOP
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Automatic Bronze
AU$ 5,971
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Giorni Composite
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Giorni Composite
AU$ 11,903
Seller
Dual-Time
23
FR
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Days - PAM00339
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Days - PAM00339
AU$ 17,059
Free shipping
Seller
Watches.de - Mercurius Trading Ltd.
132
CH
Heuer Bund Bundeswehr 3H
Heuer Bund Bundeswehr 3H
AU$ 8,137
Free shipping
Seller
World Wide Watches S.L.
115
ES
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00339
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00339
AU$ 14,357
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare PAM00339
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare PAM00339
AU$ 20,285
Free shipping
Seller
Watches & Jewellery of Bond Street Ltd
236
UK
IWC Top Gun Miramar
IWC Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 9,880
Seller
Tarrytown Jewelers
99
US
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Pro Titanium Chronographe
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Pro Titanium Chronographe
AU$ 4,712
Seller
Da Vinci Watches
16
FR
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Iw389002 Ceramic
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Iw389002 Ceramic
AU$ 11,616
Seller
OCWG Inc.
84
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze 29.2430.679/21.C753
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze 29.2430.679/21.C753
AU$ 7,037
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
330
US
Breitling Chronospace Military
Breitling Chronospace Military
AU$ 7,166
Seller
Prestige Luxusuhren GmbH
4021
DE
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar from 2014 with B + P
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar from 2014 with B + P
AU$ 10,843
Seller
Watchdeals
230
NL
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
AU$ 10,946
Seller
BlackTagWatches
95
US
Panerai Watch Luminor Marina PAM00217
Panerai Watch Luminor Marina PAM00217
AU$ 19,915
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
TOP
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 13,028
Seller
Private Seller
 
DE
Jaeger-LeCoultre Navy Seals GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Navy Seals GMT
AU$ 27,437
Seller
Chad Warrick
14
US
Bell & Ross BR 03-92-S Aviation type
Bell & Ross BR 03-92-S Aviation type
AU$ 2,609
Seller
ORO CHAMBERI S.L
22
ES
Tutima Military Chronograph TL
Tutima Military Chronograph TL
AU$ 3,586
Seller
maxwatches.eu
534
DE
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar IW3247-02
IWC Pilot's Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar IW3247-02
AU$ 7,037
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
330
US
Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph - Achtung 33,1% gespart
Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph - Achtung 33,1% gespart
AU$ 977
Seller
Miquel Schmuck & Uhren GmbH
824
DE
Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 Military
Bell & Ross Vintage BR V1-92 Military
Price on request
Seller
Aurum Road S.L.
 
ES
Panerai Marina Militare Lefthand Pam00217
Panerai Marina Militare Lefthand Pam00217
AU$ 23,807
Seller
schreiter-muenchen.de
194
DE
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
Breitling Watch Chronospace M78366
AU$ 6,947
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar SKU: K58
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar SKU: K58
AU$ 11,301
Seller
MARTIN LUXURY PTE LTD
SG
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 16,349
Seller
Chad Warrick
14
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
AU$ 7,827
Seller
Charming Time
82
DE
IWC Fliegerchronograph TOP GUN Miramar IW3890
IWC Fliegerchronograph TOP GUN Miramar IW3890
AU$ 12,880
Seller
maxwatches.eu
534
DE
Breitling Chronospace Military M7836622/BD39
Breitling Chronospace Military M7836622/BD39
AU$ 5,615
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
330
US
Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph -Achtung, 29,8% gespart
Alpina Startimer Pilot Chronograph -Achtung, 29,8% gespart
AU$ 1,140
Seller
Miquel Schmuck & Uhren GmbH
824
DE
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 12,229
Free shipping
Seller
Icône Watches
370
ES
Zenith PILOT AERONEF
Zenith PILOT AERONEF
AU$ 6,726
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00587
Panerai Watch Radiomir Manual PAM00587
AU$ 11,023
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar - 48 mm - NEU
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar - 48 mm - NEU
AU$ 12,547
Seller
MyChronograph
537
DE
Panerai PAM339
Panerai PAM339
AU$ 19,263
Seller
Chad Warrick
14
US
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
AU$ 19,896
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
50
US
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Stainless Steel Men's...
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Stainless Steel Men's...
AU$ 12,403
Seller
Xupes.com
163
UK
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW3890-02
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW3890-02
AU$ 12,013
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
330
US
Bell & Ross Aviation BR 03 Desert Type - Achtung, 29,4% gespart
Bell & Ross Aviation BR 03 Desert Type - Achtung, 29,4% gespart
AU$ 3,912
Seller
Miquel Schmuck & Uhren GmbH
824
DE
Panerai PAM 217 Marina Militare Limited Edition - One of 1000...
Panerai PAM 217 Marina Militare Limited Edition - One of 1000...
AU$ 16,293
Free shipping
Seller
Watch Club
42
UK
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
AU$ 8,438
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
53
MC
IWC Watch Pilots Chrono IW388002
IWC Watch Pilots Chrono IW388002
AU$ 11,949
Seller
Watchfinder.co.uk Ltd
UK
Zenith PILOT TYPE 20 EXTRA SPECIAL 45mm Bronze -NEU-
Zenith PILOT TYPE 20 EXTRA SPECIAL 45mm Bronze -NEU-
AU$ 8,601
Seller
MyChronograph
537
DE
Anonimo Militare Automatico limited edition black case...
Anonimo Militare Automatico limited edition black case...
AU$ 4,712
Seller
Timepiece Bank
429
BE
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare Limited Edition
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare Limited Edition
AU$ 14,134
Seller
Watchattitude
27
CH
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Black Ceramic Men's...
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Black Ceramic Men's...
AU$ 14,440
Seller
Xupes.com
163
UK
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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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