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TOP
Longines L2.811.4.53.0 HERITAGE MILITARY 1918
AU$ 2,353
Verified Dealer
7
HK
TOP
Breitling Chronospace Military
AU$ 5,500
Private Seller
 
AU
TOP
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 12,000
Private Seller
 
AU
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special 45mm
AU$ 8,456
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
9
AU
Alpina Startimer Pilot
AU$ 850
Verified Dealer
16
AU
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 11,272
Verified Dealer
11
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar Ceramic IW388002 - W6408
AU$ 12,798
Verified Dealer
247
UK
A. Lange & Söhne WWII Aviator FL23883
AU$ 10,972
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
390
UK
Ulysse Nardin Marine Diver Military Camouflage Dial 47 mm
AU$ 10,987
Verified Dealer
9
PL
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual Calendar Gold &...
AU$ 12,773
Verified Dealer
37
US
Heuer Vintage BUNDESWEHR Chronograph 3H FlyBack Ref-1550G...
AU$ 8,290
Verified Dealer
213
DE
Bell & Ross Horizon Limited Edition
AU$ 3,579
Verified Dealer
1127
NL
Bell & Ross BR 01-92 PVD ( Full set )
AU$ 3,078
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
272
NL
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze Fullset LC100
AU$ 8,307
Verified Dealer
58
DE
Panerai Radiomir Militare Limited Edition PAM 587
AU$ 11,948
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
558
US
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare Stainless Steel PAM00587 - W4035
AU$ 13,896
Verified Dealer
247
UK
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM00339
AU$ 16,366
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
390
UK
Panerai Special Editions
AU$ 14,149
Verified Dealer
16
CY
TOP
Breitling Avenger Hurricane II Limited 105/500
AU$ 8,259
Private Seller
 
US
Bell & Ross Military Type Automatic Olive Dial
AU$ 4,744
Verified Dealer
720
BE
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
AU$ 8,322
Verified Dealer
161
NL
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special Bronze FULL SET
AU$ 7,474
Verified Dealer
327
ES
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare Limited Edition
AU$ 13,650
Verified Dealer
78
CH
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339
AU$ 11,497
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
558
US
Panerai Radiomir 8 Giorni Brevettato Ceramic PAM00339 - W5195
AU$ 16,639
Verified Dealer
247
UK
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare PAM00339
AU$ 16,366
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
390
UK
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare 1940 3 Days Pam00587 ( New )
AU$ 11,651
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
272
NL
TOP
Bell & Ross BRV192-MIL-ST/SCA
AU$ 2,029
Private Seller
 
US
IWC Pilot's Watch Chronograph Top Gun Miramar Automatic...
AU$ 15,797
Verified Dealer
720
BE
Zenith Pilot Montre d'Aeronef Type 20 Annual Calendar Chrono...
AU$ 14,721
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
79
US
IWC Pilot's Chrono Limited Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002...
AU$ 10,513
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
82
US
Heuer Chronograph Bundeswehr Flyback AWESOME Condition
AU$ 7,474
Verified Dealer
327
ES
IWC Big Pilot's Top Gun Miramar IW5019-02
AU$ 11,948
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
558
US
IWC Pilot´s Watch Top Gun Miramar Keramik Black Titan Automati...
AU$ 15,311
Verified Dealer
1110
DE
TOP
Breitling Chronospace Military
AU$ 5,303
Private Seller
 
UK
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
AU$ 21,033
Verified Dealer
85
US
Panerai Special Editions Mens 47mm Left Steel Watch
AU$ 18,195
Verified Dealer
68
UK
TOP
Panerai Special Editions
AU$ 19,538
Private Seller
 
HK
Anonimo Militare Crono Ox Pro yellow dial NEW
AU$ 4,977
Verified Dealer
720
BE
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
AU$ 11,948
Verified Dealer
 
US
Bell & Ross BR 03-92-S Command Automatic
AU$ 3,146
Verified Dealer
327
ES
Panerai Radiomir Militare Limited Edition PAM 587
AU$ 11,197
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
558
US
Breitling Chronospace Military
AU$ 6,400
Verified Dealer
30
UK
Panerai Luminor 1950 Stainless Steel Watch PAM00217
AU$ 30,057
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
181
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 29.2430.679/21.c753 Watch with Leather...
AU$ 6,613
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
364
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar
AU$ 17,395
Verified Dealer
34
CZ
A. Lange & Söhne Elite School Pilot WW II Zertifikat
AU$ 18,644
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
279
DE
Bell & Ross BR V1-92 Military Automatic Leather Strap
AU$ 2,647
Verified Dealer
720
BE
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar - 48 mm - NEU
AU$ 12,568
Verified Dealer
737
DE
Heuer Tag Heuer Bundeswehr 3h Chronograph Handaufzug Ref....
AU$ 7,591
Verified Dealer
1672
DE
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar 87.2430.4054/21.C721
AU$ 14,203
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
558
US
Panerai Radiomir Ceramics Dark Brown Manual Wind PAM00339
AU$ 15,125
Verified Dealer
171
HK
Jaeger-LeCoultre MASTER COMPRESSOR NAVY SEALS/BOX&PAPERS
AU$ 31,466
Verified Dealer
772
PL
Longines Heritage Military 44mm Automatic LNIB Under Warranty
AU$ 2,081
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
73
NL
Tutima Military Fliegerchronograph
AU$ 4,160
Verified Dealer
1211
DE
Bell & Ross : BR 01 Burning Skull : BR01-92-Skull-Burn : ...
AU$ 9,281
Verified Dealer
394
US
Bell & Ross BR0392-DESERT-CE Aviation Automatic Beige Dial
AU$ 4,811
Verified Dealer
720
BE
Zenith PILOT TYPE 20 EXTRA SPECIAL 45mm Bronze -NEU-
AU$ 8,488
Verified Dealer
737
DE
Longines Military 1938 24H L2.789.4.53.0 Watch with Textile...
AU$ 2,555
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
364
US
Panerai Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days PAM00587
AU$ 10,370
Free shipping
Verified Dealer
558
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 45 mm Automatic
AU$ 8,888
Verified Dealer
3669
IT
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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.