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IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
TOP
IWC Pilot's Chronograph 46mm TOP GUN Miramar - IW388002
$8,969
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
416
US
Bell & Ross BR-01-92-S Limited BR-01-92-S Limited PVD Limited...
Bell & Ross BR-01-92-S Limited BR-01-92-S Limited PVD Limited...
$2,500
Seller
European Watch Company
184
US
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Iw389002 Ceramic
IWC Pilot Top Gun Miramar Iw389002 Ceramic
$8,171
Seller
OCWG Inc.
96
US
Jaeger-LeCoultre Navy Seals GMT
Jaeger-LeCoultre Navy Seals GMT
$19,300
Seller
Chad Warrick
15
US
Panerai Luminor 1950 Stainless Steel Watch PAM00217
Panerai Luminor 1950 Stainless Steel Watch PAM00217
$19,999
Free shipping
Seller
Avi & Co NY
96
US
Breitling : Chronospace Military :  M7836622/BD39-159M : ...
Breitling : Chronospace Military : M7836622/BD39-159M : ...
$3,890
Seller
Bernard Watch Co.
282
US
Panerai Luminor Marina Militare
Panerai Luminor Marina Militare
$13,500
Seller
Radcliffe
115
US
Breitling Chronospace M7836622/BD39
Breitling Chronospace M7836622/BD39
$4,250
Free shipping
Seller
Precision Watches
71
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
$4,700
Seller
The Watch Connection
 
US
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII - Top Gun Miramar 324702
IWC Pilot Mark XVIII - Top Gun Miramar 324702
$4,250
Seller
Watch Exchange Co.
147
US
Bell & Ross Br01-92 Automatic Steel Pvd W/ 18k Yg 46mm
Bell & Ross Br01-92 Automatic Steel Pvd W/ 18k Yg 46mm
$6,000
Seller
Priceless Shine Inc
35
US
Bell & Ross BR-01-92 Carbon Fiber Black Dial Watch
Bell & Ross BR-01-92 Carbon Fiber Black Dial Watch
$5,900
Seller
Koosh Jewelers
6
US
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
IWC Big Pilot Top Gun Miramar
$11,500
Seller
Chad Warrick
15
US
IWC New IW388002 Pilot Top Gun Miramar Ceramic Titanium...
IWC New IW388002 Pilot Top Gun Miramar Ceramic Titanium...
$8,345
Seller
Swiss Time Buyers
20
US
Bell & Ross : 03-92 Military Type :  BR0392-MIL-CE :  Black...
Bell & Ross : 03-92 Military Type : BR0392-MIL-CE : Black...
$2,470
Seller
Bernard Watch Co.
282
US
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
Breitling Avenger Hurricane
$7,700
Seller
BlackTagWatches
107
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar 87.2430.4054/21.C721
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Annual Calendar 87.2430.4054/21.C721
$10,950
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
356
US
Bell & Ross Aviation Br0192 Steel Pvd 46mm Automatic Watch...
Bell & Ross Aviation Br0192 Steel Pvd 46mm Automatic Watch...
$2,999
Seller
Diamonds East International
54
US
Zenith Pilot Montre D’aeronef Type 20 Stainless Steel Black...
Zenith Pilot Montre D’aeronef Type 20 Stainless Steel Black...
$4,200
Free shipping
Seller
Feldmar Watch Company, Inc.
11
US
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW388002
IWC Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW388002
$8,849
Free shipping
Seller
Watch My Diamonds
177
US
Bell & Ross- Ceramic White BR 03-92-SC Watch
Bell & Ross- Ceramic White BR 03-92-SC Watch
$3,600
Seller
Koosh Jewelers
6
US
Panerai PAM339
Panerai PAM339
$13,550
Seller
Chad Warrick
15
US
Bell & Ross Aviation Carbon Chronograph Matte Black PVD FInish
Bell & Ross Aviation Carbon Chronograph Matte Black PVD FInish
$4,995
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
178
US
Bell & Ross Skull Br01-92 Automatic 46mm
Bell & Ross Skull Br01-92 Automatic 46mm
$5,500
Free shipping
Seller
Burdeens Jewelry
34
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
$3,795
Seller
Private Seller
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW3890-02
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Top Gun Miramar IW3890-02
$8,450
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
356
US
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
Zenith Pilot Type 20 Extra Special
$4,500
Seller
Luxury Time
 
US
IWC Top Gun Miramar
IWC Top Gun Miramar
$6,950
Seller
Tarrytown Jewelers
116
US
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
TOP
Zenith PILOT AERONEF 48 MM TYPE XX TOURBILLON
$46,536
Seller
ZEGG & CERLATI
58
MC
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 40mm 03.1930.681-...
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 40mm 03.1930.681-...
$4,818
Seller
Gemnation
402
US
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339...
TOP
Panerai Radiomir Composite Marina Militare 8 Giorni PAM 339...
$8,950
Free shipping
Seller
CJ Charles Jewelers
7
US
Anonimo Militare Automatico Stainless Steel 43mm Black Dial...
Anonimo Militare Automatico Stainless Steel 43mm Black Dial...
$2,425
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
178
US
Breitling Chronospace Military M7836622 Full Set
Breitling Chronospace Military M7836622 Full Set
$4,400
Free shipping
Seller
Burdeens Jewelry
34
US
Panerai Marina Militare 8 Giorni Brevettato Brown Composite...
Panerai Marina Militare 8 Giorni Brevettato Brown Composite...
$7,850
Free shipping
Seller
Prestige Watch
195
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
$4,750
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
356
US
IWC Pilot's Chrono Limited Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002...
IWC Pilot's Chrono Limited Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002...
$6,995
Free shipping
Seller
WatchMen
60
US
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe
Bell & Ross BR 01-94 Chronographe
$2,500
Seller
Private Seller
 
US
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002
IWC Pilot's Chronograph Edition Top Gun Miramar IW388002
$10,795
Seller
Gemnation
402
US
Tutima Military Watch 798 Lemania 5100
Tutima Military Watch 798 Lemania 5100
$1,900
Seller
Time Merchants
41
CA
Anonimo Militare Automatico Crono Stainless Steel Black Dial
Anonimo Militare Automatico Crono Stainless Steel Black Dial
$3,949
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
178
US
Panerai PAM 587 Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days Acciaio...
Panerai PAM 587 Radiomir 1940 Marina Militare 3 Days Acciaio...
$7,995
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
55
US
Bell & Ross Carbon Fiber Phantom Limited Edition BR01-94 Watch...
Bell & Ross Carbon Fiber Phantom Limited Edition BR01-94 Watch...
$3,100
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
158
US
Panerai Radiomir Military Limited Edition PAM 587
Panerai Radiomir Military Limited Edition PAM 587
$7,950
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
356
US
IWC Big Pilot's Watch Top Gun Miramar Grey Ceramic/Textile 48mm
IWC Big Pilot's Watch Top Gun Miramar Grey Ceramic/Textile 48mm
$11,499
Free shipping
Seller
WatchShopping.com Inc.
416
US
Zenith Pilot
Zenith Pilot
$3,200
Free shipping
Seller
AB Time Inc.
159
US
Panerai Radiomir  1940 PAM00587 Very Good Condition Mens Watch
Panerai Radiomir 1940 PAM00587 Very Good Condition Mens Watch
$7,850
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
189
US
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 Tourbillon...
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 Tourbillon...
$52,195
Seller
Gemnation
402
US
IWC IW388002 Pilot Chrono Top Gun Miramar, Green Dial Ceramic
IWC IW388002 Pilot Chrono Top Gun Miramar, Green Dial Ceramic
$9,185
Free shipping
Seller
Master Luxury USA
66
US
IWC Pilot Collection Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
IWC Pilot Collection Pilot Chronograph Top Gun Miramar
$8,975
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
178
US
Panerai PAM 339 Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Day Giorni Brevetta...
Panerai PAM 339 Radiomir Marina Militare 8 Day Giorni Brevetta...
$8,995
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
55
US
Breitling Chronospace Military M78366 Watch with Canvas...
Breitling Chronospace Military M78366 Watch with Canvas...
$2,750
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
158
US
Panerai Luminor 1950 Marina Militare Destro PAM 217
Panerai Luminor 1950 Marina Militare Destro PAM 217
$13,950
Free shipping
Seller
WatchBox
356
US
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
Panerai Radiomir Marina Militare PAM 339 M Special Editions
$12,900
Seller
Kronopassion
31
US
Panerai PAM587 MILITARE MARINA Special Editions
TOP
Panerai PAM587 MILITARE MARINA Special Editions
$6,970
Seller
Sky Diamond
63
US
IWC Pilots Chronograph Automatic  IW388002 Very Good Condition...
IWC Pilots Chronograph Automatic IW388002 Very Good Condition...
$6,850
Free shipping
Seller
Interwatches
189
US
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 Annual Calendar...
Zenith Pilot Montre d Aeronef Zenith Type 20 Annual Calendar...
$14,381
Seller
Gemnation
402
US
Alpina Startimer Pilot
Alpina Startimer Pilot
$886
Seller
Private Seller
CA
Tutima FX UTC Germany Chronograph GMT
Tutima FX UTC Germany Chronograph GMT
$2,450
Seller
Element iN Time NYC
178
US
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
Panerai PAM 217 Destro Marina Militare Special Ed 47 mm
$13,995
Seller
Watches 24 Seven, LLC
55
US
Breitling Chronospace Military M78366 Watch with Canvas...
Breitling Chronospace Military M78366 Watch with Canvas...
$2,750
Free shipping
Seller
Crown & Caliber
158
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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