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Always"watching"

Who Can Wear What? Watch Choice in the Military

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Anyone with even a slight interest in the history of watches will be aware of the close relationship between military watches from all services and civilian watch designs. One question that has always puzzled me is how free military personnel were, and are, to wear watches of their own choosing. When there are official military watch issues, are the relevant servicemen ordered to wear the issued watches or can they go for something different or better, chosen and paid for by themselves?

The huge degree of crossover between specifically military watches and civilian watches of near identical form and specifications blurs the picture, and what about non-military uniformed services such as airlines, police and fire brigades? I also wonder whether rank has something to do with freedom of watch choice in the military, with senior officers being perhaps relatively free from restrictions.

I would be most interested to hear from members on this subject, either in historic terms or current military practise.

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1 minute ago, Always"watching" said:

 

I would be most interested to hear from members on this subject, either in historic terms or current military practise.

A couple of friends of mine who saw active service in Iraq/Afghanistan wore their own G Shocks.

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@Always"watching" a retired RAF pilot that used to live near me still wore his last issued watch which was a gen1 Seiko like this, from memory around the mid 1980's.

DSC04609-1.jpg

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I’m still a serving soldier and have worn my Citizen throughout Iraq and Afghanistan. But 90% if my mates wear either G Shock or Suunto gps things. (I still prefer a compass!)

43562084312_f77833446f_b.jpg

oh and our RSM wears an old Tag F1!

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Yes as an officer, we can wear our own. Agree with @Teg62x lots of G shocks out there. Mind you, I've just done a stint at Sandhurst and most people, male and female (myself included) were sporting a trusty Casio F91-W. 

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Been in the RAF for 28 years and everyone is free to wear whatever they want. You want to wear a bright green Patek to service an aircraft? Feel free! In general though, most engineers will wear cheap digitals (the F91W is especially popular) or G-shocks. Nobody apart from aircrew get an issued watch (currently a Pulsar chrono) but any truly discerning pilot wouldn't be seen dead wearing a Pulsar. Breitling Aerospaces have been the model of choice for many years. Bremont are also seem to be a popular choice nowadays.

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When I was working in flight test, it was mandatory that you wore an approved watch, for safety reasons (or at least, that's what I was told).  I tock to wearing my Seiko 7A28-7120 when working, and got to keep it as it was written off when I stopped flying.  In my case I could have worn any aviation watch approved to 80,000ft, but would have had to put a NATO strap on any personal watch simply because no ordinary strap or bracelet would fit over the top of  a goon bag (a fair bit of my trials flying was done over the sea).  I saw people wearing all sort of personal watches over the years, and suspect that it was only those of us who got to fly in aircraft where the cockpit altitude could get pretty high if the pressurisation failed that were warned about needing something with a high altitude rating.

TBH, I always though the altitude rating thing was a bit of fake science, as the force on the watch crystal and back from an explosive decompression at, say, 45,000 to 50,000ft (as high as we went most of the time, although I remember one trip where we topped 60,000ft) wouldn't have been enough to cause the crystal to pop out, or the back to distort, I'm sure.  I reckon some jobsworth just put the "must be rated to 80,000ft" thing there because that happened to be in the original spec for the issue watches.

Mine lives on a leather Bundeswehr strap now, as after well over 20 years of wearing this watch every day on a NATO strap I'm just glad to be able to have something more comfortable on my wrist I did have it serviced and a new crystal fitted recently, which is why it looks reasonably clean for a 1984 issue watch!).

Seiko_7_A28-7120.jpg

 

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My son wore this throughout Op Telic 1 Iraq in 2003, I seem to recall it was a Lorus but not 100% sure, at other times he has worn G-Shock and Pro Trek and one of Timefactor's Broadarrow CWC RN diver lookalike

 

 

Iraq1.JPG

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This may not be of interest to you particularly, but I have done research in the past about watches in the Polish military (I am originally from Poland).

Currently in Poland in the Land Army there is no specific watch which is provided as far as I have been able to establish. However, it is possible for soldiers to wear their own gear and the choice of most seems to be the Casio G-Shock (all Polish Army Commando units carry G-Shocks due to durability and having numerous functions). There are also a few very specialist watch manufacturers in Poland who only produce very small quantities of particular watches for particular army units.

The Polish Air Force has a long established tradition of supplying all pilots with watches and this has been going on since the 1920s/30s. Currently every pilot is issued with a Longines Conquest Chronograph (there is a particular reference number of the model they use but I forgot what it was, I have it written down somewhere). 

Before that from the end of World War II all the way to the mid-90s the Polish Air Force used exclusively Soviet made chronographs, mainly Poljot

I also did research further back if anyone is interested :tongue:

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20 hours ago, Always"watching" said:

Anyone with even a slight interest in the history of watches will be aware of the close relationship between military watches from all services and civilian watch designs. One question that has always puzzled me is how free military personnel were, and are, to wear watches of their own choosing. When there are official military watch issues, are the relevant servicemen ordered to wear the issued watches or can they go for something different or better, chosen and paid for by themselves?

The huge degree of crossover between specifically military watches and civilian watches of near identical form and specifications blurs the picture, and what about non-military uniformed services such as airlines, police and fire brigades? I also wonder whether rank has something to do with freedom of watch choice in the military, with senior officers being perhaps relatively free from restrictions.

I would be most interested to hear from members on this subject, either in historic terms or current military practise.

    an issued watch is accepted by military research and should be listed and stamped.    and in the safe for special occasions like crawling into enemy territory,  vin

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On 06/08/2018 at 18:54, spanner74 said:

Yes as an officer, we can wear our own. Agree with @Teg62x lots of G shocks out there. Mind you, I've just done a stint at Sandhurst and most people, male and female (myself included) were sporting a trusty Casio F91-W

Leaked files reportedly reveal a certain Casio watch was viewed with suspicion by US officials as a possible sign of terrorist links. So how did the humble F-91W find itself in such a position?

They retail for as little as £7 ($12), are water resistant and have a battery life of approximately seven years. Just three things that have helped make the Casio F-91W a global bestseller.

Now this unassuming, black, plastic, digital timepiece has found itself in the news for a different reason. Leaked US documents reportedly advised interrogators at Guantanamo Bay that possession of the F-91W could be a link to bombing by al-Qaeda.

The Guardian, which obtained the leaked files, reports that wearing one has been a contributing factor to the continued detention of some prisoners, with more than 50 detainee reports referring to the watch.

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In a topic I wrote in connection with Timex anecdotes, one of the items I covered was the wearing of a Timex digital watch by Osama bin Laden. Apparently, images reveal that he wore a Timex digital at various times. However, this was evidently not the only watch he wore since there is photographic evidence showing him wearing a cheap black Casio digital watch.

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On 13/08/2018 at 11:46, Always"watching" said:

In a topic I wrote in connection with Timex anecdotes, one of the items I covered was the wearing of a Timex digital watch by Osama bin Laden. Apparently, images reveal that he wore a Timex digital at various times. However, this was evidently not the only watch he wore since there is photographic evidence showing him wearing a cheap black Casio digital watch.

An F-91W ?  :)

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11 minutes ago, Always"watching" said:

Yes, @Paulhodson, I do believe it was that model - an absolute classic and a model that every watch collector should have in their collection.:biggrin:

Unless visiting the glorious US of A perhaps...

:)

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I reckon that if the US tried to round up everyone who owns, or has bought, a Casio F-91W, they would need a state the size of Alaska to house them prior to interrogation.:)

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On ‎06‎/‎08‎/‎2018 at 09:44, Always"watching" said:

Anyone with even a slight interest in the history of watches will be aware of the close relationship between military watches from all services and civilian watch designs. One question that has always puzzled me is how free military personnel were, and are, to wear watches of their own choosing. When there are official military watch issues, are the relevant servicemen ordered to wear the issued watches or can they go for something different or better, chosen and paid for by themselves?

The huge degree of crossover between specifically military watches and civilian watches of near identical form and specifications blurs the picture, and what about non-military uniformed services such as airlines, police and fire brigades? I also wonder whether rank has something to do with freedom of watch choice in the military, with senior officers being perhaps relatively free from restrictions.

I would be most interested to hear from members on this subject, either in historic terms or current military practise.

    an issued watch is accepted by military research and should be listed and stamped.    and in the safe for special occasions like crawling into enemy territory,  vin  P.S.   vintage military watches,  pocket and wrist, in the U.S.A. would be a complete different story, but you would not be interested.   vin

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I bet not many Red Arrows pilots wear a Citizen ‘Red Arrow’ Skyhawk or many Royal Marine commando’s wear a super tough Citizen Commando… Actually, on that note; what do special forces soldiers wear I wonder? I’m guessing nothing with a super bright lume or anything that beeps or bleeps if creeping about in the dark or concealing themselves from people.

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Aloha,

I am a Vietnam U.S. Navy VET and we wore just about anything that could keep good time and was 

Monsoon Safe. The basic Issue watch was just trash to have around for use. Many Special Forces wore 

Seiko Watch's like the famed .... Seiko 6119-8100 MACV-SOG and others. 

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Excerpt from AR 670-1 (US Army Regulation) Wear and Appearance of Army Uniforms and Insignia-

3–4. Jewelry Note: This paragraph is punitive with regard to Soldiers. Violation by Soldiers may result in adverse administrative action and/or charges under the provisions of the UCMJ. a. Soldiers may wear a wristwatch, a wrist identification bracelet, and a total of two rings (a wedding set is considered one ring) with Army uniforms, unless prohibited by the commander for safety or health reasons. Any jewelry worn by Soldiers while in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty, must be conservative. Identification bracelets are limited to the following: medical alert bracelets, missing in action, prisoner of war, or killed in action (black or silver in color only) bracelets. Soldiers are only authorized to wear one item on each wrist while in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty.

b. No jewelry, other than that described in paragraph 3–4a or 3–4d, below, can appear exposed while in uniform, or in civilian clothes on duty. Pens and/or pencils worn in the pen/pencil slots on the combat uniform coat may be exposed. There are no stipulations on the colors of pens and/or pencils worn in the slots on the combat uniform coat while wearing the uniform. Watch chains or similar items cannot appear exposed. The only other authorized exceptions are religious items described in DA Pam 670–1 and AR 600–20; a conservative tie tack or tie clasp that male Soldiers may wear with necktie; and a pen or pencil that may appear exposed on the hospital duty, food service, combat vehicle crewman, or flight uniforms.

In a nutshell, you can wear whatever you want (within reason). The only time(s) I did not wear a watch was during parades (everyone the same), and performing maintenance. I wore mainly mechanical pieces, the OW M65, was my watch of choice, later it was the OW3241. The G-Shock was hands down the most popular watch in the infantry line companies. When I moved over to aviation, the G-Shock was popular with the mechanics, while pilots would tend to wear pricier mechanicals (1980s you could get a submariner in a pawn shop for less than 1000 USD).

I was in from 1984 - 2015, and it appears G-Shock is still very popular.

That's my 2 cents....and my M67.

45856743111_51623f1a13_c.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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During my Service in the RCAF, we had no restrictions. I wore my Accutron Deep Sea for 40 years. The popular watches with many of my colleagues were the Seikos. Every time we went to Hong Kong they would load-up on watches. Cheap as chips as some of you say. I would get custom fitted shirts. Go to the tailor in the morning at the market, have a glass of hootch with the owner and your shirts were delivered at the hotel by supper time.

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