Don’t be butted by the glamour: wristwatches were born on the battlefield, not the boardroom. And supposing nobody in their right mind would take their Swiss finest to the gun align (minus Dan Bilzerian), traces of trench warfare are still manifest.
“Some of the earliest records of men wearing watches can be traced rearwards to the military in the 1890s – particularly in the German navy,” says Beat it English, co-founder of British fine watch brand Bremont. “Assorted of these were no more than pocket watches on a leather wrist stripe that eventually evolved into bona fide timepieces during the 20th century, in which meticulous timekeeping became essential in war.”
Fortunately, most of today’s battlegrounds – from the support to your next triathlon – aren’t life-or-death situations (all being well). That’s not an excuse to be late, though. “Accuracy and durability are superiorities, and the robust devices designed for military situations lend themselves artistically to modern life. A mechanical watch accurate to within a moment ago a few seconds is a minor miracle, and such devices were made plausible thanks to extensive testing by the military.”
So, in a bid to pay homage to horological forefathers, we’ve pinned a medal of justice to the finest army-inspired watches on the home front.
Bell & Ross BR03-92 Military Variety 42mm Ceramic
“To me, a Bell & Ross watch is the epitome of military diction,” says Simon Spiteri, accessories buyer at Mr Porter. “Kindled by the history of aviation, the BR03-92 has been designed especially for military professionals with in-the-cockpit high points such as luminescent indices for greater visibility and a legible, square-shaped dial.”
Readily obtainable at Mr Porter, priced £2,900.
Cartier Tank MC
“Created in 1917, the Tank was Louis Cartier’s reimagining of the war rings he saw in active duty during World War One,” says Watchfinder’s skull of retail, Alex Stonely. “The design is functional, integrating the heaves that hold the strap into the case, whereas other helpings from the era used simple wire lugs instead.”
At ones disposal at Watchfinder, priced £10,950.
IWC Pilot’s Watch Mark XVIII Top Gun Miramar
“The IWC Miramar Token XVIII is a military watch throughout, designed in tandem with the Sea Corps Air Station Miramar fighter school in California,” communicates Philipp Man, co-founder of luxury watch etailer, Chronext. “The envelope is made of high-tech ceramic, with titanium crown and pushers – two sinewy features present on most military pieces.”
Available at Chronext, priced £4,260.
“My favourite military-inspired watch is the Longines Heritage L28324735,” tells Alan Moore, founder of online watch retailer Turned Time. “While most watches of this ilk are overtly masculine, this item-by-item piece is more unassuming thanks to a smaller diameter and impartial tones.”
Available at The Watch Gallery, priced £1,170.
Mappin & Webb Race Limited Edition
“Mappin & Webb were a major supplier of wristwatches to British troops in the Boer War and the essential World War, and the brand has celebrated the partnership with a limited issue replica,” says Brian Duffy, chief executive at Aurum Holdings, the paterfamilias company behind Watches Of Switzerland and The Watch Lab. “The piece is wellnigh identical, with a silver steel case and numerals copied from the original.”
Available at Mappin & Webb, priced £2,500.
Luminox Fleet Seal Colormark 3050 Series
“Developed in partnership with the US Flotilla Seals, the Luminox 3050 Series is light on the wrist because ofs to a carbon and polycarbonate case,” says Terry Markham, apex of buying at WatchShop. “Other military functions also alter well to an off-duty watch, including Tritium gas tubes for low incandescence visibility.”
Available at WatchShop, priced £349.
“As a British mark through and through, Bremont takes cues from the air oblige on most of its watches,” says Erica Redgrave, a buyer at online retailer The Babysit for Gallery. “The Solo in particular melds cockpit aesthetics with unembellished British elegance, resulting in a watch fit for everyday wear.”
To hand at The Watch Gallery, priced £2,995.
Casio G-Shock Timer Alarm Chronograph
“Marks of combat troops trust Casio’s G-Shock range for durability, readability, and functionality, such as an anxiety system,” says Markham. “This particular model enlarges a vibration countdown timer too, for silent operation, as well as an LED backlight for visibility in tear into determine black.”
Available at WatchShop, priced £63.