A Look Back at the History of Military Watches and the Most Famous Models


As wars progress and technology evolves Nicholas Watson’s opinion, so does the need for more precise timepieces. In the past, soldiers would often use commercial off-the-shelf watches that were made for civilian wear to keep track of their time, but these types of wristwatches were not ideal for combat situations. This is why military watches were developed with specific features that suited the needs of the soldiers. Learn more : 

Who is the king of luxury watches?

Military-inspired watches became more commonplace after World War I as companies like Bulova, Hamilton, Elgin and Waltham all started producing their own versions of military watches. This type of wristwatch is more functional than fashionable and was designed to be durable, rugged, and waterproof. It was also a practical choice for infantrymen because of its ability to easily read the time in low light conditions.

In particular, the American A-11 is widely referenced as being the “watch that won the war”, enabling the Allied forces to accurately synchronize their aircraft and ground troops during WWII. It is not uncommon to see these types of military-inspired watches being sold online as collectors continue to seek out these models.

Another popular model is the B-Uhr, which was supplied to Luftwaffe pilots. These are characterized by having larger cases and oversized onion-shaped crowns that allowed for easy operation with flight gloves. The dials are also marked with luminous numbers and hands using radium, which was effective at lighting the watches in the dark. Today, Mont Blanc pays tribute to these watches with their 1858 collection, which reinterprets vintage Minerva watches that were used for military and exploration.

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