Military Watch History
Military Watch History
We are surrounded by time displays everywhere, from mobile phones, car dashboards, wristwatches and of course clocks.
The clock is the oldest independently working mechanical device. Man has always been fascinated by time, from the earliest sundial to the modern day military watch.
Something as vague as time it self and the ability to be able to measure it gives use continued fascination.
The first wristwatches where worn by ladies only and were considered just extensions of there jewellery. Gentlemen considered the wristwatch to small and prone to damage, compared to their larger solid pocket watches. Men would possibly have continued to use the pocket watch if it wasn’t for the introduction of the men’s military wristwatch.
The first military timepieces were chronometers, which were 22 - 30 hour brass instruments in a wood case. These where used to aid navigation at sea by warships.
In 1879 the German emperor ordered more than 1000 military watches from the watch makers Girad Perrgaux of Switzerland. These military watches were possibly the first military watches to be commissioned in bulk by any army in the world. They were commissioned for the use of the German imperial navvy.
By the turn of the century the British army where at war with the Bores. The Bores where very well entrenched into their positions along the front line and outnumbered the British army. The British army's officers where dressed in their pith helmets and brightly coloured uniforms, they also wore military wristwatches. These early military wristwatches had been adapted from men’s pocket watches by means of two soldered lugs/pins either side of the pocket watch. Two leather straps where fitted to the lugs to enable the military watch to be worn on ones wrist.
These adapted pocket watches allowed the British army to use precision timing along with planned and co-ordinated simultaneous attacks against the Bores, giving the British a distinct advantage.
Civilian gentlemen were still slow two embraces the idea of wearing a wristwatch and still preferred the pocket watch.
By the end of the first world war more soldiers started to wear military watches. Whilst soldiers were on leave they continued to wear there military watches. It became more acceptable and even fashionable for men to be seen with a wrist watch. The watch manufactures were quick to respond to this changing trend. The first men's wristwatches were made up from new watch cases but with ladies watch movements making the early men’s wristwatch very small.
The military continued to commission military watches.
The key feature to the military watch came with the introduction of the hack feature, this allowed military personnel to synchronise their military watches with each other.
Aviation soon realised the importance of an accurate military timepiece.
The first pilots military watch was introduced by IWC (International Watch Company) around 1936. It was a large faced military watch, which had a turning glass bezel and 52 S.C. calibre pocket watch movement.
By 1941 the new army air force commissioned military watches from Elgin and Bulova.
Army’s around the word commissioned there own versions of the Military watch.
The Japanese imperial army commissioned thousands of Seiko military watches for the Japanese imperial army.
After the second would war the jet age in aviation grew rapidly. By the 1950s the Lockheed F-104G was capable of speeds of 1460 mph. With these high speeds the Chronographs timepieces where vital.
A chronograph military watch is a watch that not only tells the time of day but has the ability to record chosen intervals of time.