Japanese WW2 Military Timepieces

Japanese WW2 Military Timepieces

IT IS difficult for a European collector to deal with a topic such as this. First, there is a dearth of historical artefacts and collector’s pieces in Europe relating to this era. Second, the Japanese script, and the country’s cultural background, is so different to that of Europe.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to explain how the Japanese Army and Navy acquired and distributed the timepieces in question, as Japanese air power was just a component of the Army and Navy. It is also not possible to properly outline the origins of these watches in this article. For example, it is difficult to know just how much they were copied from Swiss models. From 1920s onwards, Japan was working to develop navigational timepieces of its own. However all prototypes were destroyed by fire as this process was still ongoing. This meant that the model built along the lines of Ulysse Nardin’s chronometer became the most important and predominant model to be used by the Japanese.

It has long been recognized that timekeeping plays an important role in both military and civilian life. Countries such as England, America, Germany and Japan had their own military timepieces, all … Continue reading...

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All about military watches

Military wristwatches are believed to have received their name from a German military request for a soldier in a watch house, otherwise known as a guard tower. One story tells that the military wristwatches came into use when a German naval officer needed to know the time but could not pull out a pocket watch since both his hands were busy operating the machine. Another story is that Wilhelm I placed an order at a Berlin trade show. These new wrist watches saw their first action in the Boer War. Later seen in World War I, rudimentary wrist watches were small sized pocket watches with metal lugs soldered on so that a fabric strap could hold the watch to a wrist. Some had no cover over the watch crystal, while others had a metal cover, some of these had pieces of the cover cut, so that the watch could be seen without opening the cover.

Why were most watches produced during WWII, including the A-11, smaller than most eras? It was the fact that materials were limited. Iron, Steel, Aluminum, Copper, Rubber, Brass, Oils and other strategic metals, compounds and supplies were scarce. This included Europe, Asia and South … Continue reading...

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A History of USA Military Wristwatches WW2

To the World War II vet this may be a Hamilton, to the Vietnam vet it’s a plastic Benrus, and to the soldiers in the sandbox it’s anything from a Marathon to a Casio G-Shock. While many of the pieces are military specified, others are commercial watches favored by fighting men and women. What is a military specified timepiece? Essentially it’s a United States Defense standard, often called a military standard and abbreviated MIL-STD, MIL-SPEC or (informally) MilSpecs. These are used to help achieve standardization objectives by the U.S. Department of Defense. Standardization helps ensure that products meet certain requirements, commonality, reliability, total cost of ownership and compatibility with logistics systems. The military has been “specifying” equipment standards for well over a century. Virtually any company can make a product that conforms to published military specifications; however, there’s a difference between military spec and military issued. A military issued product is one that has been selected and awarded a contract for manufacture by the Department of Defense and becomes a line item on a government budget. Many commercially available watches conform to MIL-SPEC and may even appear in combat, but were never procured by the government. With MIL-PRF (Military Performance … Continue reading...

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