Q: What defines a military watch?
A: This is a fairly difficult question to answer. Many watch manufacturers such as G-Shock are not actually manufacturing watches specifically for military use but that does not detract from the fact that they are a watch of choice by many serving military and are extremely robust and fit for purpose. Other manufacturers such as Marathon are purely military and SAR orientated. MWC produce watches not just for military use but we have also supplied anti terrorist units, police forces and both exploration and mining companies all of which have requirements that share many requirements with military specification watches.
Q: Are all the watches MWC manufacture currently issued to the military or security forces?
A: The answer to this is no because we produce some watches which are made for film companies, re-enactment groups, cadets and veterans clubs. These watches mostly from the 1960's such as our Vietnam watches and GG-W-113 are recreations (based on the original specifications) of watches which. Other MWC watches have appeared in various films such as The Outlaw with Sean Bean
Q: What are the main factors which affect water resistance?
A: The thickness and material from which the case is made is a big factor in determining whether a watch can safely be worn underwater. The case must be sturdy enough to withstand pressure without caving in. In general, this means a steel or sometimes a titanium case. A screw-in case back, as opposed to one that pushes in, also contributes to a watch's water resistance. A screw-in crown, a feature of many divers' watches, helps prevent water getting into the case through the watch-stem hole. When it is screwed down it forms a water tight seal like the hatch on a submarine. Generally screw crowns are used when the watch is rated at water resistant to 100m/330ft or more.
Q: What is the definition of Water Resistance?
A: The various different levels of water resistance as expressed in meters, atmospheres or feet are only theoretical. They refer to the depth at which a watch will keep out water if both the watch and the water are still. These conditions, of course, are never met in the real world. When you are swimming the movement of the wearer's arm through the water increases the pressure on the watch dramatically; so it can't be worn to the depths indicated by lab testing machines.
Q: What are the industry accepted usage recommendations?
A: The following usage recommendations are accepted by most watch manufacturers.
- Water-resistant to 30 meters (100 feet/3atm). Will withstand splashes of water or light rain but should not be worn while, showing, swimming, sailing or diving.
- Water-tested to 50 meters (165 feet/5atm). Suitable for swimming in shallow water such as crossing rivers and in a pool.
- Water-tested to 100 meters (330 feet/10atm). Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
- Water-tested to 150 meters (500 feet/15atm). Suitable for snorkeling.
- Water-tested to 200 meters (660 feet/20atm). Suitable for sports diving.
- Pro Diver's 150 meters (500 feet/15atm). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for scuba diving.
- Pro Diver's 200 meters (660 feet/20atm). Meets ISO standards and is suitable for professional scuba diving.
Please note that we do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as screw-lock or screw-in crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters. Many military watches which are rated at 50m/150ft such as the MWC G10 with battery hatch are fine - please be cautiousl with the G10A range which are the basic G10 models because they are only rated to 30m or 99ft.
Q: How do I Care for a Water Resistant Watch
A: It is not generally recommended to wear your water resistant watch in a hot shower, sauna or bath although many MWC staff have always ignored this and got away with it - so far! The fact remains though that it is not recommended and is at your own risk if you do it because the extreme heat causes the metal parts to expand at a different rate than the rubber gaskets. This creates small openings that can allow small traces of water to penetrate the watch. Sudden temperature changes are especially harsh if you lie in the sun and dive into cold water.
Q: Do I have to do anything to care for the watch after I have been in the sea?
A: After swimming or diving in salt water, immediately rinse the watch in a stream of fresh water. If your watch has a rotating bezel, turn the bezel several times while rinsing it. This will prevent salt build up and corrosion of the bezel ring.
Q: I work with chemicals is that a problem?
A: Some chemicals can corrode the gaskets and make them vulnerable. Heavily chlorinated water can also cause problems, as can chlorine bleach, bath foams and hairsprays that work their way into the watch's seams and damage the gaskets. (They can also damage the watch's finish although this is rare with military spec watches.
Q: What type of strap is OK in water?
A: Although fairly rare on Military Watches leather straps can be made to be water resistant too. Generally however, leather straps are easily damaged by frequent exposure to water and also start to smell. So if you are going to wear your watch while swimming -- think of buying one with a metal bracelet, a carbon fibre, Kevlar or a rubber strap, Nylon NATO straps are ideal too. We have a number of strap options on the site
Q: How accurate can I expect my watch to be?
A: When it comes to accuracy there is one very important fact you need to know in advance. A $42 MWC Vietnam watch will keep time just as well as, and possibly better than, a top of the range MWC, CWC or Marathon mechanical or possibly even a $20,000 solid gold mechanical Omega, Rolex, or other high end watch.
If that last statement surprised you, read the rest of this section carefully.
All watches tend to gain or lose a few seconds over a period of time. These are small mechanical or electro-mechanical devices that are counting out 86,400 seconds per day. Even if a watch is 99.9% accurate, it will still be off by a minute and a half in only 24 hours! So even a mediocre wristwatch has to be well over 99.9% accurate to even begin to be useful on an ongoing basis.
Q: So, what is a reasonable expectation of accuracy from a wristwatch?
A: A a guide a modern mechanical watch could vary between +/- 15 seconds a day at worst and +/- 2 or 3 seconds a day at best and both figures are generally within tolerance depending on the type of watch and age. For example an automatic watch is usually more accurate than a handwound mechanical but quartz watches are better than any mechanical watch by a large margin. As a rule a quartz watch could be as accurate as +/- 0.01 although +/- 2 seconds a days is within the acceptable limits of most manufacturers.
Q: So why would anyone want a less accurate watch?
A: The short answer is that pretty much any modern wristwatch from a reputable brand is more than accurate enough for normal use. So some people (myself included) prefer older mechanical watch technologies over the small accuracy advantages of quartz watches. In the 1970s everything was heading towards quartz watches but by the 1990s handwound and automatic mechanicals were once again firmly establishing themselves in the mid ranges and high end market.
Q: Are quartz watches always more accurate than mechanical ones?
A: Yes, typically they are, but not always. Accuracy and precision are not exactly the same thing.
It is important to remember that even when a mechanical watch is allowed to vary +6/-4 seconds per day, that does not mean it will consistently vary by that high an amount each day. Mechanical movements--except the very rare 'turbillon' movements that correct for it--are noticably affected by the gravitational pull of the Earth. It only takes a performance distortion of 1/1000th of a percent for a watch movement to be one second less accurate in a day. This causes the performance of mechanical movements to be somewhat different from day to day when not stored in a fixed position. The good news is that the actual variations of a mechanical watch will often cancel each other out. This means a mechanical watch will tend to be more accurate over a longer period than the single-day COSC measurement may imply.
The day-to-day performance of quartz is much more consistent than mechanical under identical conditions. Quartz performance is affected mainly by temperature changes and weakened batteries. So a quartz watch that you measured to gains 0.5 second yesterday will be consistently increasingly off correct time by about that amount. You can be pretty certain that in 60 days, it will be about 30 seconds off. At the end of a year, it would be likely be over 180 seconds off.
Compare that to a mechanical watch that you measured to gain 2 seconds yesterday. It would seem that our example quartz watch is 4 times more accurate than this. But while the daily measured daily variations seem much higher, they are not likely to be as consistent, so will have a dampening effect. You cannot accurately predict that this mechanical would therefore be off by 120 seconds at the end of the same 60 days. It might be right on time, or it may be 200 seconds off. That broader range of variations allows most mechanical watches to stay closer to correct time than the daily variation rate implies. Over a year, some mechanicals can on average stay closer to correct time without having to be reset than a quartz watch might where others always tend to gain roughly the same amount each day.
Q: How do I wind a mechanical Watch?
A: Before you do anything, make sure it's really a mechanical. If it says Quartz, Eco-Drive, Automatic or Kinetic on the dial somewhere, it's not a manual wind. If your Quartz watch has stopped, you can get it running by replacing the battery at your local jeweler or mall watch shop. Most military watches are Quartz even though they may not say so on the dial. The best way to tell is to look for a battery hatch on the back, or, if it's running, watch for the second hand to jump between each second. Mechanical movements usually have a smoother transition from second to second with a few transitional movements in between. If you're sure it's a mechanical watch, and it needs winding, follow these steps.
1: Check to see if it has a screw-down crown, if it does unscrew it to ready it for winding. If, when you start to wind the crown, it starts to screw itself back in, you may need to gently pull the crown out one stop.
If you have a normal crown, i.e., non-screw-down, you can just wind it without any preliminaries.
2: Wind the watch by turning the crown clockwise a number of complete revolutions. With the watch face-up in your left hand, pinch the crown between your right forefinger and thumb and rotate the crown clockwise. "Clockwise" means rotating it away from you. Wind slowly and consistently. Wind the crown as far as you can in each turn and then release it and start again.
3: Wind it this way until you start to feel some increased resistance. Be patient. For a completely unwound mainspring, this can take from 20 to more than 40 or 50 revolutions.
4: After you feel resistance stop winding. NB: Some watch experts suggest that you wind the crown backwards (counterclockwise) five or six turns. This may help re-distribute some lubricant, and, in the case of some early or special models, it may relieve some strain on the watch's inner workings. In any case, doing this "back-winding" won't harm your watch.
Many people prefer to wind a watch using a rocking motion, i.e., alternating rotating the crown clockwise and then counter-clockwise. You can wind the watch in this way without having to remove your fingers from the crown. This has exactly the same effect on winding the mainspring as the clockwise-only approach, and it has the added benefit of putting a little back-wind into each cycle.
If you have a manual wind watch, try to wind it at the same time every day. Winding it in the morning is best because you will have consistent power throughout the day. This may also contribute to more accurate timekeeping.
When the watch is fully wound you will feel resistance as the mainspring tightens. That's enough winding. Don't try and force it any further. You could damage both the mainspring and components in the escapement and damage of this type is not covered by the guarantee.
NB: When winding a manual wind watch, it is advisable to take off the watch. If you keep the watch on while you wind it, you may put unnecessary strain on the winding stem at all points but particularly where the stem attaches to the winding crown.
What about Automatics? Some self-winding mechanical watches (also known as "automatics") can also be wound manually. Check your documentation to see if your watch can be hand wound. If it can, you may want to wind it, at least several revolutions, each day to insure an adequate power reserve, or, if its power reserve has run out and the watch has stopped, you can wind it to give it a jump start.
Q: What is PVD?
A: PVD plating is a method that can be used to change the surface properties of a material . The full name is Physical Vapor Deposition - you'll also see it referred to as Ion Plating, or IP, which is a variant on PVD. The PVD process requires placing the item to be coated in an inert (non-reactive) atmosphere, heating it up to around 400° C and effectively fine spraying it with the molecules that you want to coat it with hence the reference to vapour. PVD results in a coating up to a micron or so thick but although it is quite thin it won't flake off because the coating is interpenetrated with the underlying material to which it is bonded and this is what makes it so different from cheaper paint, powder coats, or anodizing.
SECOND HAND ALIGNMENT
Q: Is it a fault if the second hand of a quartz watch does not fall exactly on the markers?
A: Our service department sometimes receive inquiries from customers saying that the second hand on their watch does not quite line up with the markers around the outside of the dial of the watch. He said that this is almost always within manufacturing tolerances, and occurs on almost all watch brands to a certain degree. A slight inaccuracy of the hand alignment is always possible, but he does not deem this to mean that the watch is faulty or has a manufacturing defect.
The reason he said this occurs is because the parts which move the hands of the watch are all controlled by mechanical parts, e.g. springs and gears. The stopping point of these components vary slightly after the manufacturing process due to the 'breaking in' process. This does not mean that a watch will become more misaligned over time, it just means that it is impossible to predict with perfect accuracy whether a second hand will line up perfectly after it has been manufactured.
He agreed it is annoying to some clients and that it is quite easy to stress over the most minor of inaccuracies - however he said buyer can be assured that minor hand misalignment is absolutely normal and is even evident in other high-end Swiss brands.
For further information see these URL’s
Q: What does the MWC warranty cover?
A: Our warranty covers any and all parts of the watch that may need repair due to defects in materials or workmanship under normal use. The Military Watch Companies obligations are limited to repair or replacement at its option. The warranty excludes the battery, strap, minor damage to packaging such as the box or tin because these items are to protect the watch in transit. The warranty also excludes excessive wear or damage to the case or crystal.
Q: My watch failed within the first year after I bought it, will I have to pay for repairs?
A: In most cases, problems with your watch in the first year will be covered by the terms of MWC’s warranty. You will not have to pay for repairs to your watch that are covered by the warranty. There is, however, a $8.00 charge to cover return postage and packaging.
Q: Can you explain your repair or replace policy for warranty service?
A: MWC may repair your watch by installing new or reconditioned and inspected components or replace your watch with an identical or similar model.
Q: My watch needs repair. Should I remove the strap before sending?
A: Your watch may be replaced with a similar model. If you have customized the strap or affixed a different type of strap, you may want to remove it before sending.
Q: My watch is sentimental, should I send it for repair?
A: Never send sentimental or engraved items for repair without contacting us because your watch could be replaced and the original may not be returned to you.
All MWC watches are covered by an international 1 year warranty. Please note certain restrictions apply. If watches that are opened by unauthorized repair centers warranties will not be honored. Watches are NOT covered by the warranty if they suffer failure due to Misuse, Neglect, Careless handling or Accidental damage.
Warranties are not transferable. You Must Purchase your watch from an AUTHORIZED dealer for full warranty coverage to apply. Please file a ticket at http://support.mwc.eu/ to enquire about a specific Reseller if the watch was supplied without a warranty card or you have concerns that the item might not be genuine.
MWC wishes to thank Michael Banks and Ian Crowley for assisting with some of this information