Military-inspired watches are a hot commodity these days, and brands are recreating and reimagining a range of historic government-issue timepieces. It’s easy to see why: These watches have utilitarian good looks and a battle-tested reputation for being durable and tough. But Marathon has been at it longer than most. The company first began supplying the Allies with timepieces way back in 1941, and the brand’s new U.S. Army Collection dives into that history with four new, limited-edition U.S. Army Field and Officer’s watches.
The four watches in the collection are now available for pre-order, and you’ll want to get your name on the list quickly because Marathon will release just 100 examples of each model. All of the watches feature simple, utilitarian styling (along with a U.S. Army logo stamped proudly on the dial). Both the Field and Officer’s models are available with quartz or mechanical movements. And while they’re not the best choice for swimming (the Field watches have just 30 meters of water resistance; the Officer’s watches get bumped up to 50 meters), they’re durable and easy to use. The dials are capped with tough sapphire crystal and come with bright white numerals and 24-hour time markers inset in yellow. The hands and hour indices also feature tritium tubes, an active source of light that doesn’t need exposure to the sun in order to work and won’t degrade your night vision—a key requirement for military operations.
Aside from those basics, there are some key variations across the lineup. The two Field watches have compact 34mm cases made from sage green composite, a durable, lightweight material, paired with stainless steel case backs. The Officer’s watches are a step up in size and heft; they’re made with full stainless steel cases that measure 39mm in diameter. In addition, the Officer’s watch has a particular historical precedent: It draws on the design of the Marathon GG-W-113 field watch, which entered service in the mid-70s and was used by U.S. Department of Defense personnel.
Movement-wise, you have some choices to make. You can option your Field or Officer’s watch with a quartz ETA FØ6 movement, which powers a date window on the dial and has a 68-month battery life, according to Marathon. If you’d prefer mechanical power, the mechanical Field Watch features Marathon’s Dual Winding Movement, which can be wound manually but also features an automatic self-winding rotor for improved reliability. The mechanical Officer’s Watch comes equipped with an ETA 2801 movement. It’s manual-wound, includes an Incabloc shock absorber for better accuracy in rough conditions, and offers 42 hours of run time when fully wound. Bottom line: Each of these watches draws on Marathon’s military pedigree, which makes them capable picks for everyday wear.
GI aesthetics and military-approved performance? You have to salute that.
[Starting at $330; marathonwatch.com]