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From Bell & Ross to Timex: The Heritage Military Watch

By:

Guides | 10.26.2011

There have been a slew of vintage military style watches hitting the market recently, featuring a black face, beige symbols and a tan or brown leather band.  It’s a compelling look that harkens to a timeless 1940’s military aesthetic, and it seems like everyone’s getting in on the action.  Here’s a roundup of a few of these watches at various price points that you can pick up (or just admire from afar) today.

Bell & Ross was one of the first, if not the first company to introduce the vintage military look into their lineup with the BR Heritage series.  Originally introduced in Spring 2009 with the BR 01-92 Heritage, the line now features several wathes, including the most recently released BR 123 and 126 Heritage.  These watches are obviously well outside of the price range for watches that we usually discuss on worn&wound (from approximately $3,000 to over $4,500), but with the Haritage line, Bell & Ross really set the trend for the vintage military look we’re seeing everywhere.  Each features a matte PVD black case, Swiss automatic movement, the ever so popular, black and beige color scheme.

Next up is the considerably more affordable, and equally (if not more) attractive new Nav-B Chrono II Black DLC by Steinhart.  Taking their outstanding Nav B. Chrono II design and adding a bit of vintage flavor, this new piece from Steinhart nails the vintage or heritage military aesthetic.  It features a simple and elegant chrono layout, black DLC, or diamond-like carbon finish and a Valjoux 7750 movement with day and date function.   As with so many of Sreinhart’s pieces, this watch offers outstanding style and quality at the affordable price of just $1,000.

Lüm-Tec is a watch company we’ve discussed several times on worn&wound, and they have recently released the M47, a military heritage take on their M Chronograph line.  Zach reviewed the M33 a few months back, so for a more in depth on how this watch functions and wears, you can check that out.  Like the M33, the M47 features a Miyota OS20 Quartz Chronograph with date and 24hr dial and Lüm-Tec’s MDV (Maximum Darkness Visibility) luminescent technology.  This vintage take on Lüm-Tec’s very contemporary watch line is available from their website for $515.

A watch we recently reviewed on worn&wound and which also follows the military heritage aesthetic is the Christopher Ward C8 Pilot Mk II – Vintage Edition.  I’m a huge fan of this watch.  It offers superb build quality, refined design and an incredibly comfortable feel.  Its a slight departure from the rest of the watches on this list as it features a matte stainless steel case, rather than black PVD or ion coating.  This gives it a slightly more versatile, less sporty look.  The C8 is powered by a Sellita SW200 automatic movement and features a large sweeping second hand and date function.  It can be yours fur $500 now from Christopher Ward’s website.

Lastly, there is Timex’s take on the heritage military look, the T2N700DH Intelligent Quartz T Series.   This is by far the most affordable option on our short list, but don’t let the $165 price tag fool you, it may also be the most unique.  The T2N700DH features Timex’s fly-back quartz chronograph movement, which utilizes two large second hands, one active and one for the chrono, and two retrograde sub-dials, one 10-minute and one 24-hour.   It’s a lot to try to visualize, so here’s a brief video by Timex with an animated explanation.  The T2N700DH has the same great black and tan color combination of the other watches on our list, and is available from Amazon.com for $165.

It’s my guess that we’ll be seeing a few other watch companies come out with their own take on the heritage military look.  Are there any brands that you’d like to see take a stab at it?  If so, leave a comment below.  While you’re at it, feel free to let me know if there are any watches that were left off my list.

 

 

  • alex

    Blake, great round up. That black and tan look is really awesome. I think the Timex looks pretty cool and is a neat departure from some of the others, but I can’t really get on board with it because (as someone else pointed out) the numbering on the lower right dial is off! Take a look. It goes – 1, 3, 6, 8, 9.

  • Si

    Been following your site for a little while now, love your selection of “vintage” watches with black dials and beige elements.

    Really like the Steinhart but can’t swing the $1,000 price tag yet.

    Would love the Christopher Ward but would really prefer a fully open exhibition back :S

    Any suggestions in the same style with an automatic movement and exposed back?

    • Blake

      Hey Si. Thanks for reading and for the kind words. Steinhart makes a number of really nice pilot watches at a very affordable price point. While they don’t have a black PVD with vintage dial, they do offer two vintage pilots with steel cases, and a PVD model with while markers on the dial. They also have a rose gold model that is gorgeous. Take a look at their pilot line, you may find something you like. Some come with open case backs, while others are closed, but I hear that you can contact Steinhart and request a display window. Let us know how it goes.

  • Si

    Hey Blake, thanks for the prompt reply :)

    Yes, I’ve noticed the Pilot line and those are definitely closer to my price range (about the same as the Christopher Ward)

    The ones with open case backs are hand wind though… not sure if I want to get into that yet but the prices are more attractive than their ETA 2824-2 automatic siblings.

    It would be great if they really offer exposed backs for their Nav.B-Uhr vintage models. Will have to get in touch with them to see.

  • http://URL Den Lim

    It’s been a year since the article. Any new options we should be looking into?

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