Owner’s Review: CWC G10 Quartz

It’s been a week and some change since returning from a whirlwind trip to New York for the Wind Up Watch Fair. After settling in at home, currently located in Southern California, I unpacked and half-heartedly put all of my stuff away, including the pair of watches that ended up tagging along for the trip. Naturally, every single watch in the box had the incorrect time, and due to a combination of a rough flight and some post-landing laziness, none would be corrected in short order. Well, there was one piece, seconds hand continuously pausing then ticking around the dial, and reading exact home time: my CWC G10 Quartz watch.

The G10 has been on my wrist ever since, and even made an appearance as my first ever wrist check on the W&W podcast. In a way, this was all just perfect timing. I think the CWC G10 checks off pretty much everything we, editors and readers alike, look for in a watch on Worn & Wound. It’s practical, has a rich brand history, a bit of provenance and with some patience, can be found for a solid price. I feel that this watch continues to fly under the radar, and for the most part, have to explain what the watch is really about when someone asks what’s on the wrist. Well, let me try my best to put everything together, into one simple, and hopefully digestible read, here in my Owner’s Review for the CWC G10 Quartz.


Owner’s Review: CWC G10 Quartz

Stainless Steel
Quartz ETA-ESA 955.114
Matte Black
Acrylic glass
Water Resistance
Lug Width

A Bit Of Backstory 

Before digging deeper into the G10 Quartz, it’s important to highlight and understand the journey of the CWC brand leading up to the G10. CWC, or Cabot Watch and Clock Co. saw its inception in 1972 by Ray Mellor. Mellor got his start in the watch industry working for Hamilton to set up a retail distribution network in the United Kingdom. He would build on that opportunity and become the managing director for Hamilton UK, as well as spearheading the development of government contracts with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Credit: @sumacwatches

By 1974, Hamilton had been purchased by Société Suisse pour l’Industrie Horlogère (SSIH), now known as the Swatch Group, officially leaving Mellor out of a job, but also an opportunity to start a new venture in continuing to supply the MoD with reliable, field ready watches, and thus CWC was born. The CWC name actually gets its inspiration from the famed explorer John Cabot, an Italian explorer, known for his notable voyage from Bristol to the continent of North America in the late 1400’s.

Between 1972 and 1980, Mellor secured additional contracts under the CWC brand with the MoD and provided the Royal military with the W10, their tonneau shaped field watch and their asymmetric chronograph pilots watch, which would be issued to the RAF, as well as BBC war correspondents. In 1980, CWC would release its newest addition to their lineup of military watches, the CWC G10, with its name derived from the actual G Series ‘Stores & Inventory’ form the soldiers in the Royal military were required to fill out to be issued the watch.

“Watches, wrist, electronic general service” or G10 for short

The CWC G10 is not extra in any capacity; from its dial layout and quartz movement, to the stamped caseback and case design, which is exactly where we’ll begin. The case of my G10 has definitely seen better days, and I like to think that all of the scratches and dings sprinkled throughout the watch add to the character. The stainless steel case doesn’t look brushed and is surely not polished. It most certainly has a matte look to it, so let’s go with ‘matte steel’ and hopefully that’ll stick some day. The case proportions of the G10 are what I tend to gravitate towards in a watch. The G10 spans 36.5 mm across, not including the crown, and 38 mm including the crown. From lug to lug the G10 measures 42.5 mm, stands 10 mm tall including the domed acrylic crystal and accepts an assortment of straps through its 19 mm lug width.

One of the very cool things I appreciate about the G10 are the fixed spring bars, continuing the theme of less is more, as well as form following function. The CWC G10 looks slick on any strap that you put it on. Throw it on a tan leather strap to jazz it up, or a forest green perlon strap to keep it casual, but you know what, the G10 looks its best when it’s strapped on to the wrist with a NATO (sorry Zach Kazan), especially a grey one. A plus.

The dial has turned into a faded black, however in brighter light, it shines a silvery grey. The stark white arabic numerals, anchored by a triangle marking 12 o’clock, make for a neat and legible dial. Beneath the 12 o’clock triangle marker is the encircled CWC insignia, which was changed in 1982, from the plain ‘CWC’, sans circle. And below that, is the encircled ‘T’ marker, which was the British military way to denote that the dial uses luminous material containing tritium. It seems that on this particular G10, the hands have gained more patina, turning into a pale yellow, and the lumed hour plots remaining a phosphorescent tone.

The G10 uses the lumed narrow sword hour and minute hands, as well as the railroad minute track wrapping around the dial with lume-filled plots every five minutes, to tell the time. Unfortunately with the years that have passed, the lume is not as vibrant as it probably once was, but that being said, in the complete darkness surrounding my nightstand, I am still able to make out the time, even with just a days worth of wearing and sun exposure.

At the center, and the heartbeat of this CWC G10, is the Quartz ETA-ESA 955.114. The movement measures 25.6 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm in thickness, which is partly the reason why the G10 is so form-fitting on the wrist. As the movements in each G10 have evolved from 1980, we’ve seen the movements become thinner and more engineered for better timekeeping, and with the ETA-ESA 955.114, we get a quartz controlled stepper motor, 7 jewels and a precise frequency of 32,768 Hz. The battery hatch on this G10 from 1988 has become more svelte, and houses a Renata 371 silver oxide battery.

Always Read The Caseback 

The fun thing about a CWC G10 from around this time frame, is that there’s always something to read on the caseback. At first glance, it may seem that all of these numbers are excessive, but each series of numbers making up the stamped caseback serves a purpose, allowing the watch to be traced in the stocking and maintenance systems, and more importantly, the soldier whom the watch was issued to.

With the help of a previous W&W article called ‘Deciphering the Code’ and some additional research (thank you, internet), this is how the caseback of my CWC G10 breaks down. The broad arrow on the crown side of the case back, funny enough, and maybe on purpose, signifies that the watch is property of the “Crown” or otherwise known as the government in England. The first set of numbers, ‘0552,’ refers to the Service Code, in this case, issued to the Royal Navy, followed by ‘6645’ representing ‘Time Measuring Instrument’ and ‘99’ referring to the UK country code. The second set of numbers, ‘5415317,’ represent the NATO Stock Number. The final set of numbers, ‘26195,’ make up the Issue Number code and the ‘88’ refers to the year of issue.


Putting It All Together

My CWC G10 is minimal, with charm. It’s everything I need it to be, without being auxiliary. It’s the watch that I throw in the dopp kit before any trip, knowing that if there was any reason I needed a watch in a pinch, it’s ready to play the part. And full disclosure, I have only been keeping this watch topside, since it hasn’t been pressure tested, and I just don’t trust the 5 ATM WR and the slight discomfort I get from not having a screw down crown. As I’ve mentioned above, the combined case proportions makes for a perfect fit on my 6.4” inch wrist and if you have enough 18 mm straps laying around, then the G10 can most certainly be a strap monster.

This G10 also connects with me on a personal level since I do call this my birth year watch. During the earlier parts of my very young watch journey, my vision of a birth year watch was a 1988 Rolex GMT Master II, but I immediately realized that the prices that those particular watches were (and are) commanding would be out of reach for me. So I did more research on other potential options and the entire subject overall, and I quickly learned that it would be very difficult to find an exact birth year watch due to varying dates with manufacturing, when the watch arrived at the dealer, and when it was sold. Fast forward to when my search led me to the CWC G10 and that the actual issue year would be stamped on the back of the caseback. The issue date, mixed in with the fact that this watch came from a storied brand, had some legitimate provenance and most importantly, was a perfect fit on the wrist, was enough for me to pull the trigger on one when it finally came across my iPhone screen.

I’ve set my G10 to home time here on the West Coast and haven’t changed it since. It’s not the first watch I grab, but it always stays in rotation. Would I change it to the time zone of my next travel location before I throw it in the dopp kit? Probably not. But I do know that when I do get home from my travels, whether the G10 is stashed away in the luggage or sitting in the watch box, it will always have the right time; home time.

Images from this post:
Related Reviews
Thomas is a budding writer and an avid photographer by way of San Diego, California. From his local surf break to mountain peaks and occasionally traveling to destinations off the beaten path, he is always searching for his next adventure, with a watch on wrist, and a camera in hand. Thomas is a watch enthusiast through and through; having a strong passion for their breadth of design, historical connection, and the stories that lie within each timepiece.