It’s no surprise that the MoD decided to look east for their new watch. Seiko had been producing excellent quartz watches for years, and the watch they provided was a fantastic example of everything a quartz chronograph could be. The 7A28-7120, now most often called the Gen 1 (Seiko later supplied a second generation in the 1990s), was first issued to British pilots in October 1984 and was not replaced until November 1990. During that run, the MoD bought and issued a total of 11,307 Gen 1 chronographs, making it one of the more numerous chronographs issued to military forces.
During the time they were supplying these watches to the British military, Seiko was also producing a wide variety of 7A28 chronographs for the civilian market. However, a few differences exist between the Gen 1 and civilian 7A28 variants. The Gen 1’s case is simpler than all commercially available 7A28 models; it has a matte, blasted finish, an integrated, unmarked bezel, and fixed strap bars. To comply with military guidelines, Seiko stamped a “circle P” on the dial, indicating that Promethium – a mildly radioactive man-made element – was used to illuminate portions of the dial and hands. On the caseback are stamped the NATO stock numbers, as well as the watch’s individual issue number and year of issue. The broadarrow symbol indicates that the watch was property of the Crown and did not belong to an individual soldier or sailor.