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MWC NATO Pattern Stainless Steel Hybrid Military Pilots Chronograph

MWC NATO Pattern Stainless Steel Hybrid Military Pilots Chronograph

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The MWC NATO chronograph in sandblasted stainless steel case is based on the same specification used by several other manufacturers of NATO quartz chronographs but with a number of detail improvements to improve operation and visibility. Although the watch is made to a specification which is specifically designed to meet the needs of military aircrews it is also ideal for both airline and GA pilots. The actual case size is 45.5mm and the chronograph uses a VK64 Meca-Quartz movement which is used by a high percentage of current superior quality quartz chronographs.

The difference between these hybrid watches and a mechanical chronograph is that the mechanical models are powered by a mainspring which is regulated by a balance wheel and controlled by a set of precision levers, hammers and gears. With this hybrid chronograph it is powered by a battery, regulated by a quartz crystal and also controlled by a set of precision levers, hammers and gears so in essence it shares some features with both a mechanical and a quartz movement, combining the feel of a mechanical watch with the advantage of quartz accuracy. The factory rating for the accuracy of this movement is +/-20 seconds a month but we find they tend to be better than this on average and vastly superior to any mechanical chronographs which tend to be accurate to +/- 2 or 3 seconds a day at best.

The biggest plus of all with the hybrid is that it will need significantly less maintenance than any mechanical chronograph and much less prone to suffering reliability issues in the long term, clearly for many buyers its biggest plus is that to anyone handling this watch it will appear outwardly to be a traditional mechanical model.

When we refer to the watch as a hybrid this is because it has a battery powering the movement through coils and also a quartz oscillator, but the chronograph is mechanically actuated and controlled. Push the start/stop button and the second hand steps into action—and resets—just the same as a mechanical movement would. When you push the top button you get a crisp response just like a mechanical chronograph and the timing hand starts ticking in 1/5 sec increments, at first glance our watchmaker thought the watch had a Valjoux 7750 inside. When you push the stop button at 5 o’clock you get the same crisp, feel as the chrono stops. Press it again and the hand snaps straight back to 12.

These models are ideal if you own several watches because they don’t have to be wound before you wear them, all they need is a battery swap every few years and a check of the water resistance.

One final quirk is that there is no tick which many people find baffling and even here at MWC we would be unable to determine if this was a quartz or mechanical watch if we didn't know the movement that was inside but everyone here agreed we would assume that it was mechanical based on its behaviour so this really is the best of the two technologies and a unique timepiece.

Technical Details of this Military Chronograph

  • Case Diameter: 44mm exc crown and 45.5mm inc crown
  • Lug to Lug 49mm
  • Thickness: 13.5mm
  • Dial Colour: black
  • Case Material: 316L steel
  • Caseback: 316L stainless steel
  • Water Resistance: 5atm (50m or 165ft)
  • Glass: Hardened Mineral Glass
  • Strap: 22mm NATO (NATO Nylon Webbing Strap)
  • Illumination - Super Luminova for maximum nightime performance
  • Movement: VK64 Meca-quartz
  • Battery: Silver Oxide SR936SW
  • Battery Life: Approx. 3 years

Customer Reviews

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