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Time Spec: 1970s British Military Asymmetrical Chronographs

Time Spec: 1970s British Military Asymmetrical Chronographs

For longer than 10 years, four companies–Hamilton, CWC, Newmark, and Precista–supplied basic, tough, 30-minute chronographs to the British military. Their exemplary dark, two-register dials, workhorse Valjoux 7733 movements, and uneven case configuration prompted high convenience and keep them mainstream and powerful today.


In the mid 1970s, while the United States kept up and developed its military in light of the contention in Southeast Asia and its Cold War with the Soviet Union, the British government was currently diminishing its military in both size and cost. As a little piece of these grimness quantifies, the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) reconsidered the Defense Standard (DEF-STAN) that endorsed the plan qualities of military pilots’ watches to consider less expensive, commercially accessible movements to be used.

This change permitted produces to start utilizing one of the exemplary workhorse chronograph movements of the 1970s–the Valjoux 7733. This movement and the extraordinary case plan of these watches combined to become the British military pilot’s watch all through the ’70s and into the early ’80s, before in the end being supplanted by less expensive quartz chronographs. Today we’ll investigate the plan includes that made (and keep) these chronographs so famous, we’ll talk about the gatherer market for these watches today, and we’ll wrap up for certain cutting edge watches whose families are an immediate line to these exemplary chronographs.


DEF-STAN 66-4 (Part 2) incorporated a little yet huge change from its first issue in April 1969 to its second issue in April 1970. The last changed the norm to take into consideration pilot’s chronograph cases to include possibly a couple “pushpieces,” or catches, to control the watch’s chronograph work. That change took into account makes to utilize the Valjoux 7733 movement we’ll talk about beneath. It likewise adjusted the case vertically such that it was not previously, putting one catch on top and one underneath the crown.

What it didn’t change was the unevenness of the case from left to right. A plan component planned to shield the crown and pushers from inadvertent knocks during use, the case is thicker on the correct side than on the left. As the vital component of these watches, they are frequently alluded to as “asymmetrical chronographs.”

Along with the hilter kilter case, practically all plan components of the watches were indicated in DEF-STAN 66-4 (Part 2), and each of the four brands share almost indistinguishable appearance. The dials are dark with white markers, enlightened 12 and six numerals, and enlightened spots at every hour marker. The time is shown by focal hour and moment hands and a running seconds hand in the nine o’clock sub-dial. The chronograph time is checked by the middle seconds hand and a 30-minute counter in the three o’clock sub-dial. The chronograph is initiated and halted by the top pusher, at that point reset by the base pusher.

The one clear outside distinction between the four watches is the company marking that shows up under 12. Beneath that, each watch bears the circle “T,” demonstrating that tritium lume was utilized on the enlightened numerals, files, and hands. The Hamilton and CWC dials likewise show the “broad arrow,” or “pheon,” an imprint found on British military gear to imply that the thing is property of the public authority (you’ll see the imprint again when we get to the case back, and on other British military watches we’ll cover in future articles).

Click here to study tritium and glow .

Military Markings

As is valid with all military hardware, giving and following of these watches was a significant work. To help in that cycle, these watches were set apart with four significant snippets of data: the thing type number, the responsible organization, the time of issue, and the individual watch issue number. These watches were underlying agreement with the “924-3306” type, so they all convey that numbering. They were given by two organizations in the UK and one in Australia and have giving numbers that compare with each agency:

• 0552 – Royal Navy (RN) • 6BB – Royal Air Force (RAF) • 6645-99 – Royal Australian Navy (RAN)

In a few cases, these watches were given to one unit, at that point returned and reissued through another unit. In the third and fourth models appeared here, RN-gave watches were reissued to the RAF. In one case, the “0552” checking was steered out and the “6BB” stamping stepped on top of a similar area. In the other, the RN markings were hit through with lines and the RAF markings engraved above.

Under the office and thing type numbers, we see the expansive bolt, implying that the watch is “property of the crown.” Below that are the particular watch sequential number–different on each watch–and the two-digit year of issue. Hamilton was first to make these watches, with models beginning in 1970. CWC started creation in 1973, and were ultimately trailed by Newmark in 1980 and Precista 1981.


A two-button, two-register, 30-minute chronograph movement, the Valjoux 7733 was utilized by a wide assortment of watch producers all through the 1970s to control alluring, moderate chronographs. With a solid, demonstrated plan history and parts compatible across the 773x territory, the 7733 was a decent decision for straightforward chronograph watches and made an incredible movement to control these British pilot’s watches. The movement is hand-wound by means of the crown at three, and the chronograph capacities as portrayed previously. The movement ticks emphatically at 18,000 beats for every hour.


Because of their insignificant, appealing plan, quality development, and military associations, all varieties of these four watches have become entirely collectable lately. With creation of just a single year each, the Newmark and Precista models are the most uncommon, and genuine models frequently draw in the greatest costs at around $1,500-2,000. CWC and Hamilton models are discovered front deal all the more frequently, and decent models regularly sell in the $1,000-1,500 range.

With a significant number of these watches in military use for longer than 10 years, and simple parts compatibility between the models, numerous models exist with a combination of manufacturer’s parts (for instance, a solitary watch may have a Hamilton marked dial, CWC marked movement, and case back from a later issue). Finding a watch with combined parts doesn’t really mean it is inauthentic; parts trading like this in known to have been performed by MoD watchmakers who approached various parts stocks at various occasions. Similarly as with every military watch, purchasing a piece with realized provenance is consistently the most ideal approach. In the event that you can’t discover one available to be purchased from a unique proprietor, getting one from a regarded vendor or individual from the gatherer community is similarly recommended.

Modern Influences

Throughout the article, we’ve referenced the ubiquity these watches as of now appreciate. It ought to subsequently be nothing unexpected that advanced companies have attempted to profit by that ubiquity by reissuing or reproducing these watches. CWC actually produces watches under UK DEF-STAN details and has reissued this chronograph with an altered hand-wound Valjoux 7760 movement. It’s available to be purchased at Silverman’s for around $1,500. The Precista brand name is currently possessed by Eddie Platts of TimeFactors, and revamps of the watch with Seagull ST-19 movements were accessible for around $425, however they have been suspended. The two models give the exemplary look of the awry chronograph with current movements and manufacturing plant warranties.

The last illustration of this exemplary plan being changed as a cutting edge watch is the Pilot Pioneer by Hamilton. Snap here for a full audit of that part .

Photo Credits: Hamilton – “tempussuisse” Trio – “hogpole,” “watchitdude”, “Geronimo” Casebacks – Anna, “hogpole,” John “Flightpath,” Joel M, MKII Watches Movement – MB Radio Reissues – CWC Watches, TimeFactors