CWC

CWC (Cabot Watch Company) http://cwcwatch.com/

Cabot Watch Company was founded in 1972 by Ray Mellor but is now owned by Silverman’s see http://www.silvermans.co.uk/ which is a military surplus, camping gear and military equipment dealer based in London, UK. CWC watches are of good sound quality and were supplied to the British Forces in the past although the MOD confirmed recently that current procurement for infantry use is the Seiko PXD433 - I would appreciate an image of this watch because I have no idea what it looks like - in mid 2012 an information request submitted to the MOD by a military watch enthusiast confirmed that 302 had been issued since 2009 so they are not exactly plentifull, for the RAF the Seiko PX8307X1 with 905 issued since late 2010 (as of mid 2012) is the current choice but clearly the Citizen model is still in extensive use too, for Naval Divers the Citizen BN0000-04H is the current choice and a quick search on eBay shows why because at around $165 (€125 or £102) it is much cheaper than the retail price of £389 ($655 / €477) for the CWC and clearly even in a procurement contract CWC could clearly not compete.

What is clear is that bit by bit CWC is heading down the same road as Rolex and IWC in the past when they were just too costly for the military to procure due to increasingly tight budgetary restraints and effectively became commercial brands with a military heritage. In summary I have always found that CWC are fine and I have several in my collection although the models are rather dated in many ways maybe due to the conservative requirements laid down by the British MOD although these seem less rigid in recent years. This conservatism shows in the fact that the UK still use Perspex in most of their G10 models where other countries have moved to glass for improved durability. In addition the UK forces have not opted for Self Luminous technology which employs vials of active tritium gas. Interestingly CWC claim on their site that Perspex is a requirement in the G10 Specification which is baffling when the Pulsar G10 General Service wristwatch issued to British forces following the 2001 request for tenders used glass just like the current MWC. CWC seem totally fixated with British contracts although currently I am advised they don't hold one and can’t seem to see beyond the MOD. One thing with CWC is they are also critical of many of the suppliers who resell surplus watches which at the end of the day is the only way many people can afford to buy the watch. The price of a surplus watch is usually around £70 - £145 in the UK depending where you find one and can be dearer elsewhere. In fact a friend bought a mint 1989 First Gulf War CWC last week in pristine condition for £89. In summary we have found CWC watches to be a solid and durable item which is evidenced by many of the G10 models which you find at Militaria fairs that are 30+ years old and still going strong.

 Below is a famous CWC SBS watch alongside a current model G10 Navigator with date

                         


If you are interested in the UK Ministry of Defence Specification for British Military Watches it is worth checking out the URL below.
http://home.earthlink.net/%7emodguide/modguide.html

We have reviewed 5 CWC watches one review is below but all were fine and can't be faulted. The SBS watch we tested seemed very solid and had a very positive bezel action.



 TEST OF THE CWC 1970s REMAKE MECHANICAL CHRONOGRAPH

  

The mechanical non dated CWC chronograph made in the 1970s was a design inherited from Hamilton for whom Ray Mellor worked prior to starting CWC an original Hamilton variant from 1975 is pictured below.
 



General Description:  The case is stainless steel, screw back and has a polished finish with an acrylic crystal, usual time functions. The winder is nicely finished and recessed.  

SPECIFICATION
  • Mechanical hand-wind 
  • Valjoux ETA 7760 basic with modification. 
  • 29 jewels. 
  • Dial at 3 o' clock position is 30 minute chronograph. 
  • Dial at 9 o' clock position is watch running seconds. 
  • Polished stainless steel case. 
  • Solid strap bars. 
  • Strap size: 20mm
  • Acrylic glass.
  • 3 year warranty
  • Swiss Made
Dimensions: Width 40mm, Thickness 13mm, Lug to Lug 46mm

Strap/options: Mine came with a grey NATO strap which is the most historically accurate although many people use a black strap or the black and grey James Bond pattern but the US pattern military strap in Khaki or Black looks good too.

I was given this watch on loan and wore it for three weeks during which time it proved very accurate and never gained more than 15 to 20 seconds a week. The chronograph functions were very positive and I can't fault any aspect of the watch.

Conclusion:  This watch is a nice piece of kit. This watch is costly at £1750.00 it has a very good historical heritage. This watch can be seen on the CWC site at this link 

If this watch is too costly look out for a Precista PRS-5 which is pictured below and made to the same design as the Hamilton and CWC. If you look around £200/£250 should find a tidy used example. Another option is the MWC which is similar at £419 see this link another contender might be the Hamilton here at €1595 (£1350) although you are not far off the CWC there and I would be tempted to pay a bit more because the CWC will retain it's value much better.



CWC G10

General Description:  The case is stainless steel with a hatch on the back and has a matt finish with an acrylic crystal. The winder is nicely finished and recessed.  
  • Dimensions: Width 38mm, Thickness 10mm, Lug to Lug 42mm
  • Movement: Ronda 715
  • Accuracy during test:  Excellent during the 4 week test period at a consistent +4 secs/week 
  • Strap/options: Mine came with a grey NATO strap which is the most historically accurate but there are multiple options and olive drab, James Bond (Black and Grey) and black all look good.
Conclusion:  This watch is a nice piece of kit and I have used lots of CWC models over the years but this one was the most accurate. I have to say in some ways it feels less solid than the models we have seen from the 1980s and 1990’s some of which still surface in unissued condition. The thing is with thousands of the CWC G10 models issued it is a tried and tested timepiece that is not likely to give you any nasty surprises. Somehow it does not seem to be as substantial as the older battery hatch model but that is not to say that in normal use it is a criticism and I prefer the case finish on this version. I note the ongoing question often raised by people regarding MWC using a battery hatch on some 50m models and CWC dropping them on some models but not on this one although frankly it must be considered that battery technology has improved in recent years and I think the question of the battery hatch is becoming academic.  In fact the MWC G10 100m and 300m models with screw on casebacks and Ronda 715li movements have a 10 year battery life so I guess the hatch is becoming superfluous. The other consideration is that CWC now produce a 200m G10 so the options are all in place to fit everybody's needs.

I found the finish of the G10 from CWC to be exceptionally good and accuracy was consistently within 5 seconds a week in the six months I had the watch. As far as appearance it was as expected the lume performed well all night. As far as price goes £170 is not a fortune for a watch and I would be tempted if I was buying a new G10. As far as minus points there aren't really any but a screw case back would be a plus and I don't like the perspex crystal but the Precista had perspex too but Citizen, Marathon, MWC and Pulsar have all switched to glass. I think like everything it is a matter of preference but I found the watch to be ideal for the sort of use it is intended for. I have now sold it to a friend who is a Police marksman and he informs me it has no problems with recoil and general heavy use so I feel it is certainly a watch worth considering.


 
CWC General Service Watch

 
Where to get one:

http://cwcwatch.com/ The CWC G10 New from the manufacturer at £170 this is a classic G10 but keep in mind the water resistance is low at 30m on account of the plastic / acrylic crystal. Great watch though and until comparatively recently issued by the UK MOD to the British forces.

CWC Alternatives:

http://www.mwcwatches.com The MWC G10 300m water resistant with sapphire crystal in Stainless Steel or PVD with Luminova at £199 although a Tritium GTLS model is available at £275 these are probably the highest spec G10 models although the glass crystal cannot be polished to remove scratches like the CWC although with sapphire crystal it's pretty much un-scratchable.

Earlier CWC Models: http://www.anchorsupplies.com/cwc-g10-watch.html Used but serviced CWCs at £145 (€178 or US$244 likely to have seen action too!

http://www.marathonwatch.com/product/general-purpose-digital-quartz The Marathon is another viable option at $360.00 this watch has tritium vials so is very cheap for what if effectively a good G10 type watch keep in mind the water resistance is only 30m - in other words splashproof)  so that must be balanced against the bargain price for a GTLS watch.

FAKE CWC's:

Like all watch brands there are fake CWC's out there too! If you suspect a CWC is fake contact CWC via Silvermans on 020 7790 0900 or from outside the UK on +44 2077 900 900.

I am aware from what I have been told that CWC can often mislead people when they call. An example is on their website where it says “Counterfeit brands make claims that the acrylic glass that CWC watches use is inferior, but this remains a government requirement for issue watches. Watches with other types of glass are not genuine and are not superior.” This is at best confusing when your consider that in reality CWC don't currently hold a UK MOD contract and the Pulsar and Citizen currently in service both use glass crystals

Unfortunately one problem which negatively impacts CWC are the various disputes surrounding the CWC trademark. Most people don't realize the extent of this but for collectors and enthusiasts like ourselves it means CWC watches can effectively be manufactured and sold in many markets but these watches are not made by Cabot and there is nothing they can do while they are locked in these disputes. It is clear these three might not be the only disputes but these are the ones that have been pointed out to us. The problem this causes is that watches sold branded CWC in many countries are not technically fakes because CWC don't own the trademarks except in the UK. This situation is messy and I can't begin to figure out the cost to CWC of all these disputes but greatly sympathize with them because it must be a nightmare.

Below are link to three of the disputes.

These are the documents in the United States Link

There is also a dispute in Australia at this Link Further Details at this Link

Moving onto a more positive area I noticed recently that Silvermans have given the CWC website a makeover which is much more user friendly than the old one and looks improved generally with some excellent clear images and the new site also allows purchases where previously you had to go to the Silvermans site to make the actual purchase which was a hassle and a bit confusing for less internet savvy buyers http://www.cwcwatch.com