MWC

MWC Websites Europe North America Australia 

MWC is based in Zürich, Switzerland and was founded slightly later than CWC in 1974 (although they manufactured a limited number of watches in the mid 60's) by Wolfgang Obrigheimer who is still involved with the company although now in his 80s. MWC are a leading supplier not just to the military but also to police forces, anti terrorist units, GA Pilots, airlines, shipping, salvage and mining companies along with various other government departments.

MWC are one of the leading manufacturers of genuine military watches and manufacture a wide range of models either to customers specific requirements or by tendering for contracts. They also supply private individuals seeking a high quality watch for personal use as well as wholesalers, department stores, retailers of military products and government departments.





MWC 2017 300m Model with Superluminova, 10 year Battery and Sapphire Crystal
 
I had a chance to test this latest model G10 it is very superior to the G10 100m with a sapphire crystal and and very high degree of water resistance at 300m. While I was testing this watch I impacted the crystal while climbing some rocks and expected it to be gouged but there was not a mark on it. Accuracy was exceptional it gained only 2 seconds over the 5 weeks I had it but the Ronda 715li movement is the same as used on the 100m model and has the same 10 year battery life. The watch has the new one piece screw in pins which are vastly better than the pervious pins which were ultra fiddly. This adoption of screw pins seemed an excellent idea in 2010 when MWC introduced it because it offered the strength benefits of fixed pins with the ability to fit any strap you choose and personally I have always found that being restricted to a NATO strap can be annoying. The change to these new pins was a really good step in my opinion.

I have owned and evaluated a large number of both MWC and CWC watches over the years. I find both are solidly built and I have tested around 20 watches from the two factories in total, as a rule I found them all to perform extremely well. The MWC is frequently better priced but UK buyers often tend to be swayed by the fact that CWC previously held the UK MOD contract which does not seem to interest MWC although I am aware they have supplied various UK government departments such as police anti terrorist units etc.

It is clear that MWC is a direct competitor to CWC and the companies claim to hate each other although over the years I have noticed the MWC and CWC range have greatly diverged so any similarities are generally quite superficial although CWC have recently introduced a G10 PVD model in 200m water resistance (which sits between MWC's 100m and 300m models) which I took a brief look at recently and it has a smoother case finish than the MWC and appears to be a satin finish whereas MWC use a sandblasted finish. Neither finish is superior to the other but I find the sandblasted stainless steel finish to be much less reflective than satin although in PVD it would be irrelevant. MWC make tritium versions of these models with GTLS tubes but as far as GTLS goes CWC have no equivalent because they do not make Tritium GTLS watches

The only watches I can find in the CWC and MWC ranges that are particularly similar are the W10 and the mechanical chronograph. The strange thing is that the G10's look similar from both companies but the details are very different, although CWC's adoption of the Ronda 715li movement on the 200m G10, MWC's upgrade of the 100m G10 to 300m with sapphire crystal and CWC's move to a PVD G10 case on the 200m model put's the two brands on the the G10 model at least in direct competition although the price difference of £100 is significant with the MWC at £199 see MWC G10 300m PVD and the CWC 200m PVD G10 at £299. It was interesting that when I had time to look at the G10 it took a while to figure out the main difference other than the sandblasted finish and details such as the hands but then it dawned on me that the big difference is size the CWC is 40m wide including the crown, the lug to lug is 42mm and the thickness is 12mm on the MWC it's 42mm including crown, lug to lug is 46mm and thickness is 13mm so the MWC is significantly bigger which might be a plus or minus depending on your personal taste. The MWC also feels much heavier although I did not get the chance to find out the weight of the CWC. 


       

                                              CWC 200m G10                                                            MWC 300m G10


MWC HANDWOUND NATO PILOTS WATCH

I recently purchased one of the mechanical NATO chronographs from MWC for my personal use, the model is SKU Code: CHR/66-4/M it was £419.00 which seemed reasonable for the type of watch it is. The watch is here on the MWC site. I had looked at both the CWC and the Hamilton in the past which are similar but the CWC jumped from £899 to £1750 over the last two years and that was dearer than I was inclined to go. The thing with the CWC is I have a quartz chronograph which is no longer available and it has always given good service but cost became the deciding factor. The CWC mechanical is a lot more retro looking and pictured here but both watches follow a similar NATO spec although the MWC is somewhat more contemporary in appearance but not not so much as the Hamilton pictured here. The main thing I found off-putting on the Hamilton is the dial was rather busy looking but also at €1595.00 (£1350.00) I would have been very much tempted to go for the CWC which fits my requirements for a retro looking chrono with plexiglass crystal. 

I have had the MWC for three months now and although it's not used daily it has certainly checks the boxes and it looks first rate with a really good case finish. The watch is below:



The MWC mechanical NATO chronograph is basically a Limited Edition model which is based on the same specification used by several other manufacturers of NATO 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 19 jewel handwound movement. It is larger than both the CWC and Hamilton so that was a plus for me but I am quite large a smaller watch can suit some people better. I find MWC overall are often a bit larger than the alternative although its not the case with every model. Below is MWC's spec for the NATO chronograph.

  •     Movement: 19 Jewel Handwound Mechanical movement
  •     Case Diameter: 44mm exc crown and 45.5mm inc crown
  •     Lug to Lug 49mm
  •     Thickness: 13.5mm
  •     Case Material: 316L Sand blasted Stainless Steel
  •     Caseback: 316L stainless steel
  •     Water Resistance: 5atm (50m or 165ft)
  •     Glass: Hardened Mineral Glass
  •     Illumination - Super Luminova 
The whole watch seems extremely solidly built. I have tested the various chronograph functions over the months I have owned it and the hands return to the correct positions faultlessly. One of my previous chronograph was a Seiko which occasionally needed recalibration and whilst this is quickly achieved it was somewhat annoying and also arose on another chronograph from Caluola which used a Miyota OS10. As far as accuracy the MWC seems good to around 55/65 seconds a week which I find fine on a watch of this type.

In summary there is nothing about this watch I don't like at the price and considering the options it represents good value and has a very traditional look and feel. A big plus is also the large dial and easy readability.

OTHER MWC TESTS

I think one of the most interesting tests I made over the last few years was when thanks to a collector I had the chance to test two Divers watches one from CWC and one from MWC which enabled me to make a direct comparison. I found the PVD plating to be better on the MWC but the bezel action a bit more precise on the CWC. In addition the CWC has day and date and the MWC just date. The water resistance rating on the CWC and MWC are both 300m or 1000ft. At one time CWC and MWC divers models were very similar because they used the same basic MOD specification but there are few MWC divers now which have any real similarity to the CWC so it is a case of preference based on appearance and price is probably a factor too. The other factor is availability and the CWC is often out of stock Looking back at this test I see that CWC SBS is £699 and MWC retail their model at £189 so frankly this is a colossal price difference. The main concern I have is the movements because the CWC uses a ETA 955.122 7J Movement which has the plus that it is durable and cheap to replace if needed for £30 and if you search eBay for ETA 955.122 you will see them but the fact remains its battery life is three years where MWC use a Ronda 715li with a 10 year battery life. The problem here being that a new battery means a case reseal so the less frequently you need to open the case the better.


CWC SBS WATCH

Having tested the two watches for night performance they are much the same and both use Super Luminova. The MWC as in many cases is a larger watch with Lug to Lug 51mm, 46mm width including the crown (43mm exc crown) and 15mm thick with a 24mm strap the CWC is 45mm including the crown, 11mm thick and uses a 20mm strap.

I have pictured the CWC below but make no mistake its a great watch and it was issued to the SBS so it has all the credentials if you want something a bit special. If you are asking me what I would buy I would go with either the MWC Tritium diver or a Marathon Quartz diver at around $600. As far as the marathon goes I can say that having owned a Marathon I can confirm that they take a lot of beating and the tritium tubes are to my liking as well. 
      



MWC 300m PVD Military Diver


MWC AVIATOR TEST

Classic Aviator Model CLIX/SD2  

An MWC dealer was good enough to lend me one of the MWC Aviator models a while back. Having looked at the picture of the watch it resembled the MWC MKIII but once I physically got my hands on it there was no similarity at all. The MKIII is 38mm excluding the crown and 40mm including the crown the Classic Aviator is much bigger - in fact XL is the right term - because at 46mm excluding the crown and near 49mm including the crown this is a big chunky timepiece. The feature I liked which I have never seen on an MWC before was the clear case back giving a view of the automatic movement.

            

I wore the watch for two weeks and it was amazingly accurate and had a really solid feel. The movement is a Self Winding 21,600 BPH automatic 22 Jewel so its pretty high spec. The stainless steel case was impressive too as was the high quality leather strap which seems to be made of a very thick high quality oiled leather. The luminosity was excellent as well and lasted well. Overall I like this watch a great deal and have decided to buy the US market variant which is pictured below.


There are a number of these models some with sweep second hand and others with subsidiary dials and I have added this link for anyone interested in taking a look. I think for under £300 this is a great buy for an automatic watch which has such presence.

There are also a few interesting MWC reviews on YouTube below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgRgeS5aK5M&t=152s

https://youtu.be/3fjfYRqtJ9Y

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1tmkpDXCR0
 

OLD MWC WATCH PURCHASE

Interestingly I recently purchased a very old MWC (Military Watch Co) watch at a watch fair and stripped it down with a friend and we found a very interesting 17 jewel Swiss movement which I believe to be 1960's vintage which is pictured below although we are unsure of the calibre if anyone recognizes it can you let me know? I am thinking of restoring the watch as its in very poor condition and if I do I will feature it here with some images.




FAKES: 
If you see a suspicious MWC that might be a fake you can email
Contact or call one of the numbers below

Tel: +41 44 586 9591 or in the US +1 917 338 9657