The G10 story is quite interesting, many people are surprised that most serving military personal (referred to in the UK as squaddies) never get issued with a watch contrary to what many people think, the most interesting point of all is that there were only 293 watches issued in the UK between 2012 and 2016 which shows that the numbers are quite small and most serving military are obliged to buy their own watch hence they often buy watches from manufacturers such as CWC, MWC, Nite or Marathon although Casio is also quite popular due to the fact it's virtually indestructible.
Many armed forces such as the United States work on the basis of an item being what is described as “fit for purpose” of course this can encompass everything as long as it's robust and durable.
The origin of the term G10 is because in the UK when military watches were widely provided to military personnel in order to get their hands on one, they had to fill out a form called a G1098, or G10 for short hence the reason the watches are always now referred to as G10’s and anybody who is either UK serving military or ex-military will frequently know exactly what type of watch is being referred to when they hear that term. Regardless of brand they all have certain similar characteristics.
The CWC G10 is a classic, first issued in 1980 and still available, solid and robustly built they have gone through a variety of different case designs as the quartz movement technology evolved. The first pattern ar very collectable and known as the "fat boy" due to the chunky case.
CWC G10 watches were issued to UK forces until around 2005 when the procurement contracts were placed with Citizen and Pulsar (probably on cost grounds) the CWC is a traditional British pattern military watch which still has an acrylic (plastic) crystal on the base models which in my opinion has both pluses and minuses because on the one hand it’s shatter resistant but on the other easily scratched and not very water resistant although the scratches are easily tackled with a product called polyWatch sold by CWC themselves as well as other companies.
The CWC G10’s are shown at the link below.
http://www.cwcwatch.com/collections/general-service-watches ranging from £219.00 to £349.00 (US$295.00 - US$475.00) The most traditional of the all is this model which retains the battery hatch. The latest models with sapphire crystal and 200 meter water resistance use the tried and tested Ronda 715li movement which is also used by MWC.
The MWC G10's are similar in some ways to the CWC at first glance but there is a much larger range, they also produce 300 meter water resistant models in titanium cases with tritium GTLS tubes. In reality whether you need tritium GTLS or can live with Luminova greatly depends on your specific requirements but tritium GTLS tubes are consistently brighter generally and don't dim over the course of the night something which can be important to some people.
It is very difficult to know where to start with the MWC range I don't know the exact number of models and variations but I'm guessing it must be at least 25 or 30 so there should be a watch within the range to suit almost everyone. The MWC G10 watches are solidly built and tend to be significantly cheaper than the CWC comparing like with like, the cheapest models start at £72.50 / US$99.00 / €82.00 and there are a significant number of models ranging from that point up to the titanium GTLS tritium models (pictured above) which are £345.00 / US$470.00 / €389.00, as with the CWC watches MWCmodels rated 100 meter water resistant or more use the Ronda 715li the range can be seen below.
Another high-quality option if you are looking for a G10 pattern watch is the Precista PRS10 this is another watch very much in the same type of design as some of the CWC and MWC watches. I particularly like this watch personally because the crystal whilst Sapphire that would be looks visually very close to the old original plexiglass G10 watches.
How feeling is that the Precista compares pretty much directly to the 200 meter water resistant CWC and is also quite close to the 100 meter MWC but as I mentioned above visually this one looks outwardly much more similar to the old original battery hatch CWC model than either of the other two. Certainly it's very good on price at £195 it compares very well to the CWC which is now £299, frankly the CWC is getting quite expensive £299 after all we are dealing with is what is effectively a fairly basic watch, interestingly if we compare the CWC, MWC and Precista all of them use the same Ronda 715li movement. The MWC model is the cheapest watch of the three at £145 and is somewhat larger physically and has a fairly course sandblasted case rather like the old original CWC "Fatboy" MWC do not make a 200 meter watch like the CWC but if you go up in price to £199 they have a 300 meter model with sapphire crystal.
What I find particularly appealing about the Precista is the fact it closely resembles one of the early G10 watches whilst having the benefits of modern usability.
We were quite interested when someone bought a Precista to show us because even though it's a relatively small watch it feels quite solid and heavy and is clearly well built and nicely finished. I would say this is definitely one to consider but you are splitting hairs when you look at the actual appearance of the three watches because they are all very similar and it simply comes to the detail and personal preference.
You can see the watch at the link below https://www.timefactors.com/precistaprs10s.htm
The Nite MX-10 isn't really what would be classified as a standard G10 pattern watch but it is a contender and is targeted at the same type of military, law enforcement or government procurement buyers. We have included it because it's a nice watch generally and gives someone an alternative to the standard G10 models.
This watch like some MWC G10's uses tritium GTLS light sources for first-rate nighttime performance, all the leading manufacturers of military watches with GTLS tritium tubes namely Marathon, Nite and MWC would all be buying the tubes from the same Swiss manufacturer because there are no other high-quality sources of supply hence performance would be the same between all three brands.
One thing I did find a bit strange with the MX-10 is that the lugs seem to be an unusual design, I don't know if this would mean that you couldn't easily fit a NATO strap or whether it wouldn't look correct because I didn't have the opportunity to check but its certainly very unique when it comes to the lugs. Nite offer both a bracelet and a rubber strap so it is not totally limited as regards options, on the plus side the strap looks very much an integrated part of the case. The watch is available in stainless steel and black PVD.
The MX10 uses a Ronda 715 Swiss quartz movement which has up to 60 months battery life, this is 50% less than the CWC, Precista or MWC which have 120 months. We are rather baffled why Nite used the Ronda 715 rather than the 715li. Water resistance is also perfectly acceptable at 100 m and it uses a sapphire crystal, I think the MX-10 only falls short on the battery life and lack of a screwdown locking crown which does seem odd that it has a cushion crown. Other than that it's a first rate watch and makes a good alternative to the other three.
MX-10 watches range in price from £275-£355 (US$375-US$480) and can be seen at the link below.
Marathon watches are similar in many ways to the Nite and MWC watches because they use the same tritium GTLS tubes. Marathon like MWC produce a very large range of slightly varying models with slightly different specifications but targeted at infantry and law-enforcement personnel.
The watch pictured above is by far the closest marathon watch to what we would classify as a G10, the water resistance rating is however significantly less than the other watches shown here at 50 m it also uses a 16 mm strap which seems rather unusual because most at least 18mm and more commonly now 20 mm the watch is available in both automatic and quartz the quartz model can be seen here https://www.marathonwatch.com/collections/general-purpose-quartz-watches/products/stainless-general-purpose-quartz-gpq-us-markings
As far as price the watch works out at $450 / £335 in quartz or $650 / £485 in automatic, the watch has a sapphire crystal and the movement is a ETA FØ6 this is a 3 jewel high-torque Quartz movement with EOL (End-of-Life) indicator, the battery life is around 68 months so it's quite a bit shorter than the Precista, MWC or CWC but that shouldn't be a deal breaker because it's no big deal to have the battery swapped out when needed.
Marathon also make some composite case watches which have GTLS tubes and starting at a very favourable price of US$200 / £149, although they have a fairly low water resistance rating at 3ATM they could be a contender if you are not going to be spending time immersed in water, for a watch with GTLS if we exclude the low water resistance they are very keenly priced. They also trace their origins back to the very early GTLS watches which were issued to the American forces in the 90s. These watches are available in a wide range of slightly different specifications and colours and there are both quartz and automatic options you can see the watches at the URL below.
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