Q: What defines a military watch?
A: This is a fairly difficult question to answer. Many watch manufacturers such as G-Shock are not actually manufacturing watches specifically for dedicated military use but that does not detract from the fact that they are a watch of choice by many serving military personnel because they are extremely robust and fit for purpose. Other manufacturers such as Marathon are purely military and SAR orientated. MWC produce watches not just for military use but we have also supplied anti terrorist units, police forces and both exploration and mining companies all of which have requirements that share many requirements with military specification watches.
Q: What are the industry accepted water resistance recommendations?
A: The following usage recommendations are accepted by most watch manufacturers.
Water-tested to 50 meters (165 feet/5ATM). Suitable for swimming in shallow water such as crossing rivers and in a pool.
- Water-tested to 100 meters (330 feet/10ATM). Suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
- Water-tested to 150 meters (500 feet/15ATM). Suitable for snorkeling.
- Water-tested to 200 meters (660 feet/20ATM). Suitable for sports diving.
- Water-tested to 300 meters (1000ft/30ATM). Suitable for professional diving and military applications.
- Water-tested to 500 meters (1500ft/50ATM). Suitable for professional diving and military applications and are higher rated than 300m watches but have the benefit that whilst they have a helium valve they are lighter and less bulky than 1000 meter rated watches.
- Water-tested to over 1000 meters (3389ft/100ATM). These watches have a helium escape valve and are suitable for deep professional diving with mixed gases at extreme depths and also for challenging military applications.
Please Note: We do not recommend swimming or diving with your watch unless it has a screw-down crown (also known as screw-lock or screw-in crown) and is water-resistant to at least 100 meters. Many military watches which are rated at 50m/150ft such as the MWC G10 with battery hatch are fine - please be cautious with 30m or 99ft rated models which have acrylic crystals, this is because these models often have low water resistance just like the original models in the 1960's and 70’s. Please note that we also manufacture A-11, A-17 and GG-W-113 models in 100m variants with a glass crystal which meet modern standards whilst maintaining a retro appearance.
Q: How do I Care for a Water Resistant Watch
A: It is not recommended to wear even a highly rated water resistant watch in a hot shower, sauna or bath the degree of water resistance e.g 100m or 300m makes little difference to the risk. The basic problem is that the extreme heat causes the metal parts to expand at a different rate to the rubber gaskets, the result is that it can create small openings which allow water to penetrate the watch, the result is most commonly misting of the crystal but over time it can result in increasing amounts of water ingression which seriously damages the movement. The other issue that aggravates matters further is shower gel, soap, shampoo and bath foam because these are alkaline and can rot the seals.
Q: Do I have to do anything to care for the watch after I have been in the sea?
A: After swimming or diving in salt water, immediately rinse the watch in a stream of fresh water. If your watch has a rotating bezel, turn the bezel several times while rinsing it. This will prevent salt build up and corrosion of the bezel ring.Q: I work with chemicals is that a problem?
A: Some chemicals can corrode the gaskets and make them vulnerable. Heavily chlorinated water can also cause problems, as can chlorine bleach, bath foams and hairsprays that work their way into the watch's seams and damage the gaskets. (They can also damage the watch's finish although this is rare with military spec watches.
Q: What type of strap is suitable for use in water?
A: Although fairly rare on Military Watches leather straps can be made to be water resistant too. Generally however, leather straps are easily damaged by frequent exposure to water and also start to smell. So if you are going to wear your watch while swimming -- think of buying one with a metal bracelet, a carbon fibre, Kevlar or a rubber strap, Nylon NATO straps are ideal too. We have a large number of strap options on the website.
Q: How accurate can I expect my watch to be?
A: When it comes to accuracy there is one very important fact you need to know in advance. A $50 MWC Vietnam watch will keep time just as well as, and possibly better than, a top of the range MWC, CWC. IWC, Omega or Marathon mechanical or possibly even a $20,000 solid gold Rolex, Patek Philippe, or other high end watch. If that last statement surprised you, read the rest of this section carefully. Whilst all watches will tend to gain or lose a few seconds over a period of time mechanical watches will never get close to the accuracy of quartz or hybrid models. The reason behind this is that all watches are essentially small mechanical or electro-mechanical devices that are counting out 86,400 seconds per day. Even if a watch is 99.9% accurate, it will still be off by a minute and a half in only 24 hours! So even a mediocre wristwatch has to be well over 99.9% accurate to even begin to be useful on an ongoing basis.
Q: So, what is a reasonable expectation of accuracy from a wristwatch?
A: As a guide a modern mechanical watch could vary between +/- 15 seconds a day at worst and +/- 2 or 3 seconds a day at best and both figures are generally within tolerance depending on the type of watch and age. For example an automatic watch is usually more accurate than a handwound mechanical but quartz watches are better than any mechanical watch by a large margin. As a rule a quartz watch could be as accurate as +/- 0.01 although +/- 2 seconds a days is within the acceptable limits of most manufacturers.
Q: So why would anyone want a less accurate watch?
A: The short answer is that pretty much any modern wristwatch from a reputable brand is more than accurate enough for normal use. So some people (myself included) prefer older mechanical watch technologies over the small accuracy advantages of quartz watches. In the 1970s everything was heading towards quartz watches but by the 1990s handwound and automatic mechanicals were once again firmly establishing themselves in the mid ranges and high end market.
Q: Are quartz watches always more accurate than mechanical ones?
A: Yes, typically they are, but not always. Accuracy and precision are not exactly the same thing.It is important to remember that even when a mechanical watch is allowed to vary +6/-4 seconds per day, that does not mean it will consistently vary by that high an amount each day. Mechanical movements--except the very rare 'turbillon' movements that correct for it--are noticably affected by the gravitational pull of the Earth. It only takes a performance distortion of 1/1000th of a percent for a watch movement to be one second less accurate in a day. This causes the performance of mechanical movements to be somewhat different from day to day when not stored in a fixed position. The good news is that the actual variations of a mechanical watch will often cancel each other out. This means a mechanical watch will tend to be more accurate over a longer period than the single-day COSC measurement may imply.
On a day-to-day basis the performance of quartz watches is much more consistent than mechanical variants under identical conditions. Quartz performance is affected mainly by temperature changes and weakened batteries. So a quartz watch that you measured to gains 0.5 second yesterday will be consistently increasingly off correct time by about that amount. You can be pretty certain that in 60 days, it will be about 30 seconds off. At the end of a year, it would be likely be over 180 seconds off.Compare that to a mechanical watch that you measured to gain 2 seconds yesterday. It would seem that our example quartz watch is 4 times more accurate than this. But while the daily measured daily variations seem much higher, they are not likely to be as consistent, so will have a dampening effect. You cannot accurately predict that this mechanical would therefore be off by 120 seconds at the end of the same 60 days. It might be right on time, or it may be 200 seconds off. The broader range of variations allows most mechanical watches to stay closer to correct time than the daily variation rate implies. Over a year, some mechanicals can on average stay closer to correct time without having to be reset than a quartz watch might where others always tend to gain roughly the same amount each day.
Q: is it true that magnets or magnetic fields can cause major problems with my watch?
A: Yes, unfortunately this is a fairly common problem. Magnetism can be a major headache with hand wound and automatic watches, the most commonly affected component is the hairspring, even though most of the mechanical movements which we use would tend to use Nivarox (Nivarox is an acronym for Nicht Variabel Oxydfest (in English Non-Variable Oxidizing Resistant) although these hairsprings contain modern alloys that are much less affected by magnetism and are supposed to be highly resistant to magnetic fields in real life magnetism can still be a problem because the alloy is a combination of iron and nickel, even though the mechanical movements we use are either Seiko or sometimes Sellita the spring can still suffer issues. In simple terms what happens is that the coils of the hairspring stick together, this means is that the spring is actually then somewhat shorter in real terms which consequently causes the watch to gain. Although fortunately it's not particularly common it's not unheard of for the springs to stick together to such a degree that the watch movement cannot operate at all.
Fortunately no damage is normally done and the watch can be demagnetised by any watchmaker. We actually sell demagnetisers which are €22 / £20 / US$27 but a watchmaker should be able to do the job in seconds although as it has a risk of re-occurring it often makes sense to simply buy a demagnetiser. Rarely it needs to be performed twice but usually once is enough, the main thing is the watch doesn't come into contact again with whatever caused the problem in the first place.
The basic problem is that magnets are everywhere, examples are the scanners at airports, MRI machines smartphones and tablets, handbags, which frequently have magnets in their clasps and worst of all items such as speakers and TVs, even the door contacts of a security system on Windows are magnetic in many cases. The problem is because magnets and magnetism is so prevalent sometimes you wouldn't even realise that you've come into contact.
One of our customers said that every mechanical watch he ever wore suffered from this problem and therefore he was going to opt for a quartz model (these are less affected) but the problem was identified as being caused by something he used to work to remove security tags, although this of course released the magnets in the tags his watch was in contact with magnetism constantly during the course of the day!
If you have a compass it's easy to find out if this problem has arisen, just place your watch near a compass. If the compass needle moves, your watch has been magnetised. It's a 100% reliable diagnosis.
Q: How do I wind a mechanical watch?
A: Before you do anything, make sure it's really a mechanical. If it says Quartz, Eco-Drive, Automatic or Kinetic on the dial somewhere, it's not a manual wind. If your Quartz watch has stopped, you can get it running by replacing the battery at your local jeweler or mall watch shop. Most military watches are Quartz even though they may not say so on the dial. The best way to tell is to look for a battery hatch on the back, or, if it's running, watch for the second hand to jump between each second. Mechanical movements usually have a smoother transition from second to second with a few transitional movements in between. If you're sure it's a mechanical watch, and it needs winding, follow these steps.
- Check to see if it has a screw-down crown, if it does unscrew it to ready it for winding. If, when you start to wind the crown, it starts to screw itself back in, you may need to gently pull the crown out one stop.If you have a normal crown, i.e., non-screw-down, you can just wind it without any preliminaries.
- Wind the watch by turning the crown clockwise a number of complete revolutions. With the watch face-up in your left hand, pinch the crown between your right forefinger and thumb and rotate the crown clockwise. "Clockwise" means rotating it away from you. Wind slowly and consistently. Wind the crown as far as you can in each turn and then release it and start again. Wind it this way until you start to feel some increased resistance. Be patient. For a completely unwound mainspring, this can take from 20 to more than 40 or 50 revolutions.
- After you feel resistance stop winding. NB: Some watch experts suggest that you wind the crown backwards (counterclockwise) five or six turns. This may help re-distribute some lubricant, and, in the case of some early or special models, it may relieve some strain on the watch's inner workings. In any case, doing this "back-winding" won't harm your watch.Many people prefer to wind a watch using a rocking motion, i.e., alternating rotating the crown clockwise and then counter-clockwise. You can wind the watch in this way without having to remove your fingers from the crown. This has exactly the same effect on winding the mainspring as the clockwise-only approach, and it has the added benefit of putting a little back-wind into each cycle.If you have a manual wind watch, try to wind it at the same time every day. Winding it in the morning is best because you will have consistent power throughout the day. This may also contribute to more accurate timekeeping.
- When the watch is fully wound you will feel resistance as the mainspring tightens. That's enough winding. Don't try and force it any further. You could damage both the mainspring and components in the escapement and damage of this type is not covered by the guarantee.
When winding a manual wind watch, it is advisable to take off the watch. If you keep the watch on while you wind it, you may put unnecessary strain on the winding stem at all points but particularly where the stem attaches to the winding crown.What about Automatics? Some self-winding mechanical watches (also known as "automatics") can also be wound manually. Check your documentation to see if your watch can be hand wound. If it can, you may want to wind it, at least several revolutions, each day to insure an adequate power reserve, or, if its power reserve has run out and the watch has stopped, you can wind it to give it a jump start.
Q: What is the power reserve of an automatic watch when it is not being worn?
A: There is a common misconception that automatic watches never need to be wound. Whilst this is true to a point if the watch has not been worn for a day and like most of our automatic models has a power reserve of 41 hours it would be quite possible that the watch would be close to the end of its power reserve, people often assume it just needs to be worn for a while to wind itself up. This is partially correct because it may well give you just enough power to keep the watch while it's on the wrist, it may even run for a sometime afterwards when it's not being worn, the concern is it may not have had the chance to fully wind although it should be okay if you have been very active over a period of a few hours, this doesn't mean that you have to be doing something particularly energetic like playing tennis or golf just walking around the town or the office would normally be sufficient.
To give you an idea of what to expect as a guide if you wear an automatic watch daily and lead a moderately active lifestyle it should be sufficient to keep the watch fully wound, even if you don't wear the watch overnight it should still be fine because it would normally build up at least 24 hours reserve during the course of the day.
If the watch hasn’t been worn for more than a day and most of its power reserve has been depleted, for example even if it's been sitting on a table, once you put it on and go for a walk or even just move around the house and garden it would normally be enough to to get it up to power, if however you decide to put it on in the afternoon and it hasn't been worn for a day it may not be able to build up enough power reserve to get it through the night. It makes sense in this situation to give it a manual wind to be certain. There is nothing worse than suddenly discovering that the watch has unexpectedly stopped and you've missed something which was scheduled at a specific time.
If you lead a very sedentary lifestyle or are elderly sometimes an automatic watch will struggle to build up sufficient reserve, we often find people such as accountants or lawyers who tend to be working on a computer for many hours a day frequently don't move their wrists enough to fully wind a watch. Many people in desk bound occupations need to give it a top up occasionally by winding the crown about 30 - 40 times, surprisingly even long haul pilots often struggle because they rarely leave the cockpit and their job does not require them to move their arms a great deal. Generally we would recommend that if a person is not very active or their job requires them to be sitting at a desk all day without walking around and they are also not active in the evening then it may be wise to consider a quartz or hybrid watch.
It has to be said that for most people even if they are not particularly active an automatic watch will be fine because there will be sufficient movement during the course of the day to keep it topped up, in any case it will not take very long once you own an automatic watch to get used to how it generally performs and how long its power reserve tends to last based on your personal activity level. Most buyers of course never discover how long the reserve will actually hold up on their watch because they wear it daily in which case it will usually never stop.
Q: What is PVD?
A: PVD plating is a method that can be used to change the surface properties of a material . The full name is Physical Vapor Deposition - you'll also see it referred to as Ion Plating, or IP, which is a variant on PVD. The PVD process requires placing the item to be coated in an inert (non-reactive) atmosphere, heating it up to around 400° C and effectively fine spraying it with the molecules that you want to coat it with hence the reference to vapour. PVD results in a coating up to a micron or so thick but although it is quite thin it won't flake off because the coating is interpenetrated with the underlying material to which it is bonded and this is what makes it so different from cheaper paint, powder coats, or anodizing.
SECOND HAND ALIGNMENT
Q: Is it a fault if the second hand of a quartz watch does not fall exactly on the markers?
A: Our service department sometimes receive inquiries from customers saying that the second hand on their watch does not always fall exactly on the minute markers. This is almost always within manufacturing tolerances, and occurs on most watch brands to a certain degree as you can see in the links below. A slight inaccuracy of the hand alignment is always possible, but this does not mean that the watch is faulty or has a manufacturing defect.
The reason this occurs is because the parts which move the hands of the watch are all controlled by mechanical parts, e.g. springs and gears. The stopping point of these components varies slightly after manufacturing due to the 'breaking in' process. This does not mean that a watch will become more misaligned over time, it just means that it is impossible to predict with perfect accuracy whether a second hand will line up perfectly after it has been manufactured. Of course on the other hand a watch can be exactly right on delivery but drift over time as parts break in and wear.
Whilst we appreciate it’s annoying to some clients and that it is quite easy to stress over the most minor of inaccuracies - however our watchmaker said buyers can be assured that minor hand misalignment is absolutely normal and is even evident in other high-end Swiss brands as referred to below. If secondhand alignment is a major concern the best route is to buy an automatic or sweep secondhand hybrid where this cannot arise.
For further information see these URL’s
Q: What does the MWC Warranty Cover?
A: The MWC International two year warranty covers any of the items as detailed in our warranty policy. Our service centre will inspect any items which require attention under warranty, we normally either repair or replace a watch with the same model or a similar model of higher specification model if the original replacement model is not unavailable.
It is vital that all repair and warranty work during the 24 months* of the warranty period MUST be carried out by an authorized MWC repair centre to avoid the watch being damaged by repairers unfamiliar with some of the technology which we use, examples include the Tritium GTLS tubes, screw in pins or Hybrid movements. If the watch has been opened by an unauthorized repair center this will invalidate the warranty and result in a chargeable repair to correct the problem.
Your Warranty Covers:
- GTLS Failure (within 12 months)
- Movement failure
- Hands coming off
- Manufacturing defects
- The Tritium GTLS vials coming off the dial or hands
- The Watch losing or gaining outside of the normal range in the first year
- Water Ingression (Subject to appropriate use of the watch and within its water resistance rating)
Your Warranty Does Not Cover:
- The Battery
- The Strap or bracelet
- Leakage due to use in a shower or bath
- Bezels becoming scratched, loose or lost
- Damage due to misuse or accidental damage
- Loss of the watch pins which hold the strap
- The glass being scratched, chipped or broken
- The Crown being broken or coming away from the case
- The case back being scratched, broken or damaged or the back becoming loose
- Faults or damage caused by an attempted repair by an unauthorized service center
- Water Ingression due to the crown being left unscrewed, this includes thermal shock which can arise if for example a watch is in the sun and then plunged into a cold pool
Q: My watch needs repair. Should I remove the strap before sending?
A: Because your watch may be replaced with a similar model if you have customized the strap or affixed a different type of strap, you may want to remove it before sending because if we exchange the watch it will be returned with the strap normally used on that model.
Q: My watch is sentimental, should I send it for repair?
A: Never send sentimental or engraved items for repair without contacting us because your watch could be replaced and the original may not be returned to you.
All MWC watches are covered by an international 24 month warranty. Please note certain restrictions apply as outlined above.
Warranties are not transferable. You Must Purchase your watch from an AUTHORIZED dealer for full warranty coverage to apply many items sold at low prices are used, surplus items or grey market watches.
Please file a ticket at https://mwc-service.com/ to enquire about a specific Reseller if the watch was supplied without a warranty card or you have concerns that the item might not be genuine.
If you have any further questions or need advice feel free to contact us by phone or email