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Discussion Starter #1
Whilst putting a new strap on one of my British issued military watches, a random thought occurred to me, and I wonder if anyone might have a theory on it? A very large number of western military watches have fixed lug bars, whereas virtually all the CCCP/Russian watches I have seen (3AKA3 or not) have removeable spring bars. Any ideas why this might be? As the old USSR had one of the largest standing armies around, I would have thought that if fixed bars were better, they would have featured heavily in their watches. :-S :-S
 

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Could be differences in purpose...

Aloha,

The watches issued by the British Ministry of Defence and the U.S. military were designed as for hard use, and the fixed strap bars, in conjunction with one-piece nylon straps, make it much harder to lose the watch due to strap pin failure. Although I've owned almost 20 CCCP/Russian watches (still own about 5 or 6) and about half of those have been the 3AKA3 variety, I'm not convinced that those watches were designed as to be worn for heavy military use. Keep in mind that using spring bars doesn't necessarily disqualify a watch from heavy use in my book, as Rolex and Seiko use them (very, very heavy duty versions) for their dive watches.

Just my $.02,

andy


Whilst putting a new strap on one of my British issued military watches, a random thought occurred to me, and I wonder if anyone might have a theory on it? A very large number of western military watches have fixed lug bars, whereas virtually all the CCCP/Russian watches I have seen (3AKA3 or not) have removeable spring bars. Any ideas why this might be? As the old USSR had one of the largest standing armies around, I would have thought that if fixed bars were better, they would have featured heavily in their watches. :-S :-S
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Re: Could be differences in purpose...

Aloha,

The watches issued by the British Ministry of Defence and the U.S. military were designed as for hard use, and the fixed strap bars, in conjunction with one-piece nylon straps, make it much harder to lose the watch due to strap pin failure. Although I've owned almost 20 CCCP/Russian watches (still own about 5 or 6) and about half of those have been the 3AKA3 variety, I'm not convinced that those watches were designed as to be worn for heavy military use. Keep in mind that using spring bars doesn't necessarily disqualify a watch from heavy use in my book, as Rolex and Seiko use them (very, very heavy duty versions) for their dive watches.

Just my $.02,

andy
Thanks for the idea Andy. Like you, I've had many CCCP/Russian watches, and can see what you mean, however they were virtually the only watches available to the USSR forces (as well as some of the civilian population), so maybe they knew something we don't! :-D There are various schools of thought in the "active enforcement" fields as to whether fixed bars are a good thing ('You could injure yourself in combat situations if your watchband snagged...' etc.), so maybe that could be a reason? Or, following Henry Ford's dictum, maybe the could have any type of bars they liked, as long as they were Spring bars! :-D :-D
 

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It is interesting to note that US military field watches always had springbars before the 1970's and switched to fixed bars for most of issue watfches after the mid 70's.
This is clearly a generalization, but I believe it proves the point.
My everyday beater is an Ollech and Wajs M-1. The watch is one of the sturdiest under the sun and I have used and abused it evr since I first got it over a year ago. It has always performed flawlessly except for the springbars.
I first lost them when using a sawsall, refurbishing a shop in Ontario. The vibrations simply losened the springbars and my watch literarily leapt from my wrist onto the floor. The same thing happened again this year after a massive fall, slipping on the pavement in front of my house in Toronto. I fell flat on my back and the watch smashed on the floor. When I got up, I still had the strap on but the watch was embedded in the mud under the hedge.
Springbars are ok if you're wearing a $50 Russian watch that can be easily replaced or if you're not likely to expose the watch to much shocks or vibrations. With a more consequent and more expensive timepiece that's intended for heavy use (and possibly abuse), fixed bars are the overwhelming choice.
 

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It is interesting to note that US military field watches always had springbars before the 1970's and switched to fixed bars for most of issue watches after the mid 70's.
What is more interesting is the fact that all US military watch specification, in the earliest editions specify fixed or non-removable spring bars, but later amendments and revisions allow for spring bars providing that they meet a static pull of 15 pound without damage. That makes me thing the watch suppliers had a voice in this.

But, then again, having witnessed a young man leap from the back of a truck, get his watch band catch on the railing, and leaving him supended a few inches off the ground by just his watch band, makes me think regular spring bands are adequate for military use.
 

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But, then again, having witnessed a young man leap from the back of a truck, get his watch band catch on the railing, and leaving him supended a few inches off the ground by just his watch band, makes me think regular spring bands are adequate for military use.
It's at that moment you are so glad you went with the tow rope strength nylon band to boot. Personally I want a watch band/bar combination that will break free before my bones will.
 

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But, then again, having witnessed a young man leap from the back of a truck, get his watch band catch on the railing, and leaving him supended a few inches off the ground by just his watch band, makes me think regular spring bands are adequate for military use.
Indeed. This makes straps such as the NATO type straps potentially extremely dangerous in a military/industrial context.
I do believe that health and safety regulations should be put in place and that straps should be redesigned to somehow snap off under a given amount of pressure (i.e. before the wearer's wrist does.)
This could be achieved by modifying the strap buckles and also advising against the practise of folding the strap back onto itself and back into the loops... If you know what I'm talking about...
 

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Well, according to unit SOP, you're not supposed to leap from the back of a truck.

But you are correct, every unit I was in, you were not supposed to wear ID tags, wedding rings, or watches (the only Army-approved jewelry) when working on aircraft or other vehicles, for just the reasons you mentioned. Wedding rings are potentially the worst for possibilty of injury.
 

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Wow, I never thought I would find a health and safety committee in a watch forum.:think:

Knowledge is power. Choice is freedom. We should all use both.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, I never thought I would find a health and safety committee in a watch forum.:think:
It's all thought provoking though. As Lysander says, wearing a wedding ring can be particularly hazardous (no comments from the married members, please;-) ), as if you get it caught on anything, it can rip your finger off at the knuckle joint, and the strength of NATO straps is legendary. If I recall correctly, Rick Allen, the drummer from Def Leppard had his left arm torn off at the shoulder by the heavy duty nylon seatbelt when he crashed his car way back in the early 1980's - same principle, I suppose.
 

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Shop/workplace safety has many layers. If you work with anything that spins, cuts, crushes, or rips bits off things you stand a chance of being caught up in the mechanism. I worked with snap-on tools for a year or so. Their mantra was tool safety, tool safety, tool safety. I was trained to give safety lectures and supplied with some memorable, gruesome, posters to drive the points home to the trainees(ok, badly paced pun). I visited aircraft maintenance workshops, army engineering units, industrial workshops of all kinds, radar maintenance workshops, automobile manufactures and the list goes on. Safety was just so front of mind all the time in these settings but accidents still happened. So the point is, its a balance between getting the job done and staying safe in the process. Be aware of where you are and where you are going to put your fingers, hands, arms, eyes and any other part of your body you hold dear and don't want to leave on the operating room floor after they amputated the mangled bit that's left. One second at 5000rpm is a lifetime if your digit is spinning on the end of the shaft!!! Something must have flipped the switch....end unscheduled safety lecture!!! :).
 
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