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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A few of you might have seen my thread in the public forum where I'm asking for some assistance in finding a cool vintage-looking automatic watch. But just to keep the alternatives open, what are some good military or aviator watches that can be had for under $600 nowadays? Anything from the 1920's to the 1960's would be good, but WWII stuff is my first choice.

I would greatly appreciate any help here, I'm new to "serious collecting" so I have no clue where to start.
 

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Are you aware that most "Military" watches from WWII were very (by modern standards) small? Even the more recent stuff (like the MIL-W-46374's of the 80's and 90's) were in the 39mm range. BTW, I'd consider the 46374's to be probably the best "value" for your money, if you're looking for a genuine mil-spec watch for daily use.

MIL-W-46374 MILITARY FIELD WATCHES
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I used to own a Bulova A-11. Are all of those type A-11 the same size?

Edit: 35mm to 40mm are the perfect size for my wrist, currently wearing a 35mm Lemania. Under 35mm does work, but anything under 30mm is a no-go.
 

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With military watches, you need to watch out! Real military watches are sought after which a) jacks up the prices for the real ones and b) creates an inudstry for turning non military watches of roughly the same age into "military style" watches and advertising them on eBay or the like without the necessary word "style" in the description! Before rushing in and buying a specimen, it is highly advisable to learn a lot first or get the opinion of some experts.

Hartmut Richter
 

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as far as Aviator AND affordable price go one cannot go past Poljot Aviator. You can get either 24H or 12H dials.
they are manual wind but very cooling looking and in decent enough size :)
 

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try looking up vintage 60s/70s Seiko military watch. It may not have really been a military issue but the chance of it being larger and still very nice looking is good. And besides that-there is nothing weong with a 70s Seiko as its one of my all time favorite brands. I had a hankering for a plain military watch about 5yrs ago and found nothing the really struck me. I ended up buying a a more modern Seiko 7s26 with a black dial, plain white markers and a 24hr inner non-rotating bezel -the purpose which was to grow the size of the case to 44mm-but its stepped up and looks like it would rotate.

Other then that-for <$600 I can't think of many 'aviator' style military. Possibly the british CWC broad arrow watches (there are others by Smiths) but I'm not much of an expert in those.
 

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You can look for the German DH pieces, but they are a horrible minefield. Here's a good resource on them:
DH / DU / D Watches
The trouble with them is, that the majority of them are being sold from the Ukraine, which most unfortunately is known for fakes and frankens.
There are original (non-frankenized) pieces coming from there, but watch out for redials and re-lumed ones.
The DH fit in the "$300 and more" range, which is still better than the British WWW ones- where $800-$900 seems to be the absolute minimum. But here, the combination of brand and rarity applies. Cyma or Buren don't go for that much, but an Omega, despite being apparently one of the most common WWWs, sells for more- sometimes even more than the more sought-after Eterna. Looked at these on eBay, and the prices are only getting more and more horrible. So, the range for these is between $900 and the price of an average car (and of the Grana...). And truth be told, if I had the choice between the two, I'd go buy a new car.
The price frenzy has already influenced the military watches made much later- anything with a broad arrow logo on it sells at truly disgusting prices. No, seriously- even a military Smiths from the 1950s/1960s gets close to the WWW level. Ridiculous.
I guess that a DH will be a good thing to look for then- they've got the looks... and a shock device, which no WWW or ATP has. But before you decide to buy anything, you might want post the link to the listing here- so that you can get some more info before spending a bloody lot of money.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Op said he's mainly interested in an automatic which would eliminate most ww2 era watches.
I said I was looking for a modern automatic, but I'm cosndiering going for a vintage watch instead.

Ayways, I've ordered a watch from Laco so I'm not gonna buy anything else yet, but I'm still looking at other watches. :)
 

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And the vast majority of military watches in general is eliminated. Military automatic? Ummm... among vintage watches, I don't think that a lot of these can be found. Not many military-issued ones, for sure. Well, there's the Rolex Milsub and the military Seamaster 300, but these are "affordable" only if you're of the Rolls-Royce Phantom-driving kind. Or if when you go shopping, it looks like this: "I'll have this Bugatti Veyron, that yacht, a villa on the French Riviera, and a can of Coke."
In terms of contemporary military-style automatics, there's the Hamilton Khaki Field 38mm... and that's just about it. Yes, it has the Vietnam War-era looks to it, but it's not vintage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
When it comes to old military issued watches I want them to be handwinding, not automatic. I was simply reffering to my original plan of buying a modern automatic with a vintage look.(I've done thos now by the way, ended up with a Laco Flieger with a type B dial) :)


I actually own a Hamilton Khaki Field 38mm, it's my daily "beater" watch. Love that thing.
 

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Just out of curiosity... What's the size of the Laco? The range of available sizes is 36-45mm. IMO, a good choice. Inexpensive (some of them at least), rugged, legible, and it's got the simple "aviator" looks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I got the 42mm Bielefeld. It's gonna get interesting testing out a watch this big. If it proves to be too big I can always get the 36mm.

Sent from my SM-G850F using Tapatalk
 

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Laco is a good choice. I like those 'Beobachtungsuhr' models. What I know is that these watches due to lack of bezel wear larger though.

As a side note for your automatic search and future acquirements, you can have a look to vintage Glycine Airman. They are not military issued but have been used widely by USAF personnel,especially during the Viet-Nam war.
 
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