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Hi! I'm Korean and recently got discharged from my country's army after 2 years of service.

I've been developing an interest for vintage watches, and my current rotation of watches lack a field watch (mostly dressy ones and two Casios I wore in the army).

So as a way of celebrating my discharge, remembering my days as a soldier, and making an excuse for a new watch, I've decided to get something related to the Korean War; as for now the Korean War watches I'm aware of are the A-17s from Bulova and Waltham, but I'm yet to be bought by their design. Ones like the Dirty Dozen and W10s look much more appealing to me...

Could anyone kindly tell me what kinds of watches would have been used throughout the Korean War?
 

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Alex, the A-17 is the only one I have seen written about. I imagine a lot of GIs wore their own watches from home or bought them at the big PX before going overseas.
 
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Alex, the A-17 is the only one I have seen written about. I imagine a lot of GIs wore their own watches from home or bought them at the big PX before going overseas.
Thanks for the reply! Been expecting that... any chance the A-11s may had been given out in Korea as well?
 

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Thanks for the reply! Been expecting that... any chance the A-11s may had been given out in Korea as well?
Sorry, I don't collect military issued watches and my Army days were in the 1990s. There were plastic cased Marathon hand winders issued sometimes when I was in but I never got one. You might just try searching for Korean War photos and trying to ID watches. Probably a long shot but you might see some studio portraits that are clear enough.
 
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Sorry, I don't collect military issued watches and my Army days were in the 1990s. There were plastic cased Marathon hand winders issued sometimes when I was in but I never got one. You might just try searching for Korean War photos and trying to ID watches. Probably a long shot but you might see some studio portraits that are clear enough.
Thanks. Really appreciate the help!
 

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The military did have a Spec Wristwatch contracted during the Korean War. There were dozens of contractors including Elgin and Bulova. The Army even went so far as to develop and manufacture their own wrist watches and contracted out for new types of watches. For example the Army developed and manufactured in tiny numbers the Radio-Wrist Watch. It was part of the Army Radio miniaturization program but turned out to be popular among civilians as the Dick Tracy. Elgin created their Electric to propose and test by the U.S. Army, with illumanted face. Didnt hold up.

If you are looking for a brand for the Watches created for the military during the Korean War it will be something like:

Watch. 1 Each. Steel Case. 17 Jewel. Illuminated Face. NSN 123-45-6789-1234.

No brand, they were just cheap, $2 contract watches. And the original KATUSA's would have been wearing the same Watch.
 

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The military did have a Spec Wristwatch contracted during the Korean War. There were dozens of contractors including Elgin and Bulova. The Army even went so far as to develop and manufacture their own wrist watches and contracted out for new types of watches. For example the Army developed and manufactured in tiny numbers the Radio-Wrist Watch. It was part of the Army Radio miniaturization program but turned out to be popular among civilians as the Dick Tracy. Elgin created their Electric to propose and test by the U.S. Army, with illumanted face. Didnt hold up.

If you are looking for a brand for the Watches created for the military during the Korean War it will be something like:

Watch. 1 Each. Steel Case. 17 Jewel. Illuminated Face. NSN 123-45-6789-1234.

No brand, they were just cheap, $2 contract watches. And the original KATUSA's would have been wearing the same Watch.
Thanks for the help! Very interesting story on the Elgin
 

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The issue watch at the time was the A-17 (still in stores and still issued was the A-11).

The major difference between the 11 and the 17 was the A-17 had the 12-24hr dial and the later production versions also incorporated 17 jewel movements and all stainless steel cases, whereas the A-11 had 15 jewel movements and plated cases.


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The issue watch at the time was the A-17 (still in stores and still issued was the A-11).

The major difference between the 11 and the 17 was the A-17 had the 12-24hr dial and the later production versions also incorporated 17 jewel movements and all stainless steel cases, whereas the A-11 had 15 jewel movements and plated cases.


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Mil spec 539s (aka A-11) required a hacking lever and always had 16 jewels. 15 jewels were civilian models.
 

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Thanks for replying! I'd really appreciate some information on the watch, I've tried Google but there aren't a lot out there.
There is def. info but like most usmc watches there isnt much documentation at least not on the 747. but here are some cools things to read. I think only about a 1000 were made but cab be had between 400-600

YOU MAD, BILL, YOU MAD (this guy is funny)
 

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The Civilian version of "The Military Watch" from 1951-1953 had no branding either. It was just called "The Military Watch" and was sold all over the United States with the promotion "Wear the Watch the Military Wears". 17 Jewel (not 15 or 16) and illuminated Dial. Civilian, same as the military contract watches. The Civilian version cost the same everywhere, $16.95. Comparing Korean War photo's to the Civilian advertisements at the time shows it to be the exact same Watch. The U.S. Forces are not the only troops wearing them, photo's of the Australian Forces show them wearing the exact same Watch that the U.S. Military is wearing. The fact that you dont start seeing them advertised until 1951, rather than 1950, says they are contract Watches and it took those first contracts at least some months to get to the field.
 
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