MWC NATO Pattern Stainless Steel Hybrid Military Pilots Chronograph with Sapphire Crystal
SKU Code: CHR20/SS/HY
The MWC NATO chronograph in stainless steel case is based on the same basic specification used by several other manufacturers of NATO chronographs but with a number of detail improvements to improve operation and visibility. Although the watch is made to a specification which is specifically designed to meet the needs of military aircrews it is also ideal for both airline and GA pilots. The actual case size is 45.5mm and the chronograph uses a high-performance VK68 hybrid movement.
This chronograph also has a 24 hour (Military Time) subsidiary dial to show the time in 24-hour format. This feature was specified for a contract because its potentially important when personnel are working for extended periods without being in natural daylight during the course of the day.
The main difference between these hybrid watches and a mechanical chronograph is that the mechanical models are powered by a mainspring which is regulated by a balance wheel and controlled by a set of precision levers, hammers and gears. With this hybrid chronograph, it is powered by a battery, regulated by a quartz crystal and also controlled by a set of precision levers, hammers and gears so in essence, it shares some features with both a mechanical and a quartz movement, combining the feel of a mechanical watch with the advantage of quartz accuracy. The factory rating for the accuracy of this movement is +/-20 seconds a month but we find they tend to be better than this on average and vastly superior to any mechanical chronographs which tend to be accurate to +/- 2 or 3 seconds a day at best.
The biggest plus of all with the hybrid is that it will need significantly less maintenance than any mechanical chronograph and much less prone to suffering reliability issues in the long term, clearly, for many buyers, it's biggest plus is that to anyone handling this watch it will appear outwardly to be a traditional mechanical model.
When we refer to the watch as a hybrid this is because it has a battery powering the movement through coils and also a quartz oscillator, but the chronograph is mechanically actuated and controlled. Push the start/stop button and the second-hand steps into action—and resets—just the same as a mechanical movement would. When you push the top button you get a crisp response just like a mechanical chronograph and the timing hand starts ticking in 1/5 sec increments, at first glance our watchmaker thought the watch had a Valjoux 7750 inside. When you push the stop button at 5 o’clock you get the same crisp, feel as the Chrono stops. Press it again and the hand snaps straight back to 12.
These models are ideal if you own several watches because they don’t have to be wound before you wear them, all they need is a battery swap every few years and a check of the water-resistance.
One final quirk is that there is no tick which many people find baffling and even here at MWC we would be unable to determine if this was a quartz or mechanical watch if we didn't know the movement that was inside but everyone here agreed we would assume that it was mechanical based on its behaviour so this really is the best of the two technologies and a unique timepiece.
Technical Details of this Military Chronograph
- Case Diameter: 44mm exc crown and 45.5mm inc crown
- Lug to Lug 49mm
- Thickness: 13.5mm
- Dial Colour: black
- Case Material: 316L steel
- Caseback: 316L stainless steel
- Water Resistance: 10atm (100m or 330ft)
- Glass: Sapphire Crystal with Anti Reflective Coating*
- Strap: 22mm NATO (Supplied with 1 x Black and 1 x Grey NATO Nylon Webbing Straps)
- Illumination - Super Luminova for maximum nighttime performance
- Movement: VK68 Meca-quartz
- Battery: Silver Oxide SR936SW
- Battery Life: Approx. 3 years
* A lot of people ask us what are the benefits of sapphire crystal over a standard mineral crystal? The answer is that synthetic sapphire is by far the best material for watch crystals because it is very strong and also shatter and scratch-resistant, these characteristics make it very appealing to military and security personnel, police officers and people who lead active outdoor lifestyles, these groups account for over 70% of our customers. To get things into perspective we find that when clients have accidents with watches resulting in a cracked crystal over 90% are usually watches with mineral glass crystals, even factoring in that we use hardened mineral crystals they still do not come close to sapphire for durability under adverse conditions. The reason that sapphire crystals are so strong is that after the sapphire glass is manufactured it is also heat-treated to remove its internal stresses—which can cause weakness—it is then made into the watch crystals and two layers of anti-reflective coating are applied, interestingly sapphire crystal is now used on the latest iPhone. Of course, sapphire crystal comes at a price hence you find that it's normally only fitted to higher-end watches.