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U.S. Military Watches MIL-W-46374
U.S. Military Wrist Watches MIL-W-46374
The MIL-W-46374 series of U.S. Military wrist watches began with publication of the specification on 30 October 1964. The line continues into the 21st Century as the technology has gone from the mechanical movements common during the period of the Vietnam War to modern electronic movements that are much more accurate and maintenance free.
The concept was for an inexpensive field watch for infantry and service troops, with a plastic case and no repairable parts. The design of the dial was borrowed from the well conceived MIL-W-3818B watch which was already in use.
Following publication of the revised version MIL-W-46374D specification on 10 October 1986, MIL-W-46374 expanded into a full line of military watches for a range of duties. The line continues today with additional amendments and changes to the MIL-W-46374 spec as explained in more detail below and on the Olive-Drab.com page Modern U.S. Military Watches.
Specification MIL-W-46374 OD Plastic Watch
The first version of the standard will be found with markings such as these, in a circle around the edge of the back cover and in horizontal lines on the back itself:
The contract number and manufacturer (Benrus, Belforte) will also appear.
The next version was MIL-W-46374A, published September 1968, with watches made by Hamilton, Westclox and Benrus. This version of the spec permitted plastic, corrosion resistant steel or stainless steel material for the case, covered by a series of amendments over the production life roughly from 1970-1975.
One example of markings would be:
Radiation Symbols Added with MIL-W-46374B
The big change with MIL-W-46374B, published 7 May 1975, was the requirement for "H3" and radiation symbol to appear on the watch dial because of the luminous paint that was used. H3 means tritium, the radioactive isotope of hydrogen that provides the "glow in the dark" feature. Other markings on the case and in the packaging were required to indicate the slight hazard from the radioactive material, a recognition of greater safety concern than in previous times.
The watches had 7 jewel manual wind mechanical movements, stainless steel case, acrylic crystal. There may be a few plastic B watches, but those are not typical. The strap was OD nylon with a black anodized steel buckle. Typical markings for the MIL-W-46374B watches will be these lines from the only two manufacturers:
Dates from 1977 through the early 1980s will be found for these watches. The most rare version is the Timex with plastic case.
The C version of the MIL-W-46374 specification came out 15 April 1983 and had only one major change, a return to plastic for the case material although now the case is larger and sturdier than the earlier MIL-W-46374 plastic watches. The only manufacturer of MIL-W-46374C watches was Stocker & Yale (abbreviated to SandY). Typical markings will be:
Some of these watches have an additional line with 'STOCKER & YALE, INC.' between the MIL-W and the NSN lines.
The MIL-W-46374D specification issued 10 October 1986 includes numerous sub-types of watches. Types 1 and 2 are the basic field models with a plastic housing and mechanical movements, but the Type 1 specified a much better movement, minimum 15 jewels, with greater accuracy while Type 2 continued the standards of older MIL-W-46374 specs. Type 3 was the first specification for a battery-driven quartz watch with much greater accuracy, only allowing deviations of a few seconds a month. Types 4 and 5 were variants of the Type 3, for different handling of the battery.
MIL-W-46374D watches were made by Stocker & Yale as well as Hamilton with black and OD nylon straps. Typical markings will be:
Although most MIL-W-46374D watches were plastic, Hamilton made a stainless steel MIL-W-46374D watch based on their GG-W-113 watches.
Modern MIL-W-46374 Watches
MIL-W-46374E, F, and further models are covered on the Olive-Drab.com page regarding Modern U.S. Military Watches.
Recommended Books about Military Wrist Watches
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