Men’s 1944 Hamilton Military Ordnance Watch

Men’s 1944 Hamilton Military Ordnance Watch

Item: W2334


Watch's origin: American


Number of jewels: 17


Case: Star Watch Case Co.


Manufacturer: Hamilton


Type of Watch:  Wrist


Lug Width: 16mm


Dimension: 31mm wide by 38mm from lug-to-lug


Composition: Base-Metal


Other Attributes:   Military

Price: $695.00

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Today's military wristwatches are, in effect, disposable: their specifications state that they are made to be discarded when they stop running. However, 60 years ago, when WWII was raging, much more was expected from a timepiece. Resources weren't as available, technology was relatively simple and no one could afford to throw anything away. Watches had to be sturdy enough to stand up the grueling salt, heat and humidity of the Pacific Theater as well as the numbing cold of the European Campaign. American watch houses ceased civilian production during these years and devoted themselves to producing timing instruments for the war. Hamilton, then one of the largest watch manufacturer in the world, produced bomb timers and fuses, aircraft and tank watches, ship's chronometers, pocket and wrist watches. Of the timepieces carried in the field, the Hamilton ordnance "field" wristwatch — worn in the field by real fighting men — seems to be one of the most romanticized and desirable WWII watches produced for the war effort. Specifications for the watch were very exclusive: they had to be screw-back and as waterproof as possible, have a sub second hand and be rugged enough to take the trenches.

The agreement with American watch houses was that they would support the war effort by supplying timepieces for ground troops and equipment; however, after the war all wristwatches had to be destroyed. American watch executives felt that if these watches were allowed back into the states, they would cripple business at a time when plants had not been able to produce and sell civilian watches for years. The United States government agreed and most of these faithful time companions were unceremoniously crushed, buried, or dumped to prevent them from competing with civilian watch sales.

Its case, which measures 31mm in diameter and 36mm from lug-to-lug, is correct, original and ordnance marked. We've left her just the way she came from the estate, aside from completely cleaning, oiling and calibrating it so that it keeps time as it did more than 70 years ago. If rare and attractive are what you seek; if the perfect Town and Country/Boardroom/country club military/sport Hamilton timepiece is your grail, you've found it.