CWC - G10 'Fat Boy' from 1980.
The Cabot Watch Company (CWC) is a great place to start a Military themed collection, in part because they have a genuine military issued provenance (with some models still issued through to this day) and they were often issued in sizable enough quantities to ensure that they are still at an accessible price point.
This write up is aimed at the General issue G10 Quartz, that was procured by the British MOD from 1980 through till the early 2000’s. Some batches of the G10 were produced by Prescista and Newmark but the originator of the design and the majority of production are by CWC.
The Quartz G10 was issued to all branches of the Military and due to its high degree of accuracy and general toughness/shock resistance it qualified as not only general issue but also as a ‘Navigator’ grade timepiece that was also used by Aircrews and the Royal Navy.
A timepiece used by either aircrew or ships navigators for navigation must have accuracy ‘to the second’ on a daily basis, one course correction (on instrument flying) or through a ship-board navigational sextant reading can mean miles of deviation from true position if the timepiece is out from ‘to the second’ timing.
From the late 1940’s through to the 1980’s the IWC and the Jaeger Le Coultre MK XI’s were the precision timepiece used in the RAF by Navigators. By the time of the 1980’s the maintenance demands and the innability to procure these watches from either IWC or JLC, not to mention the expense had made finding a replacement necessary.
CWC General Service Electronic watch - on a G10 Strap.
CWC stepped in and used a high grade 7 jewel ESA Quartz movement in the original batch of G10’s issued in both 1980 and 1982. This 7 jewel movement had outstanding accuracy, good battery life, sufficient shock resistance to take a beating and not miss a beat, could easily fulfill Defense Standard 66-4/issue 4, 29th Feb 1980 (watch, wrist, electronic - General service) and was priced to not break the bank.
The watch that I found recently came from the UK (Military Watch Trader) and was exactly what I was after, it was very clean, very original, one of the 1980 batch with the original (no circle) logo and has tritium lume that has aged beautifully.
A fair number of these watches saw service in the Falkland’s campaign and throughout the British armed forces…these original 80 and 82 watches are referred to as ‘Fat Boys’ because of the thickness of the ESA movement giving the case the nice chunky ‘Fat’ look that the later ETA Quartz powered variants did not have. Original Fat Boys are 13mm thick and the later production watches are 10mm thick.
Fat Boy with a standard G10.
Fat Boy stacked on CWC RN Quartz Diver.
The G10 is a great place to start a Military collection, the original 1980 Fat Boys are getting increasingly hard to find in clean original condition many were used continually over long periods of time.
Many examples that can be found from the Army for example have led hard life's as they were issued, returned to stores for a battery change/servicing then re-issued to soldiers in the field. Thousand's are still in service with the British Military to this day.
In conclusion I would say the CWC’s in general are a great ‘real world’ military timepiece to collect, the early G10’s were never intended as a ‘consumer product’ they were designed purely as a military ’tool’.
With their Tritium lume, their slightly antiquated look, their real military provenance and quartz movements mean's that early G10’s are priced right and with a little TLC can become a daily wearer for years to come.