MWC Mechanical/Quartz Hybrid NATO Pattern Military Pilots Chronograph in Non Reflective Black PVD Finish
The MWC PVD NATO chronograph is based on the same basic specification used by several other leading 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 VK68 hybrid movement.
The difference between these hybrid watches and mechanical chronographs 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 a 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, in essence, it shares some features with both a mechanical and a quartz movement, combining the feel and appearance of a mechanical watch with the advantage of quartz accuracy. In terms of operation, hybrid watches appear outwardly to be mechanical, 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 looked at the prototype thought the watch had a Valjoux 7750 or 7765 movement. 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. 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 only +/- 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 is much less prone to suffering reliability issues in the long term.
These models are also 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.
The special covert matt black non-reflective PVD finish used for this watch is often specified in military contracts for many special forces units as well as by anti-terrorist units and for various covert operations. In the PVD process, the steel is not black all the way through because the colour is created by a special chemical PVD plating process which is vastly superior to the painted finish used on some lower quality watches which can easily fade or rub off. This PVD process means that the colour of the steel is altered at a molecular level, therefore it will not deteriorate even during heavy usage although it can be destroyed if the case is badly damaged by a piece of metal being gouged out or if the case is worn down by continuous heavy abrasion against rocks etc.
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 which movement that was inside, everyone in the office 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 excluding the crown and 45.5mm including the crown
- Lug to Lug 49mm
- Thickness: 13.5mm
- Dial Colour: black
- Crown: Screw Down Locking
- Case Material: 316L PVD Steel
- Caseback: 316L stainless steel
- Water Resistance: 10atm (100m or 330ft)
- Crystal: Sapphire with anti-reflective coating*
- Illumination - Super Luminova for maximum nighttime performance
- Movement: VK68 Mechanical/Quartz Hybrid
- Strap: 22mm NATO (NATO Nylon Webbing Strap)
- Battery: Silver Oxide SR936SW
- Battery Life: Approx. 3 years
- 24 Months Guarantee
* 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.