MWC 1999-2001 Pattern Black PVD Quartz Military Divers Watch with Sapphire Crystal and 10 Year Battery Life - Ex Display Watch from the FEINDEF 2023 International Defense Exhibition in Madrid, Spain
MWC first manufactured the predecessor to this 300m/1000ft water resistant divers watch between the early 1990s and 2004, although some of the fine details such as the dial design changed over that period aesthetically the 1999-2001 pattern dial remains the clear winner due to the easily readable uncluttered layout and first rate night time performance, this watch retains that original dial pattern and although the original watches used tritium these new versions use Luminova but the encircled T has been retained for historical reasons.
Although this watch was originally discontinued by MWC nearly 20 years ago there was an interesting turn of events two years back when an MWC distributor in Australia told us they had discovered 500 brand new watches in their stockroom, the watches came to light when the current owners father retired and his son carried out a detailed stock check, these watches were made between 1999 and 2001, and had been supplied in batches of 500 over a three year period, the final delivery was somehow overlooked and although the current owner said his father could not recall how this happened we were offered the opportunity to buy these watches back, all of those watches are now sold but they had proven so popular we decided to remake the watch in the same design we had used over 20 years ago but at the same time carrying out significant upgrades to improve the overall specification, these improvements were possible due to advances in watch manufacturing which had taken place over the intervening 20 years. The main upgrades were the change from a Ronda 705 with a 5 year battery life to the Ronda 715li which only needs a battery replacement once every 10 years, we also upgraded the crystal from hardened mineral glass to sapphire which is vastly superior due to being highly scratch and shatter resistant. One further update was the use of a 120 click bezel versus the earlier watches which were 60 or 90 clicks.
This watch case is PVD treated, the PVD finish is often specified in military contracts for 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 many budget watches which can easily fade or rub off. The 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 compromised if the case is badly damaged by a piece of metal being gouged out or if the case is worn down by really heavy abrasion against rocks or something similar.
These watches are closely based on a case design originally made by the famous Swiss case making firm MRP S.A, other than a few minor updates the case is much the same as in the late 1970s, MRP was named after its founders M archand, R oth and P etignat, it was founded in 1953 and bought by Georges Hauert in 1979. The entire share capital now belongs to Mr Patrick Hauert so unlike many other major companies in the watch industry this company is still independent and going strong, the company website is here https://www.mrp-sa.ch In addition to MWC watches other watches using this case pattern have been produced by companies such as Precista, Nilax, Elvia and Heuer who were the predecessors to Tag Heuer and made the Heuer 844-1 in 1979, Chronosport another manufacturer made the Sea Quartz 30 - worn by Tom Selleck in the Magnum PI TV show, Elvia another manufacturer from the 1970s also continues to produce watches using this case and MWC are factory authorised distributors for this brand, moving to other present manufacturers CWC also continue to use this case design as do various other companies. It's interesting that few people realise how historically significant this case pattern is nor how well it has stood the test of time having been in continuous production for well over 40 years.
The basic design of these MWC watches goes back to the British Ministry of Defence (MOD) specification shown in the final image.
The watch measures 45mm including the crown and 40mm excluding the crown although it uses the same 20mm military nylon webbing strap as many other current MWC military divers watches which enables you to choose from a vast variety of NATO strap variants.
Dimensions and Specification:
Casing: Stainless Black Non-Reflective PVD Steel
Crown: Screwdown Locking
- Water Resistance: 30ATM/300m/1000ft
- Movement: Ronda 715li with 10 Year Battery Life
Dimensions: Width Inc Crown 45mm (Exc Crown 40mm)
- Thickness: 12mm
- Lug to Lug: 46.5mm
- Crystal Diameter 31mm
- Crystal Type: Sapphire with non reflective coating *
- Luminous Paint Type: Luminova
- 120 Click Unidirectional Bezel
- Weight: 89.5g
Strap: Black Nylon Webbing Strap
- Guarantee: 24 Months
* 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% 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.