Historical Perspectives: CWC: The Watch That Replaced The MilSub
A Rolex MilSub
But there’s another jump keep an eye out there, provided by an unassuming British brand – Cabot Watch Company – that really supplanted the Rolex MilSub on the wrists of Royal Navy jumpers, and its first form, with a self-winding mechanical development, is far more extraordinary than the Rolex it replaced.
Cabot Watch Company, or CWC, doesn’t have a long, rich history like so many of the huge Swiss brands, nor an author with a melodic name who created a complication in the nineteenth century. Truth be told, it was established in 1972 by a money manager who saw a chance. In the mid 1970s, the British Ministry of Defense sourced watches from various brands. For jumpers, there were Omega and Rolex, for pilots, Precista, Newmark, and Hamilton, and for infantry, Smiths and Hamilton. In any case, by 1972, Smiths had quit making watches and Hamilton, confronting the Quartz Crisis, concluded that MOD agreements weren’t sufficiently rewarding to proceed. Recognizing what may be inevitable, Hamilton’s Managing Director for the UK, Ray Mellor, chose to go his own way.
Mellor had served in the Merchant Marine during World War II, on boats shipping troops across the Atlantic. In the wake of leaving Hamilton, Mellor was visiting Bristol in the southwest of England, when a name came to him. The celebrated voyager John Cabot had dispatched his New World undertaking from Bristol in the late fifteenth century, and Mellor’s inclination for the ocean drove him to call his new company, “Cabot Watch Company,” after the ocean chief. Given his set of experiences with Hamilton chipping away at contracts with the MOD, Mellor chose to center his endeavors there and soon CWC watches were being provided to the British Army, Navy, and Air Force.
CWC originator Ray Mellor can be seen here, fourth from right, during his days in the Merchant Marine. (Photograph: politeness Ray Mellor)
These CWC watches, worked to severe details set out by the MOD, looked practically indistinguishable from those that, lone every year or two prior, had “Hamilton” on their dials. They were completely made in Switzerland, with workmanlike ETA or Valjoux developments and unadorned steel cases with fixed tie bars. There was the unassuming General Service watch and the two-register “deviated” pilot’s chronograph, the last of which has become something of its very own collectible symbol, one of the supposed “Fab Four,” close by forms from Precista, Hamilton and Newmark.
Archival report showing the MOD determinations for a plunge watch. (Photograph: Courtesy CWC)
The one agreement CWC hadn’t figured out how to win was for jumping watches. The Royal Navy had a long history with Rolex, tracing all the way back to the 1950s, and even worked with Omega for some time during the ’60s. In any case, by the last part of the ’70s, maybe the more exorbitant cost of the Submariner made the MOD look somewhere else and, given its great connection with CWC, the Ministry came bringing in 1980.
CWC reacted with an intense programmed jump watch of its own, worked to the particulars of the MOD (DEF STAN 66-4 [Part 1] Issue 3, for those keeping track of who’s winning), which incorporated a turning bezel with a completely hashed Bakelite embed, sword hands and a strongly stamped dial wrapped in tritium lume, a 32mm mineral glass precious stone, and fixed tie bars for use with get through nylon lashes. Inside ticked the strong programmed ETA 2783. CWC sourced the somewhat breathtaking, angled 44mm steel case that was first made by MRP S.A., and utilized by numerous brands in the mid ’80s, from Heuer to Chronosport, among numerous others.
Quartz developments immediately supplanted programmed developments in CWC’s jump watches.
Of course, being the mid ’80s, quartz innovation was rapidly taking firm hold across the watch business, and it wasn’t some time before CWC began fitting the entirety of its watches with battery-fueled developments, from its General Service and pilot’s watches to the jumper. Indeed, the mechanical rendition of the Royal Navy jumper was just provided to the MOD in 1980 and 1981 (with some potentially streaming into ’82), making its run very short. To discover one now in fair condition can be an incredible chase also, given their planned use by jumpers discarding unexploded law in harbors, examining transport structures and doing other military moves. These watches are becoming incredibly uncommon and rather costly. Yet, for one that is far more extraordinary than a Rolex MilSub, they’re as yet a relative can hope for a gave military plunge watch.
Military issue etchings on the rear of a CWC plunge watch.
After the relocation to quartz developments, CWC kept on providing plunge watches to the MOD, in any event, when the Royal Air Force changed to Seiko and Pulsar for its pilot’s chronographs. There have since been a few cycles of Royal Navy jumpers, with PVD dark cases and a day/date work for the Special Boat Service beginning during the ’90s, and others with date or no date. Tritium offered approach to LumiNova also, with the notable “circle T” token on the dial supplanted by a circle L. The watches stay durable watches, positively rough and intentional, notwithstanding their now practically old fashioned appearance among all the G-Shocks seen on military wrists nowadays. The quartz forms make a pleasant option in contrast to the universal Seikos and Citizen jumpers out there, with a scramble of military believability and Swiss-made quality behind them. Word is that the Royal Marines and Special Boat Service actually get these jump watches from CWC.
Ray Mellor never truly proposed to offer his watches to the overall population. He had discovered his specialty with military agreements and business was acceptable. Be that as it may, around 1990, a London-based military stuff provider called Silverman’s, began purchasing observes straightforwardly from CWC to sell. Around this time, Mellor was preparing to move in an opposite direction from running his company and, given his great relations with Silverman’s, an arrangement was struck; the last got proprietor of the CWC brand. Mellor stayed included as a chief however took a secondary lounge from day by day activities until 2012, when he at long last resigned. Presently in his 90s, Mellor allegedly still comes to gatherings sometimes and assists with authentic data (like that sourced for this article).
The programmed CWC jumper is a lot more uncommon than the Rolex MilSub – and significantly more affordable. (Photograph: graciousness CWC)
While the later quartz jumpers are fairly collectible, particularly the gave ones, those uncommon 1980/81 programmed CWC jumpers are genuinely unique, addressing a temporary period in military plunge watches, a “changing of the watchman,” in a manner of speaking, from Rolex to CWC, and a scaffold from mechanical to quartz. The allure of a Rolex MilSub is that it is basically a watch from a huge extravagance brand redid to the particulars of a military unit for a novel reason. Yet, the allure of CWC watches is that they were made consistently to be simply military instruments, with no affectation or reminiscent name – Submariner or Seamaster – simply a caseback stepped with codes and stock numbers. To the individuals who appreciate the stripped-down utility of jump watches, or military watches by and large, the CWC jumper may very well be the best example.
CWC is wanting to reissue that first programmed jumper to the specific details later this late spring and we’ll make certain to cover it when it does. Meanwhile, more data on CWC’s present plunge watches can be found here .