A lot of brands make military-inspired watches, but not many make watches for the military. Marathon is one of the latter. And one of those watches is the General Purpose Mechanical, an iteration on its own GG-W-113 Field Watch. That timepiece was created in the 1980s and built to the strict military standard of the day. It was supplied to the armed forces in both Canada and the United States.
This newest model is also marketed as an Officer’s Watch and, like the GG-W-113, adorns the wrists of American servicemen and women around the world.
The reissue, of sorts, resembles the original to a large extent; however, it has been updated to meet with changing contemporary standards. The GG-W-113 was built by a select group of military suppliers other than Marathon—most notably by Hamilton and Benrus—but where, by the 80s, those watches were often quartz, the Marathon model maintained a mechanical movement throughout its history.
The Officer’s GPM also differentiates itself through its unique case shape. The two-piece case has scalloped sides, which sweep away from the slender integrated bezel for a much more organic appearance. The asymmetrical silhouette offers a small degree of protection to the knurled crown. The only other watch with a similar sculptural mien is CWC’s G10 Collection. The Marathon Officer’s Watch, for its part, has a cohesive brushed and parkerized finish—a treatment that improves the surface texture and protects the 316L stainless steel from corrosion and scratches. It also provides for a unified, graphite satin exterior.
It measures 39mm in diameter, but that dimension includes the sizeable crown. In reality, the watch wears much smaller, especially when you consider the conservative lug to lug length of 44.25mm. It is only 11mm thick and sports a screw down case back. Additionally, the Officer’s Watch has squared off, drilled lugs that taper abruptly to 16mm at the strap.
Under the flat sapphire crystal is the ubiquitous dial layout found on a number of traditional field watches. It features two printed scales—a large 12-hour Arabic register around the outside, and a smaller 24-hour track on the inside. The chapter ring is circumscribed in a 60-second track with straightforward batons indicating the hour positions. The stark white on black juxtaposition here ensures a high degree of legibility.
I particularly like the syringe handset Marathon have chosen with its shovel-tipped seconds. In many ways this is one area where the dial clearly distinguishes itself from other military provisioners, while still adhering to the strictures of military specifications.
Marathon uses tubes filled with tritium to lume the hands and the hour markers (thus the “H3” and radioactive symbol on the dial). This, too, is a military requirement. While tritium has a half-life of about twelve years, after which it becomes inert, the benefit of this method is that radio-luminescent material does not require charging from an outside light source and offers a steady, consistent illumination 24 hours a day.
Inside the Officer’s Watch beats the Swiss ETA 2801. This manual wound caliber has 17 jewels and oscillates at 4HZ (28 800vph). When fully wound, it will provide approximately 42-hours of continuous power.
It comes on a Defense Standard Nylon NATO with robust stainless steel hardware.
|Case||316L Stainless Steel|
/w Parkerized Finish
39mm Diameter (Case/Crown)
44.25mm Lug to Lug
16mm Lug Width
Screw Down Case Back
50m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire|
Matte Black Dial
Printed Arabic Numerals
Tritium Gas Tube Lume
(42-Hour Power Reserve When Fully Wound)
|Strap||DEFSTAN Nylon NATO|
Marathon Officer’s Watch (GPM) 39mm
Marathon Watches, founded in 1939, is a family-owned company, now in its fourth generation. It has been a military watch provider since 1941. Although its timepieces are designed in Canada, they are built by the brand’s Swiss factory in La Chaux de Fonds. The current iteration of the Officer’s Watch, or General Purpose Mechanical in Stainless Steel, adheres to the military specifications as laid out in MIL-PRF-46374G document.
The Officer’s Watch has a relatively thin crystal and a push-pull crown which translate into only 50m of water resistance; while not a diver, it should nonetheless be sufficient to survive weather and the occasion dunking while on adventure. Also, be aware that a 16mm lug width will limit strap options.
While the Marathon Officer’s Field Watch is small, it wears very comfortably. The satin finish is immaculate for a tool watch and the sculptural case shape is very appealing. Its purpose-built construction is obvious in many of the details—drilled lugs, sterile dial, unsigned crown—but that is also part of its appeal. The Officer’s Watch is an authentic recreation of the brand’s GG-W-113, but also an actual contemporary MIL-SPEC. Designed to meet the exacting needs of combat infantry, the watch is robust and reliable with an excellent movement. The ETA 2801, with its Incabloc Shock System, was in fact the same movement used in the original GG-W-113.
The Marathon Officer’s Watch retails for $825USD. For more information, please visit the brand website.
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