Off the Cuff: Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue

Today, Marathon released the latest iteration of their long-standing JDD series of Search and Rescue watches—the Arctic White JDD.  It is not often that we get a new watch from the brand. As a producer of military timepieces, Marathon must ensure that each model in their stable adheres to strict military specifications as laid out in the MIL-PRF-46374G document, which is a restrictive parameter to work within. So, the Arctic White JDD is reason for celebration among brand aficionados. A recent “teaser” on the company’s social media platforms drew numerous speculative comments from adherents, clearly demonstrating the level of excitement around such a release.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue @calibre321

But let’s be clear, if you were looking for a desk diver, this ain’t the watch for you. Marathon wasn’t worried about fitting the Arctic White JDD under any cuffs. This watch was built for the rigours of the field.

JDD—which—stands for Jumbo Day/Date—is a collection of 46mm dive watches, produced primarily for Search and Rescue teams around the globe. The Red Maple Jumbo Diver’s Quartz (JSAR), for example, was made for Canada’s provincial police forces, while the IDF Yamam JDD is issued to the counter terrorism unit of the Israeli Defense Forces. In short, these are watches with purpose.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
30ATM diver watch @calibre321

Much like the brand’s smaller GSAR line, the standard JDD is a brushed stainless steel, 30ATM diver with an automatic Swiss movement–only wider, thicker, longer, and heavier. In 2021, Marathon added the Arctic White dial to its GSAR line after much research and development. The idea behind the dial change was less about aesthetics, or choice, and more about constructing something essential to usage in the far north—where glare from a combination of ice and snow can be an issue.  

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Robust case design @calibre321

The Arctic White JDD meets the same purpose. As a milspec diver, it abides by rules of legibility and strength as set down by the American government in 1964, and last updated in 1999.  The Arctic JDD is also over-engineered to meet and surpass the ISO6425 standards for dive watches.

Beyond its 46mm diameter, the watch is a whopping 18mm thick with a lug to lug of approximately 55mm, and a slightly svelter lug width of 22mm. As with the GSAR, the JDD employs an extra-high unidirectional rotating bezel. Its robust knurls make it easy to manipulate with gloves or mitts, as the case may be.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Highly legible milspec dial @calibre321

On the flip side, the tall bezel also allows for a steep drop down to the white dial. This deep dial, surrounded by a brushed metal rehaut and white chapter ring, aids in achieving the desired legibility by avoiding glare. Like the standard JDD, there is a minute track around the outer edge, followed by tritium gas tubes and bold Arabic numerals on the hours. The syringe-style hands are also equipped with tritium, explaining the radioactive symbol and H3 text at the centre of the dial. Unlike the GSAR line, the JDD series incorporates the 24-hour scale—required to meet military specs—into the rehaut, leaving the dial less cluttered. A stark red seconds hand completed the layout.  

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Depth @calibre321

Tritium lume has the benefit of glowing consistently and without charge. In the northern regions, for which this watch was designed, this would be essential during the winter months when the sun never truly rises. There is, nonetheless, a MaraGlo pip at twelve on the bezel.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Tritium tubes and MaraGlo @calibre321

The watch, which is designed in Canada but built in Switzerland, employs the Sellita SW220. The calibre has been outfitted with an Incabloc shock absorption system and offers 42-hours of power reserve.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Tall, knurled, 120-click bezel @calibre321

Available on a black rubber strap, the watch is featured here with its 14-link stainless steel bracelet. The bracelet is equipped with a floating double screw link system, locking clasp, and dive extension.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Solid link stainless steel bracelet with floating double screw link system @calibre321



Case316L Stainless Steel
46mm Diameter
55mm Lug to Lug
18mm Thick
Unidirectional Bezel
Screw back and Crown
300m Water Resistance
Dial & CrystalFlat Sapphire Crystal
Printed Numerals
/w 12 & 24-Hour Scales
H3 Tritium Gas Tube Hour Markers
& in Syringe Hands
Incabloc Shock Absorber
High Torque Pinions
Steel Suspension
26 Jewels
28 800bph
Day/Date @ 3
42-Hour Power Reserve
StrapRubber Strap
/w Bracelet Option

Marathon 46mm Arctic White JDD


Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
A robust everyday carry @calibre321

Of Interest

Like all of Marathon’s watches, the Arctic JDD is hand-assembled in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, ensuring the highest level of craftsmanship and accuracy. The brand is an official supplier to NATO and other governments around the world.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Huge wrist presence @calibre321


While the bracelet of the Arctic JDD is robust with an excellent satin brushed finish, the clasp is stamped, rather than milled. This may be a milspec requirement. I am not sure. Certainly not a deal breaker. At least it has what many dive bracelets don’t–a diver’s extension–making it functional in the job for which the watch was designed.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Austere, utilitarian good looks @calibre321

Final Thoughts

While the Arctic White JDD is not as polyvalent as its smaller GSAR brother, it is a beast of watch. Those who enjoy the wrist presence of a heavy sports watch will definitely appreciate its weight and heft—particularly on the bracelet. The addition of the white dial also removes some of the timepiece’s tactical quality, opening up more opportunities for wear. Despite its austere, utilitarian design–or perhaps because of it–the Arctic JDD is quite an attractive piece. Nonetheless, its size and robust nature leave no room for argument, this a purpose-driven tool watch.

The Arctic White JDD retails for $2500CAD on rubber and $3000CAD on the bracelet. For more information, please visit the brand website.

Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue Watch Review
Marathon 46mm Arctic JDD Search and Rescue @calibre321


About the author

Brent Robillard is a writer, educator, craftsman, and watch enthusiast. He is the author of four novels. You can follow him on Instagram.

Off The Cuff articles are full-length, hands-on reviews of the watch in question and represent the opinion of the author only. All photos are original, unless specified otherwise. If you would like to have your watch reviewed on this site, contact us here.

Please understand that using any links to products on this site might result in us making money.

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