The Marathon Navigator is a line of military and pilot watches produced in Switzerland by the Canadian company Marathon Watch. Marathon is known for manufacturing rugged and durable timepieces primarily for military and professional use. The Navigator, like most of the brand’s timepieces, is designed to meet the specifications and demands of military personnel and pilots, ensuring durability and reliability in challenging conditions.
Originally the watch was commissioned by the Kelly Air Force Base—a major US military installation located in San Antonio, Texas which played a significant role in aircraft maintenance, repair, and logistics support. Base administration, which was searching for a watch that could withstand extreme pressure changes at high altitude, looked to Marathon, who were already well known for the legibility and accuracy of their timepieces. As a result, the Navigator saw military action in both the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
Its construction from a high impact composite fibreshell material makes it lightweight and comfortable enough for extended wear, which is crucial for military personnel who employ their watches in various operational scenarios.
The Navigator features a high-contrast dial with bold, easy-to-read numerals and markers, essential for quick and accurate timekeeping. This legibility was complemented in previous references with the use of tritium gas tubes to illuminate the hands and markers for better visibility in low light conditions.
However, this latest iteration of the Navigator turns to the watchmaker’s proprietary MaraGlo instead. MaraGlo refers to a luminous material, similar to Super-LumiNova or LumiBrite, used in Marathon’s watches since 2006. However, until recently, the material was primarily employed on bezel pips and other elements, rather than hour markers and hands. Earlier this year, Marathon released a limited run of their original 34mm GPQ with MaraGlo indices–and have done something similar in the JSAR line of quartz divers–but this is the first Pilot’s Navigator to receive the same treatment.
MaraGlo is designed to provide a consistent and long-lasting glow of up to eight hours after being sufficiently charged by an outside a light source. The goal, of course, is to ensure that the watch remains easily readable in low-light or dark environments, which is especially important for military and professional use, but also enjoyed by enthusiasts. As with any luminous material, MaraGlo requires exposure to light in order to charge up its luminescence. The watch will then emit this stored light gradually, providing illumination in the dark.
While tritium, without a doubt, lasts longer and does not require ‘charging,’ the gas emits a small amount of radiation and also comes at a small premium in cost. MaraGlo, on the other hand offers a much brighter—more explosive—luminescence in the early stages and then slowly and gradually fades over time.
The MaraGlo Black Navigator continues to feature the robust High-Torque FØ6 quartz movement, which is preferred for its low maintenance and high precision. The movement promises accuracy within -0.3/+0.5 seconds per day and has a battery life up to 94 months.
The watch comes on your choice of either a DEFSTAN or Ballistic Nylon NATO strap. It has a water resistance of 60 meters.
|Case||High Impact Composite Fibre|
48mm Lug to Lug
20mm Lug Width
60m Water Resistance
|Dial & Crystal||Flat Sapphire Crystal|
MaraGlo Markers &Hands
|Movement||ETA High-Torque FØ6|
32 768 Hz
94-Month Battery Life
|Strap||Nylon DEFSTAN NATO|
/w Stainless Steel Hardware
Marathon 41mm Black Navigator /w Date
While Marathon is headquartered in Canada, it produces its watches in its own factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Founded in 1939, the watchmaker began providing watches to the Allied Forces in 1941. At the moment, Marathon is the sole supplier of watches to the United States Armed Forces. However, the brand’s timepieces are also issued to police and tactical forces around the world.
Of late, the watchmaker has increasingly made overtures to civilian enthusiasts by re-issuing ‘fan favourites’ like the Stainless Steel Navigator or the acrylic crystal GPQ. The addition of a MaraGlo option appears like a similar move, offering that popular high-impact luminosity that comes in the early stages photo-luminescent or afterglow pigments
It would be nice to see these go the way of the Stainless Steel Navigator and be equipped with a screw down crown and the 100m of water resistance it would ensure.
Let’s face it, whether you care about its military provenance or not, the Pilot’s Navigator is just a cool watch. Its lightweight construction, high-level of legibility, and extremely accurate quartz movement make it a no-brainer as your grab-and-go weekender. It exudes a tactical charm that is backed up with solid specs, like a sapphire crystal, a 12-hour bezel, and a high-torque shock absorption system. The MaraGlo offers a solid blast of light and will save you a few bucks at checkout, to boot. As such, the MaraGlo Black Navigator is sure to be an EDC (everyday carry) hit among enthusiasts.
The Marathon 41mm MaraGlo Black Navigator w/ Date retails for $4205USD on ballistic nylon and $450USD on the DEFSTAN NATO. In addition, beginning today, Friday, August 18th, Marathon has an Aviation Sale offering a 10% discount on all Pilot Navigators. For more information, please visit the brand website.
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