Authentic tool watches and military watches are getting more and more attention these days. Not only old military Rolexes and vintage Benrus watches for example,?Ǭ† but also the more modern pieces by brands like Marathon and CWC are popular. Many of these watches have a matte black finish to the steel. This color is created not by paint but by physical powder deposition (PVD). Part of this demand for rugged (looking) tool watches is the interest in the old stories and adventurous values behind them. It is the story of a watch being ?¢‚Ǩ?ìissued?¢‚Ǩ¬ù to the military, complying with certain ?¢‚Ǩ?ìspecs?¢‚Ǩ¬ù, being used in combat or the choice of a certain commando unit for the watch. Many of these stories are genuine and interesting developments that stem from a ?¢‚Ǩ?ìform follows function?¢‚Ǩ¬ù design. Great examples are the watches Panerai developed for marine frogmen in the 1930?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s with the protective lever or the Rolex Submariner in the 1950?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s that soon qualified as the no. 1 choice for diving.

The demand for tool watches happens to be a very profitable business. And demand creates is own supply. The watch industry responds with a wide range of matte steel or PVD products from the oversized U-boats, over to square-headed Bell and Rosses, to limited edition blackened Rolex Sea-Dwellers: no matter what, anything seems to sell and get applause these days. There is nothing wrong with these products, but in my view only the watches that had or have a real functional purpose and a clear cut design will survive the test of time. They are recognized by a real history, a refreshing simplicity and a design that pleases the eye without being invented to please. The rest of the pack won?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t survive in terms of lasting appreciation or a economic value. The merits of a watch are a matter of personal taste, but my advise would be: Don?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢t believe the PVD hype.

You might also like  Things We Like: The Grey NATO podcast
  • I’m not too crazy about it either. And I’d be worried it would soon scuff or wear off in spots.

  • Well written Evert. I couldn’t agree more.

  • martijn

    I agree… though my 1994 IWC flieger chrono 3705 rules…. this is a great watch… and the one and only original!

    Ps keep up the good work, great website you have!

  • Bas

    Yes there will be a day when these oversized PVD Panerai’s and U-boats will look very kinky. I’d say around 2050, because from 2015 on, big watches will look very old-fasioned.

  • John

    Do not leave out the fact that PVD is highly resistant to corrosion and scratches– even more so than titanium. That makes all of the PVD models functional– hype or no hype.