Military Watch Pins

Military watches in the EU and US generally continue to use fixed pins because historically they were designed for hard use, and also enabled manufacturers to make the watch lighter. The other benefit of fixed pins was always believed to be that they are near impossible to lose when the watch is worn with a NATO webbing strap. Keep in mind that using spring bars or pins doesn't necessarily disqualify a watch from heavy use, for example both Rolex and Seiko use spring pins (on very heavy duty versions) of their dive watches. It is also worth bearing in mind they prior to WWII all watches used fixed lugs and many after the war too so both options have distinct advantages and disadvantages. The main consideration is that spring pins enable easy strap changes and the ability to use any strap type you choose where fixed pins are very limiting and other than a one piece NATO strap there are few options. This means that where a CWC is ideal if you want to use just a NATO strap a Precista, Marathon or MWC is better if you want greater flexibility to use a wide range of strap variants. Having said that MWC has gone down the screw pin route where many others have continued with spring pins. My feeling is that the key might be to use screw pins or bars or even springs if they are made more robust than those on standard civilian watches.

Typical Spring Watch Pins

Screw Pin / Bar

Below are several case back of military and variants popular with the military which use spring pins so you can see the general appearance of these models. The watch in the center is the Stocker and Yale and some had fixed pins but there is lots of info at this link

As mentioned earlier before world war II and going right through to today most UK issued watches use fixed pins and this continues with the CWC range which were issued to UK forces.

An early 1950s IWC MKXI Military Watch with fixed pins

In recent years we have noticed that some manufacturers have found a solution which gives the best of both worlds with the strength of fixed pins and the benefits of spring pins. I have noticed this tendency has appeared in slightly different guises on a number of military watches such as the two below. It is my guess we might see this arise more frequently in the next few years because fixed pins are so limiting.

Two military watch cases from different manufacturers which use screw pins