You be the Judge-Is This a Navigation Watch?

Wayne Hanley's picture

Presently some myBulova.com evaluation panel members interested in Bulova military watches are commenting about the differences/similarities of two mil spec watches. The watch in question listed in Recent Comments as Bulova 1960 Military Issue 3818A http://mybulova.com/watches/1960-military-issue-3818a-2282 .

The comparison watch is the Type A17A Navigation Watch specified by MIL-W-6433A, & having this data stamped on the 10 point back plate. Thus far into the discussion of the similarities of the two different watches, members agree that both watches use the same case, dial & movement type.

However, we don't yet have access to the either MIL-W-3818A or MIL-W-6433A documents. We do have access to MIL-W-3818B, approved 17 October 1962 that is the replacement document for a watch that supercedes/replaces the MIL-W-3818A watch. This B specification calls the subject watch a General Purpose watch. Therefore MIL-W-3818A approved 12 March 1956 is a General Purpose Watch & not a Navigation watch.

All Military watches are not all intended to be naivgation watches (often described at auction as Pilot Watches). The subject watch under MIL-W-3818A did not replace or supersede other watches in use such as the A-17A at the time. The data stamped on the 10-point backplate should be enough to clarify the issue however, the debate continues.

 

Below is a list of Military specifications applicable to this discussion. The dates shown are the approval dates of the spec, therefore the watch had to be made after that date!

First introduced in 1956 this Vietnam War era United States Military issue MIL - W - 3818A

Bulova continued to concurrently produce the A-17A.

Auctions listing military watches commonly call these watches either Navigation watches or Pilot watches in order to draw the crowd. Or they really don't know what they are selling, Compare this closed auction watch below and let's see what you think about the watch listed below. Is it really a navigation watch as claimed by the seller?

Auction Title: Bulova U.S. Military 24 Hour Pilots Navigation Wristwatch

Seller's Description

  • Selling this vintage 1950's-1960's Bulova A17A Military Pilots navigation Watch
  • Just had it professionally refurbished-Works Great!!
  • Runs Well -Wind-Up Watch
  • Spec Mil-W-6433A
  • Bulova Part no. 10BNCH
  • Bulova serial no. AF-59- 7309
     
  • Order no. Da-36-038-ord-20792M
  • Stock no. 6645-557-5596
     
  • Band is a Black Khaki like material
     
  • 24 Hr Military Watch
     

Note: If auction watch text on case back is unreadable. refer to MIL-W-3818A case back above.

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 15, 2011 - 9:55am

Saw this one Wayne,

3818A Dial and movement in an A-17A Case.

IMO.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 15, 2011 - 3:33pm

There is no difference between a MIL-W-3818A case & an A17A MIL-W-6433A case. The only difference is the 10 point stainless steel back case stamping.

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 15, 2011 - 5:46pm

Caseback matches the Case Wayne, the end result is the same - the A-17A Caseback markings are incorrect for the Hand / Dial combination showing.

Bulova A-17A

Bulova 3818A.

Note the different Hour, Minute and Second Hand combination and the A-17A's outer Dial is calibrated numeriacally in 5 Second intervals, the 3818A Dial is not. Also, the A-17A '24hr' numerals are smaller than those used on the 3818A Dial

 Subject is a 3818A in an A-17A Case, or with an A-17A Caseback.

bourg01
Posted November 15, 2011 - 7:13pm

Panel Member

Hey Mark, Wayne

I won't cast a vote on this because I just don't know anything but what I learn from you guys and all the info that you share. I do see the differences in the dials which Mark has clearly shown and can be supported by this A17A I just bought, right dial, right case and the right caseback. On this one you both agree it's the real deal, an A17A.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=350503452568&ssPageName=ADME:B:EOIBSA:US:1123

I don't want this to look like I'm taking sides here because I'm not but Fifth has pointed out some valid differences with the dial, and that all interested should take into consideration.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 18, 2011 - 5:42am

Shawn

Here is what I said "There is no difference between a MIL-W-3818A case & an A17A MIL-W-6433A case. The only difference is the 10 point stainless steel back case stamping.

Fifth must have misread the question and got out inot irrellevant right field.

 

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 15, 2011 - 7:29pm

Unless we find a spec that says otherwise we have to assume that the 3818 is not a nav watch, for reasons pointed out on the other thread...

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 15, 2011 - 7:35pm

Im not understanding this back and forth about the 10 sided caseback, both types have a 10 sided caseback, as does my ORD...

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 16, 2011 - 2:39am

Fifth let me repeat this again

"There is no difference between a MIL-W-3818A case & an A17A MIL-W-6433A case. The only difference is the 10 point stainless steel back case stamping."

CASE CASE CASE

Back to the original question please!

Auctions listing military watches commonly call these watches either Navigation watches or Pilot watches in order to draw the crowd. Or they really don't know what they are selling, Compare this closed auction watch below and let's see what you think about the watch listed above. Is it really a navigation watch as claimed by the seller?

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 16, 2011 - 7:51am

After reading the Military requirements/specifications for DTU-2A/P ( MIL-W-3818B ) particularly those related to accuracy and assuming MIL-W-3818A would have been required to meet the same standards I would say Yes, the 3818A was perfectly capable for Navigation use, if necessary.

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 16, 2011 - 12:03pm

When it comes to milspec stuff, you cannot assume anything  is specified, or anything that IS NOT specified. A watch that IS NOT specified to be adjusted to 6 positions and have a +- accuracy of (x) secs per (x) hrs cannot be assumed to have those specs. It doesnt matter if the case is the same, or if the movement is the same, if it is not TESTED to meet specs, then you can only assume that it does not meet those specifications. Time accuracy is not the only thing that matters for an air nav watch. It must be able to function accurately thru rapid temp and altitude changes, and must meet very specific vibration and impact standards as well. There could be 1 tiny differance between the specs on these 2 watches, but that is what makes one a NAV watch and the other, not. These watches could be used for time of flight calculations to drop bombs when there was not other method of navigation. A 1 or 2 second error at 500 knots means the differance between blowing up a munitions factory, or the school next door. It could be used for time of flight calculations to fly a specific post route along a border, one very minor error and instead of flying on the south side of the DMZ, your in the north, and get shot down ( happened to a female Huey pilot in Korea, diff type of error, but the example holds water )

The 3818 may be quite capable of being used for navigation, but unless it is SPECIFIED as such, then it is not a MILSPEC NAVIGATION or 'pilots' watch, and should not be sold as such.

 

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 16, 2011 - 11:11am

 

Stay on the subject please. Is it ethical for sellers to advertise a MIL-W-3818A general purpose watch at auction as a navigation or pilot watch? I am talking deception in order to profit. 

 

 

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 16, 2011 - 11:53am

Was the 3818A issued to Pilots?

shooter144's picture
shooter144
Posted November 16, 2011 - 12:07pm

It may have been issued to pilots, as a general time keeping watch, not for navigation, as were the several watches I was issued. In my time (80's-90's) any watch that was not a NAV watch, emphatically stated so, ie watch, mechanical, blah blah blah, not for navigational use.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 21, 2011 - 11:53pm

We sure would like to hear comments from other members who have collected or considered collecting military watches. What is the main reason for buying? It appears that the General Purpose Watches spec MIL-W-3818A are more plentiful than the MIL-W-6433A Type A17A Navigation Watch.  If you are looking to buy a mil watch, which one would you buy & why?

Here are some of the WWII military issue watches that are also very collectable.

 

 

 

 

OldTicker
Posted November 22, 2011 - 12:04am

Can't help you here Wayne,

From reading all of the posts on the military watches, it seems like very few are original, especially if you buy one off of the bay, too many civilian watches with the wrong movements, casebacks, and conflicting information, plus they look too...plain?? drab?? alike?? ; )

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 22, 2011 - 12:17am

Admin

This forum went off track with the first comment. By not understanding the question it went in the wrong direction. Our self proclaimed resident military eggspurt should RTFQ before he misinforms our folks about military watches. OK I'm off my soap box.

I recommend we delete this fiasco or put it aside. I have initiated a new forum titled Military issue watches.

Thanks

FifthAvenueRestorations's picture
FifthAvenueRest...
Posted November 22, 2011 - 12:18pm

mis-information my a$$

The document You are parading proclaiming spec MIL-W-6433A (Type A-17A) of having an initial production date of 1960 is the biggest piece of Military Horology mis-information I've seen to Date.

Wayne Hanley's picture
Wayne Hanley
Posted November 23, 2011 - 9:00am

Fifth

I really don't care what you think. But I have a word of advice for you! Resignj as the myBulova.con self-appointed Military watch expert.

I tried to work with you. However, your opinions are just misleading everyone that reads your comments on Military watches. You don't know didly!

Have a Happy Bird Day