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Military watches unceasingly draw the fascination of watch collectors from all over the world with its rich heritage. Other than being extremely robust and functional, military watches hark back to countless momentous events in history when troops relied on them as valuable equipment in the field. Wrist watches are unquestionably an indispensable tool when it comes to military operations such as coordinating tactical movements and navigational purposes. Of the many established brands that supply, or once supplied watches to the military, Marathon is a name seemingly overshadowed by other familiar offerings in the market. However, it is certainly one of the hidden gems in the world of military watches.
Marathon GSAR NGM Diver Automatic Arctic Edition - Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD
Made in Switzeland, Approved by US Government
In line with the utilitarian nature of the piece, “GSAR” is an acronym for “Government Search and Rescue” which is named after the high-risk tactical operations of the military personnel these watches are issued to, serving as a crucial tool in their arsenal. The GSAR is Marathon’s flagship ISO-certified dive watch crafted for use during underwater missions, equipped with a substantial 30 ATM (300m) of water resistance, resistance to magnetism, resistance to corrosion as well as excellent resistance to shock and extreme temperatures.
The hefty 316L stainless steel case of the GSAR NGM Diver Automatic - White Arctic Edition Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD is definitely built like a tank with beefy squared crown guards and a chunky 14mm-thick case. Despite its aggressive appearance, wearability is surprisingly good on the wrist with a case dimension of 41mm and a lug to lug distance of 48mm. The case is finished with a fine satin brushing throughout to minimize any unnecessary reflections that may hinder the performance of missions.
Full satin-brushed finishing throughout its 41mm case
One of the most essential functions of dive watches includes its ability to track time with the use of a diving bezel. The thick 120-click unidirectional bezel on the GSAR houses considerable grooves that allows for a firm grip even while operating using diving gloves underwater. Inserted in the bezel lies a black anodized insert with a 60-minute format as required by military use. At the 12 o’clock position, the bezel features a luminous triangle pip for uncompromised legibility even in dark lighting conditions.
Attached to the GSAR Diver Auto is the new 20mm high quality black vulcanized rubber with "Marathon" pattern on the inside. Manufactured in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, the rubber strap is crafted from FKM Rubber, meeting the requirements of high-performance military applications. The satin-finished buckle has different facets and well machined with a sharp look. Paired on this premium rubber strap, it matches with the adventure theme, elevating its sportiness and ruggedness as a whole.
Tritium gas tubes and MaraGlow™ that glows 24 hours
Diving into the dial, the GSAR NGM Diver Automatic - White Arctic Edition Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD sports a sterile “NGM”, or “No Government Markings” dial. The White Arctic Edition brings a cool white dial that matches perfectly with the striking orange second hand and the printed red ‘300m’ indication text, adding an attractive splash of color to the monochromatic look. For maximum legibility, deep black syringe-style hands and Arabic numerals create a superb contrast against the bright white dial.
When the lights are out, things get even better with 15 encapsulated tritium gas tubes with Marathon’s proprietary MaraGlo™ illuminating the dial without the need of the charge from a light source. These gas tubes are essentially glowing constantly around the clock. The tritium gas tube used at the 12 o’clock is distinguished with a vibrant orange glow in contrast with the rest of the tubes that glow with a green hue, giving the piece wonderful orientation with just a glance down at the wrist. The date wheel is tucked neatly between the 4 and 5 o’clock Arabic numerals with a matching white background, an ingenious integration that does not obstruct any elements on the dial. Keeping the dial crystal clear even after long hours in combat, it is protected with a flat piece of sapphire crystal, offering incredible resistance to scratches.
Manufactured in accordance to US Government NSN 6645-21-558-0133
At the heart of the GSAR NGM Diver Automatic - White Arctic Edition Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD lies the Marathon M2 self-winding movement based on the ever-reliable Swiss Sellita SW-200 automatic movement, a tried-and-tested movement equipped with Novodiac shock absorber for enhanced durability, a fitting ‘workhorse’ engine for Marathon’s robust watches. This 26 jewel movement operates at a beat rate of 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hertz) with hand winding and hacking capabilities and a power reserve of 38 hours. Behind the watch, the movement is held in place with a screw-in case back with essential government specifications and military numbering engraved - a mark of being a true military-issued timepiece.
With four generations of remarkable dedication from the Wein family, Marathon has consistently produced incredibly tough Swiss-made military watches that are worn and trusted by countless soldiers. For civilians and the watch community, the GSAR NGM Diver Automatic - White Arctic Edition Rubber Ref. WW194006-WD offers amazing value for a diver watch with such specifications and a purpose-driven design. If it's good enough for the stringent requirements of the armed forces, it certainly will not disappoint the rest of the world with its top-class performance.