MARATHON Composite Navigator


Hacking high torque Ronda 715 (5j.) Swiss quartz mvt.

Analogue dial with 2-time scale

Bi-directional time zone ring

Fibreshell high impact case

Stainless steel snap-on back plate

Hesalite domed acrylic crystal

Push-in, non screw down crown

Two color bi-directional revolving bezel

Water resistance 6ATM

Dimensions 42x12x43mm

Weighs 36.5 grams without strap

Expected Service: 5-10 years


The watch on the left is a Navigator’s USAF issued 1986 contracted to Marathon Watch Company in Canada, thus the name Adanac (Canada spelled backward) and in turn manufactured by Gallet, a quality watch company in Switzerland that seems to have had a long history of military wristwatches.

The sleek asymmetrical case design that can be found on both the Adanac and the Marathon resembles the Benrus Military Diver (Type I in my collection) and helps protect the crown. The bottom part of the crown is flushed with the crown guards and doesn’t dig in the wrist. It is slim and not heavy at all besides its very solid feel and rugged look. It’s very comfortable to wear and its quality quartz movement runs accurately as expected.

I’ve also came across a variant model issued to the British Navy and which bezel ring is numbered by increments of 10, obviously a Diver’s version of my Navigator. I would expect to see more of these watches issued to other Airforces and Navies in Europe.

The one on the right is a year 2000 F-version of the Marathon Composite Navigator with the distinctive ”Marathon” and  “US Government” signage on the dial.

These watches were officially introduced as “Type 6”in the 1991 F-version of the military specification MIL-W-46374. The 1999 G-version of MIL-PRF-46374 specs has replaced the 1991 F-version.

But let’s not be misleading here, the Marathon Composite Navigator watch is a re-issue of the famous Desert Storm watch (stainless steel case), and to my knowledge has never been officially issued in the US Army (correct me if I’m wrong).

All I could find is that the number beginning 6645 is a US Federal stock number meaning that the item is in the federal supply system, and that “MIL”means the design specifications were written by the military personnel, and the actual watch was then contracted out and produced by Marathon to meet those specifications. So yes they were actually sold to the US Government for issuance but in the end, this whole military marking literature only tells us how the Service may have acquired them, which has essentially an accounting purpose. The question remains: has the US Government ever issued any of them?

One striking particularity of this watch is the astonishing lighting capability generated by the tritium tubes attached directly to the hands and dial. (It glows like a nuclear plant!) Mb-microtec in Switzerland holds the patent of the tritium vials under the name “trasers”, and the commercial license of the famous Traser watches. Mb-microtec explains how gaseous tritium and the lume substance are mixed and sealed in a glass vial as opposed to simply painting the lume/tritium mix directly onto dial and hands. The manufacturer indicates a useful life of the vials of 10 to 20 years. This lighting system is extremely efficient. The "3H" sign combined with the radiation logo on the dial indicates the presence of radioactive material and constitute a American requirement for issued watches. It is the same equivalent of the circle-T for British Government issued watches, or the red circle”3H” logo for German issued watches.

Aside from the tritium tubes that provide a good visibility in the dark, I really like the combination of appearance, size, and weight. In addition I find it has reasonable waterproofing, provides Zulu time which can come handy when traveling outside your normal time zone. It also has a good wrist presence, yet is light (40 grams + together with its original nylon strap) and unobtrusive on your wrist and arm.

JAN 2000


FEB 1986


US AirForce, FEB 1986


Quartz Harley Ronda 373 Swiss (1 jewel, unadjusted)

Analogue dial with 2-time scale

0-11 hours ratcheted bi-directional bezel

Heavy steel case

Dimensions 11.75x42.17x47.7x19.25mm

Hesalite domed acrylic crystal

Luminous material, tritium

Screw down crown

Water resistance 6ATM

Expected service: 5-10 years