British military watch Smiths W10 military watch explanation

The appeal of the Smiths W10 watch adopted by the British Army

Founded in 1851, Smith (official name: S. Smith & Sons (London) Ltd.) is known as a prestigious British watchmaking company, and so the company chose to use its name as the brand name.

Poster catalogue of the British watch brand Smiths

Smith & Sons (London) is a widely known British watch manufacturer founded in 1851.

Based in Cheltenham, Smith is one of the few companies to manufacture every component of its products locally.

Smith was based in Cheltenham and was one of the few companies to manufacture every component of its products in-house, right down to the hairsprings.

After World War II, Smiths signed a contract to supply watches and aviation equipment to the British military, and began manufacturing the wristwatch ``W10'' for the Army.

Smith W10 Military Watch (wristwatch)
Although the W10 watch was only issued to military personnel, its sophisticated design and construction make it one of the most popular military watches.

Despite only being issued to military personnel for four years, from 1967 to 1970, it is one of the best-known models.

The watch we are introducing today was issued in 1968.

British Army W10 Military Watch Case Back

Please look inside the red box in the image above, you will see the engraving 5749/68.

The "68" indicates that it was manufactured in 1968, and 5749 represents the serial number.

In essence, this tells us that this is the 5,749th watch made in 1968.

Smith W10 Movement

British military watch Smith W10 movement
Open the case back and remove the dust cover to reveal the Smiths caliber 60466E.

The plates and bridges are matte gold-plated, typical of British watchmaking, and the watch features an additional wheel with a central seconds mechanism for improved legibility.

The centre second is an indirect type, moved by a large gear at the top of the movement.

If you don't know how the center second hand works, please watch the chronograph video below for a detailed explanation.

Many military watches are equipped with a function known as "hacking seconds" (hack function).

This means that when you pull out the crown to set the time, the second hand stops.

This allows the clock to be synchronized with other clocks.

During this period, military operations became more sophisticated, so it was increasingly important for each soldier to carry out their missions at the same time, and each soldier's watch had to be precisely synchronized.

The Smith W10 achieves this function by means of a hacklever located under the train wheels.

The hacklebar is mounted under the wheel.

The lever is spring loaded and rotates around the screw highlighted in the photo above.

As you pull out the stem, the lever rotates around the screw and stops when it comes into contact with a thin wire.

The wire touches the balance and stops.

When the stem is pressed in, the spring pushes the lever back to its original position, causing the wire to lift off the balance.

Then the clock will start ticking.


The reason why Smith's W10 is a well-known and popular model is that it is fully equipped with the features that are found in such high-end machines.

The hacking function was not available in all military watches, but rather in relatively high-end, well-built watches.

Meanwhile, the W10 made by Smith was supplied to the Army, but it was equipped with a hacking function and Kif's ``Ultraflex'', and was quite well-made.

It is still affordable, but there is no doubt that it will increase in value significantly in the future.