We take a look at a fair bit of EDC (every day carry) gear here at GnZ. Of course pocket knives and tools feature heavily but I got to thinking. Which item of EDC do I use the most and needs to be functional, rugged and reliable? It is of course a Watch. If like me you spend alot of time outdoors, shooting, hunting and fishing then the type of watch you select needs to be up to the job. We kick the series off with a review of the widely respected Marathon GPM.
Marathon watches were founded in 1939 by watchmaker Morris Wein. In 1941 Marathon began supplying watches for Allied military forces. Marathon are still family run and have built a trusted reputation for quality, reliability and ruggidity among military, Law Enforcement and hard users worldwide. The Marathon GPM (general purpose movement) epitomizes the tactical watch and is a keystone of the Marathon watch brand.
The watches are made in Switzerland which is arguably home to the best watchmakers on the planet. Marathon operate within the medium to high price range in the tactical watch marketplace. The most expensive models can cost as much as $4000. The GPM in this review comes in at a much more reasonable $310 in the States or £309 in the UK. This makes it affordable for the demographic (Police, Military and outdoorsman).
General Purpose Mechanical
The GPM is built to Mil-Spec and fulfills NATO stock numbers. There are many watches which boast Mil-spec or military users. This is one of the few that is the real deal. It is built to MIL-PRF-46374G which strictly specifies performance parameters for luminance, and robustness during vibration or drop.
The GPM has been around for years in manual wind format. It has had an important update and now features a dual winding movement (manual and self winding). If the watch is worn and the wearer is active and moving then the watch will self wind. Of course there may be times the watch isnt worn or the wearer immobile in which case it can be manually wound. I have been using the watch every day for a few months now so I think I can provide a pretty honest insight into its features and performance..
Aesthetic and features
The GPM is not a big chunky show off watch, lets just get that out there. If you want a timepiece which is brimming with dials and buttons then look elsewhere. If however you are like me, a fan of a sleek, compact, classic military style watch then you are going to be pleased.
The watch itself is just 34mm in diameter and 11mm thick. And fastens with a classic webbing strap. The body is made from a composite fibre which is incredibly durable and helps keep the weight down to a svelte 45g with strap.
The caseback is made from Stainless Steel and features the Governmental markings denoting it military breeding. You can also request a plain stainless back if one were interested in getting it engraved. The lens is made from incredibly tough Sapphire crystal which is not only incredibly clear but also able to endure significant torture testing. More on that later!
The GPM has one winder which is knurled. It pulls out with a firm tactile click to alter the time and back in to function as the winder. When fully wound the watch would run for around 40hrs with no movement input. Of course if worn on the wrist of an active person the watch functions pretty much indefinitely.
The face of the GPM uses tradional numbers and hash marks. The really clever part is the illumination. The military standard requires illumination after 8+hrs with no external light source. Cheaper “glow in the dark” type watch faces tend only to last an hour or so before requiring recharge from an external light source. The GPM uses Tritium on the hour positions and each hand. Tritium produces visible light for many years with no need to “charge it”.
Lastly I should mention the movement for all the watch nerds. The GPM features a 24 jewel NH35 self winding movement. This movement is known for its accuracy and reliability. The watch is rated waterproof to 3ATM which means you are safe to wear in the rain or in damp environments. This is not a divers watch!
So those are the features but the question is did the GPM live up to the promises in the real world? I have worn the watch at work, at the range and in the woodwork shop. It has endured heat, cold, water and vibration/recoil. I have not treated it preciously at all.
The GPM is incredibly comfortable on the basis it is small and light. I quickly forgot I had it on. Often this meant the watch stayed on my wrist when I would usually remove it (such as in the workshop). It proved to be incredibly robust. I felt/heard it impact on several objects which I fully expected to damage it. Banging against vices, gunstocks, rocks and other detritus. The aesthetics remained unmarked. The lens was particularly surprising in its ability to shirk off scratches and impacts with no visible damage at all.
At night when hunting or fishing the watch was invaluable. No more fiddling about for illumination buttons. It can be read easily even in total darkness without casting light over an unnessecary area. Just what I require.
I have never had any issues with the GPM. It continues to provide accurate time keeping. Although not what some would call eye candy, it certainly gets noticed by folk who know what they are looking at. A watch for the person who is looking for supreme function and ruggidity. I think it offers superb value and I continue to wear it on all but the dressiest occasion..