MWC v CWC the Full Facts
I find this a really boring and tedious subject but I get around half a dozen emails about this very subject every week with all sorts of bizarre bits of conflicting and inaccurate information.
What I propose to do here is to state the facts based on what I know to be 100% correct from reliable and accurate sources. Where something is conjecture I will state as much to avoid adding to the confusion. I am going to look at firstly the question of quality. Telford Services who are one of the leading MWC dealers commissioned a report to put this very issue to bed. They asked Paul Mason a respected member of the British Horological Institute to conduct a test on an MWC G10 Battery Hatch model which is a direct competitor to the CWC G10 models. It turns out that Mr Mason was recommended by the BHI as an independent watchmaker of the highest integrity with over 35 years experience. Keep in mind this test is of the MWC G10 with battery hatch and that this model should not be confused with the MWC G10A or ZA which is a lower specification model made in a variety of variants by MWC to their contract clients specific requirements. This means that in the case of the G10A and G10ZA there are vastly varying qualities of the same watch. In the case of the G10 Battery Hatch model the basic watch is the same and only the details tend to vary such as dials and whether they use Super Luminova or GTLS. The full report is copied below.
MWC G10BH PVD 2007 Military Watch
Report by Paul Mason FBHI
Telford Services LLC, the United Kingdom’s leading supplier of military watches asked Mr Paul Mason FBHI to carry out an inspection of a Military Watch Company (MWC) G10BH Military Watch. Mr Mason was recommended by the BHI as an independent watch maker of the highest integrity with over 35 years experience.
About Paul Mason
He served his apprenticeship in Watford repairing watches and clocks. He came third in Europe in his Final’s horological exams earning the right to become a Fellow of the British Horological Institute. He worked for five years at Cartier, New Bond Street, London, the premier jewellers, repairing and assembling new build watches.He started his own business in 1973. In 1980 Paul commenced making clock movements. First for longcase clocks and moving on to small movements and automata for the West End object d’art trade.
Paul carries out repair and overhaul of all leading brands of watches from rotary to Rolex to Patek Philippe. Repair and restoration of all pocket watches from English lever to top quality minute repeaters.
Watch : M.W.C Military Quartz Watch
Strap : Fully functional, hard wearing with stainless steel fittings.
Glass : Mineral Domed with polished edge. Scratch resistant.
Back : 2.7mm thick stainless steel, very strong. Good fit to case front. Screwed aperture for fitting battery.
Case Front : Stainless steel with Physical Vapour Deposition black, hard wearing, coating.
Movement : Ronda 705, good shockproof qualities.
Dial : Black with white lettering. Luminised Arab Numerals. Easily Readable.
Hands : White Batton with luminised centres.
Hard wearing robust watch. Good accuracy of timekeeping. Waterproof to 50 metres. Ideal for its intended use. Good Value for money.
About the Ronda 705 from Ronda Technical
Metal movement, repairable
Very long battery life
Power saving mechanism with pullled out stem: Reduction of consumption approximately 70%
Movement available as 2 or 3 hands version
Battery No. 371
Battery-life 6 years
Swiss Made 5 jewels, gilt EOL
The CWC G10
I don’t think anyone seriously disputes that the quality of the CWC is fine but I question the quality of the current G10 2000 compared to earlier models. I have referred to this myself because they seem much lighter and less substantial generally. I have several older CWC G10’s and the G10 2000 just feels like it’s built to a lower standard in the same way MWC make the G10A as a lower grade G10. As a point of note both the G10A from MWC and G10 2000 from CWC have snap on backs which are not ideal for immersion hence MWC rate the G10A at only 30m water resistant and the G10BH at 50m. If anyone has a test report on the CWC G10 I would be keen to post it here for the benefit of those weighing up the various brands.
I have tested the CWC and MWC G10’s and frankly the Ronda 705 and 715 movements in the MWC and the ETA 955 in the CWC (Ronda 715 in the GS2000) are both highly accurate as you would expect with a quartz movement so it is hard to go wrong.
If we compare the old CWC prior to the 2000 I would say that the MWC and CWC felt the same as far as solidity but if you put a CWC 2000 against the MWC G10 Battery Hatch model it feels less substantial but in terms of performance they are both ideally suited to the job they are designed to do.
MWC and CWC Models – A general overview
The rest of the models vary dramatically with CWC scoring in some areas and MWC in others. For example the MWC self luminous models are 100% brighter than any CWC with Tritium or Luminova but when it comes to divers watches the CWC bezel is more positive although the black PVD versions of the MWC has a better finish in my opinion that the CWC. One other factor to consider is of course price, The CWC is vastly dearer but on the other hand if you want a UK issue watch the price might not be an issue.
In the case of chronographs I have evaluated the CWC Quartz Chronographs and the MWC Mil-Tec MKII and again because they both have quartz movements there is very little to say regarding accuracy because both are very similar and most quartz watches are accurate to 2 or 3 seconds a week in any case. Interesting the MWC copes well with immersion in water which is not always the case with a chronograph. As far as design I own a CWC and prefer the overall appearance because I think it is less busy looking. What surprises me is that MWC make a chronograph very similar to the CWC model and thinking back I remember it on the website for the last time in around 2002-3. I found out recently from a US based MWC dealer who I buy various straps and other items from that they still make this model so why it is not on the site currently is totally beyond me. I have emailed them but no reply as yet.
The MWC and CWC W10 models are interesting. I have looked at both and really can’t see any benefit of one over the other. The MWC Automatic W10 is considerably cheaper than the CWC although MWC also make a G10 Automatic which is cheap in my opinion at GBP115 for an automatic military watch with screw caseback. I think if you are looking for an automatic military watch the CWC W10 and MWC G10 Automatics offer the option to opt for one of two very different watches. Personally I like the MWC G10 Auto but the CWC W10 is a great watch too so it all comes down to taste. As an owner of a CWC W10 handwound I can vouch for the longevity of this model and the CWC auto uses much the same case ad a good reliable Swiss ETA movement so it should run for years.
CWC W10 Automatic MWC G10 Automatic 2010
Who Supplies what to whom
It is interesting that if you speak to CWC they will drone on and on about how they are suppliers to the British Army and MWC are not. I spent 45 minutes talking to Richard Bliss at Silvermans about this point when I went into the store. So this is the position as I see it.
Beyond doubt suppliers to UK forces and at times Australia.
Based on The Concise Guide to Military Timepieces 1880-1990 by Ziggy Weslowski which MWC and other military watch dealers sell it confirms that MWC supplied the British Army with W10’s in 1990 and yet if you ask Dieter at MWC who has been there since 1981 he says he has no comment on this particular sale so clearly not an admission or denial. I spoke to Richard at MWC who confirms that they sell to various forces abroad and emailed supporting documents. He also confirmed that they have supplied the UK Government and among the organisations is the Metropolitan Police Anti Terrorist Unit and various other departments but he also pointed out that they are not overly interested in UK contracts as they have no UK presence to speak of but if approached they would tender but do not actively solicit the business. In spite of this I am aware MWC’s were provided to Gurkha’s at Catterick Garrison in 2003 and 2004 but again I found out the details of this from serving Gurkha’s not from MWC themselves but because the watches were MWC branded they must have reached them by some route.
Click Below to go to the CWC and MWC Websites