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Rover Haven is a maker of custom shell cordovan watch straps. 

Three New Confusing Fall Warblers

The Rover Haven Blog

Three New Confusing Fall Warblers

Myron Erickson

Although I am hardly the world's most prolific watch collector (or blogger, for that matter), one watch I do enjoy collecting and writing about in all its many varieties is the humble Hamilton 33 mm field watch with screw-on caseback.  Hamilton made zillions of these watches, from the mid-1960's to the mid-1990's.  The US government bought hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of them under the MIL-W-46374B, MIL-W-46374D, and GG-W-113 specifications, and the watch was also concurrently marketed to civilians in many varieties.  

Hamilton sold the watch under its Khaki brand name, a line of watches still wildly popular today, and it was also co-branded and sold to practical-minded folk by several big outdoor retailers.  The most common of these was LL Bean, but Orvis, Brookstone, and Avirex all also sold the watch to their customers.  In fact, I think the reason I am so interested in the watch to this day has to do with being raised in a family with a strong tradition of LL Bean patronage.  

The first new addition to my collection is this new old stock reference 921980 with Big Khaki logo.  The Big Khaki 9219 is perhaps the most common of the many varieties of this watch you'll find for sale, and finding one in NOS condition is not unheard of.  But this watch was of greater interest to me because it had an unusual feature: its box.  The watch appears to have been marketed as a civilian GG-W-113 clone, which is ironic because the watch was in fact always a civilian GG-W-113 clone anyway.  So what we have here is a Big Khaki 9219 that came in a standard Khaki box that had been modified with a label that proclaims the watch to be a GG-W-113A.  The label is written using a courier-esque font, which I suppose has kind of a government-issued, typewritten-in-the-1970's look and feel to it.  The GG-W-113 spec is appended with an "A" to distinguish it from the real thing, I imagine, and the Federal Stock Number 6645-066-4279 is cited.  

Big Khaki 9219 box with faux GG-W-113 labeling,...

Big Khaki 9219 box with faux GG-W-113 labeling,...

...and next to a standard Khaki 9219 box. 

...and next to a standard Khaki 9219 box. 

And here is the watch itself.  It has all the usual 9219 features:  thin font with flat 3, fixed strap bars (not seen on all 9219's), Jet Age Hamilton logo, and slightly thicker mid-case.  In NOS condition, these watches are quite delightful.  

Big Khaki 921980.  Note the perfect little lume plots on top of triangular markers. 

Big Khaki 921980.  Note the perfect little lume plots on top of triangular markers. 

The next addition to the Confusing Fall Warblers is an actual GG-W-113.  This is the thin font dial, however, the most unusual subspecies of GG-W-113 and rarely seen.  Judging from observation only, I believe the thin font appeared very late and only for the last two years of production, in 1987 and 1988.  

GG-W-113 with thin font dial.  The specification called for a sterile dial to make it more legible. 

GG-W-113 with thin font dial.  The specification called for a sterile dial to make it more legible. 

The "GG-W-113A" 9219 and actual GG-W-113 watches together.  Note the different crowns; otherwise these two are identical. 

The "GG-W-113A" 9219 and actual GG-W-113 watches together.  Note the different crowns; otherwise these two are identical. 

Prior to 1975, Federal Stock Numbers were used on government-issued watches, but from 1975 onwards the two-digit country code was added and the code became a National Stock Number (also sometimes known as a NATO Stock Number, NSN).  The country code 00 or 01 denotes US-issue.  The Federal Supply Classification number 6645 means "time measuring device."

The caseback of the GG-W-113.  Note the 00 country code denoting US-issue.  

The caseback of the GG-W-113.  Note the 00 country code denoting US-issue.  

To make the issue of thin font versus fat font clearer, here is a side by side picture of the two varieties of GG-W-113 watch.  

GG-W-113's:  Fat font, L, and thin font, R (as though you needed this pointed out to you). 

GG-W-113's:  Fat font, L, and thin font, R (as though you needed this pointed out to you). 

The third and final addition to the CFW I'd like to write about today is this 921980 with Orvis dial. Of the several outdoor retailer branded watches, I'd say the Orvis is probably the second most common, but for every one of these that you might find on eBay, you'll probably see a thousand LL Bean-branded watches.  This watch is in amazing condition and features the very reliable and accurate ETA 2750 that all Hamilton 9219's had.  It has the thin font dial, Jet Age logo, unsigned crown, and removable strap bars.  The tritium lume plots are very finely applied and aging nicely.  

Orvis-branded Hamilton 921980. 

Orvis-branded Hamilton 921980. 

And here is the whole family of Confusing Fall Warblers as it stands today.  Thanks for reading the Rover Haven Blog! 

1st Column from left: reference 9219; 2nd Column from left: reference 9415; Group of 5 on right: military-issued; Upper right: H693190.   

1st Column from left: reference 9219; 2nd Column from left: reference 9415; Group of 5 on right: military-issued; Upper right: H693190.