Much of this section is the work of Ed875 on MWR who has been painstakingly cataloguing these watches, and reproduced with his kind permission.
The quartz "G10" was the first quartz watch supplied to the British military, with the name coming from the G1098 store that issued them (see my blog post here). It is by far the most common issued CWC watch - with around 165,000 watches supplied to the MoD between 1980 and 2006. All the branches of the British military are represented, although the RAF only ordered watches in 1983, and the 0555 Royal Navy code was only used in 1995. The NSN for this watch was 6645-99-5415317.
For those who like lists, this is the full list of G10s: by year, Service, and then lowest and highest serial number seen to date. If you don't like lists, I suggest you avert your eyes now.
1980 - no Service stated - 027 to 12710
1981 - 0552 - 12765 to 13049
1982 - W10 - 005 to 9498 and then 14605 to 16998 (intervening numbers used by Precista W10)
1982 - 0552 - 17027 to 17360
1983 - W10 - 17043 to 22492
1983 - 6BB - 22529 to 23494
1983 - 0552 - 23529 to 23729
1983 - W10 - 23866 to 26237
1984 - W10 - 26402 to 28767 and then 30569 to 32944 (intervening numbers used by Precista 6BB)
1984 - 0552 - 33056 to 33811
1984 - W10 - 34017 to 38437
1985 - 0552 - 031 to 15599
1987 - 0552 - 15792 to 23737
1988 - 0552 - 23958 to 27828
1989 - 0552 - 27965 to 52092
1990 - 0552 - 52093 to 74093
1991 - W10 - 74125 to 82076
1995 - 0555 - 0021 to 4898
1997 - W10 - 0126 to 5537
1998 - W10 - 0003 to 7497
2004 - W10 - 003 to 2969
2005 - W10 - 0093 to 6000
2006 - W10 - 0021 to 9394
In 1999 Pulsar was contracted to supply a new General Service watch with NSN 6645-99-6052627; these were manufactured from 1999 through to 2004, and from 2007 the MoD switched supply entirely to Pulsar for general service watches.
A few other points of note:
From 1980 to 1991, the MoD ordered an average 11,500 G10 watches a year from CWC, in every year except 1986. During the 90s, the orders slackened. For the next 15 years, orders were placed in only 6 of the years, for an average of 6,000 watches. As Silvermans took over the business in 1997, these smaller orders were often fulfilled from civilian stock that they had on hand, with military numbers engraved on the case backs rather than factory stamped, and with far more variability in the engravings and markings. This practice continued until the final two contracts in 2005 and 2006, both of which came direct from the factory.
The gallery below illustrates some of the interesting watches and variations, but this thread on MWR has pictures of almost all the case backs for your delight and delectation. And this thread is generally updated as new information comes to light.
In 1980, the specification changed from mechanical to quartz and a Defence Standard was issued with the same tonneau case shape to the mechanical watch but with the word Quartz on the dial. The actual watch issued later in 1980 was in a round case. As Ray Mellor said, 'I thought I’d found a better case, a different shape, and I suggested we change the case. They were quite happy – the rest is a
The 1980 and 1981 watches used the old CWC logo; in 1982 this was changed to the new logo in an oval. The minute track during this period was a finer line than later watches. Photo Credit: Ed875 on MWR.
In 1985 (left hand watch) the minute track changed to a thicker line. In 1989 (right hand watch) SWISS was changed to SWISS MADE. Photo Credit: Ed875 on MWR.
Comparison of 1980 'fatboy' (on the left) to 1983 'medium fatboy' (on the right).
Detail of difference in construction between 1980 'fatboy' on the left and 1983 'medium fatboy' on the right. Note the midcase has a raised lip on the 1980 watch which the case back sits on, whilst the 1983 'medium fatboy' has a thicker case back but it sits directly on the flat back of the midcase.
Serial numbers ran consecutively from 1982 up to 1984, restarting in 1985. There was, however, an overlap of about 340 numbers between the end of 1982 (which went up to 17360) and the beginning of 1983 (which started again at 17043). The reason is unknown, but most probably an admin error. Photo Credit: Ed875 on MWR.