The Omega CK2777-1 issued to the British Royal Air Force in 1953 is perhaps one of the highest quality timepieces ever produced for the military. Due to the need to withstand the strenuous conditions of flying in the RAF, they were made to strict specifications from the British MoD (Ministry of Defence). As a result, it had to be highly anti-magnetic, regulated to a chronometer grade and housed in a tough stainless steel case.
Originally equipped with a radium dial, this example features a tritium ‘Fat Arrow’ dial. Because of the high radioactivity in radium, it was deemed unsafe to be used as luminous material and as such, the MoD recalled most of these timepieces in order to change to tritium.
Flip the watch around and you will be greeted with military markings, which I think is one of the most charming aspects of owning such a piece. It has a large broadarrow, indicating that it was government property, designation numbers (6B/542) and beneath that its case number with the year (/53) it was delivered.
The anti-magnetism of the CK2777-1 was achieved through the use of a thick iron dial (1mm), Mu-metal dust cap and iron caseback, forming a Faraday cage. If this sounds familiar, it is because this watch was the predecessor to the more famous Railmaster, released 4 years later.
Movement side, it is powered by a specially adjusted and chronometer graded Cal. 283. This accuracy was very important to the pilots as it was not only used to co-ordinate missions, but also to navigate. I am a big fan of military timepieces in general because they were made for a real need, where functionality determined form. While today in the military we have much more advanced technology, it was back then where the accuracy of your watch could save your life. Because of this, one often finds these vintage military timepieces to be incredibly simple yet high quality.
Issued to the RAF for only one year, these ‘Fat Arrow’ Omegas are becoming highly sought after due to both the important military provenance and 37mm wearability. Only 5900 pieces were produced.