German Precision Watches (GPW) Titanium Military Watch
I’m sure there are many watch enthusiasts that enjoy German military style watches like myself, but also like myself are not fond of the 1K plus retail prices on most if not all of the well known brands. Now I know first hand many of those 1K plus German military style watches are of superior quality but have always wondered if a budget minded alternative existed. Look no further as Arctos Elite produces the budget German Precision Watches (GPW) Titanium Military Watch. Arctos Elite has existed in some fashion since the early 1920’s, known at that time as Weber & Aeschbach. Due to World War II and the great destruction in Germany the company had to re-create itself in the late 1940’s. In the 1980’s the German Department of Defense utilized the capabilities of the company to produce watches for various armed forces. The company went out of business in the early 1990’s but once again was resurrected in 2004 and remains in business today producing various style watches. You can read more about Arctos Elite at HERE. The automatic version of the GPW, that is the subject of this review, sells for right around $290 USD with the following basic specifications:
- Titanium case
- Screw down crown
- Automatic Movement
- Sapphire Crystal
- 200M Water Resistance
- Various Strap Options
Paying under $300 USD I certainly didn’t expect any sort of lavish packaging so I was not disappointed in the fairly standard exterior cardboard container and interior clam shell style case holding the watch. The packaging will obviously end up in the bottom of my closest as outside of protecting the watch during shipping no longer has any further useful purpose. The interior of the clamshell case is very well padded and will protect the watch well during the shipping process which obviously the most important aspect of any packaging. Some newer companies producing quality watches in this price range are offering functional packaging such as a canvas travel rolls, zipper style travel case and even dive cases so it would be a bonus if Arctos decides to upgrade this aspect with future productions.
The GPW is truly all about the watch head. The case provides that classic style found in many military style pieces as well as a titanium composition making the watch rather lightweight at a mere 93 grams. The case measures almost 43mm from ten to four and nearly 47mm across including the crown. The lug tip to lug tip measurement is slightly over 50mm and the case height comes in at right around 12.5mm. On my 7 ¾ inch wrist I find that the GPW is right in my sweet spot as it is perfectly sized and isn’t cumbersome at all due to the weight. A 6mm signed screw down crown is nestled between crown guards on the right side of the case at the 3 position. The crown is always an area of concern for me when it comes to budget priced watches. Countless times I have encountered watch crowns that are either not easy to grasp, extremely stiff while engaging and then wobble all over the place when extended to any setting position. I can report the GPW crown action is easy to grasp, has a buttery action and has absolutely no play or wiggle when engaged in the setting positions. Overall I love the sterile case and was extremely happy no branding was located anywhere on the case. The watch doesn’t have a helium release valve but is still rated at 200 meters water resistant so it should be adequate for some diving activities.
Next, the watch comes equipped with a titanium 120 click unidirectional rotating bezel. The bezel action is smooth, precise and firm with absolutely no play in either direction. The bezel is easy to grasp which would be great for divers if the bezel had a purpose for this particular watch. The bezel puzzled me from the first time I saw it as there are not traditional dive markers but rather the hours from one to eleven surround the bezel. Of course, I guess the bezel could still be used for countdown purposes by multiplying by a factor of five. So while the watch has dive watch water resistance the functionality as a dive watch could be considered questionable due to the marker set up and also the lack of a lume pip. The watch is fitted is with a large Anti-Reflective Sapphire crystal. Beneath the 33mm plus sapphire opening is rather sterile matte black dial with painted on lume markers at each hour position. A white date window is positioned at the 3 o’clock position and is large and legible. The only branding on the dial is the GPW name and “EINSATZUHR” which translated to English means “military or operation watch.” The lume appears to be C3 Superluminova which has an adequate application and glows brightly with great afterglow into the early morning hours. Even though the watch dial is extremely sterile, which I truly appreciate by the way, a touch of flair has been added with a red outlined minute hand, as well as, a red tipped second hand sweeping the dial.
Sterile watch case, sterile dial, so no surprise…the watch also has rather sterile screwed down case back. The typical branding and product specification information is etched into the center of the case back along with a serial number but that’s all. Beneath the case back beats a Seiko NH35 automatic movement. The NH35 based on my past experiences is a quality workhorse movement that provides a rather smooth sweep to the second hand preferred by so many, as well as, the hacking feature for more precise time setting. This example of the NH35 has been fairly accurate at about +15 seconds per day keeping me extremely please with the overall performance of the watch movement to date.
Finally, I will touch briefly on the bund leather strap that came with my GPW. Obviously, the strap was one way to keep production costs at a minimum. I guess I have become so enamored with custom leather straps that everything else just fails in comparison. The strap reminds me of the plain old off the shelf stock straps that so many companies use with their watches, as it is absolutely nothing special from top to bottom. The strap is 22/20mm in width and may measure about 3mm at its thickest point but overall just feels flimsy and cheap. The only part of the strap that I found nice was the signed Arctos Elite buckle, which could be used another strap. I am fairly certain most would opt for the Isofrane dive strap (not included) shown in my photographs or some other custom strap. The rubber strap version of the GPW might provide a better option out of the box. Again this watch is all about the watch head at $290 so let’s just forget about the strap and move on.
The GPW Titanium Military Watch is a appealing classic military style watch that also provides adequate water resistance to function in certain diving situations. The watch is truly a simple tool style watch that is just about telling the time nothing else so do not expect something overly extravagant, however, if you have been looking for a solid German military style watch without the 1K plus price tag then you need to definitely check out what GPW has to offer. Quality specifications ranging from the titanium case and bezel, sapphire crystal and a sturdy Seiko automatic movement make the GPW Titanium Military Watch a great value under $300 USD. Outside of the watch strap the only negative I have is directly related to the company itself when it comes to customer service. I requested some additional information about the watches and have not received a response to date so that may worry some when it comes to responsiveness related to any warranty/repair issues. I would like to thank each of you for reading and ask that you check out the brief video presentation on this model and subscribe to the WatchReport.com YouTube channel.
I saw your review of the GPW men’s watches and I noticed an all blue watch in one of the pictures. Do you happen to know the model # and/or where I can find it. I went to GPW’s website but I did not see it.
Also, I have a 7″-7.25″ wrist and I wonder if the 50.5 mm overall size would still fit. Any thoughts?
Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Sandy. I am unaware of a blue model being available. As far a as the size is concerned I’m fairly certain it would fit your wrist well and be quite comfortable. I do not recommend the bund strap though. I would choose the standard leather or rubber strap versions or purchase a dive strap from Obris Morgan or Isofrane. Thanks for your comments and for reading.
Would it be possible to put a 20mm nato strap instead of the 22mm on this watch? Thanks
I’m sure it is possible, but why would you want to?
Will the TRASER Luminox Titanium Watch Band 3600 / 22mm fit and look good on this watch?
The bezel marks a second time zone. Just turn the 12-triangle to the midnight point on your watch and you can now easily read two separate time zones – one by position of the hands, one by number on the bezel.
zulu watch bands DALUCA watch bands work well
I am new to the watch world but i heard that for military watches are better if they are quartz, espellially if used with fire arms.
What is your opinion?
Thank you for all your work
Many automatic watches have shock protection system and really well-made automatics will have a metal movement housing to help reduce shock. Find a well made automatic and you should be fine.
The lume on this watch is so bad I sold the watch…The field model is supposed to have better lume
Just got one recently and super happy with it . The lume seems decent … still visible in the wee hours (so maybe they improved it – though not tritium quality of course) and it came with a zipper pouch – I think they listened to your comment!
I tracked time performance carefully and lost 6 seconds in the first week during continuous use. Pretty impressive. I use the Bezel for UTC, and like the look of the clean face design and the anti-reflective coating. I went with the NATO strap, since I tend to be really rough on watches. An accurate automatic in titanium with sapphire crystal, rotating bezel, screw-down crown and 200 meter… and (at least to me) it looks great. Seems like a lot of watch for the money. Thanks for the helpful review.
Hey, just recieved my GPW automatic with rubber strap.
Hey, just received my GPW automatic with rubber strap. So far, so good. Love the watch. Strap is a bit stiff, but I imagine it will break in. The value proposition cannot be questioned. If one wants a “work” watch, this is it. Will check in on long term performance, but not worried.
Jose e Cruz
I am interest in buy a used GPW Titanium automatic Watch but it comes with a leather strap, which if a I decide to buy it and want to replace it. Where can I get a different strap for the watch?
Any strap that is 22mm.
I am hard on watches.
I’ve worn this watch for 5 or 6 years and it is a tough hombre!
It has performed flawlessly. Best all around watch I ever owned.
Your review describes it very well.
Thomas Ralph Anastasio
Are you still in business?
I am not sure who you are directing your question to. We are a review site. If you are wondering if GPW is still in business, I would contact them directly, though a quick look shows their website is still active.