RECOMMENDED READING: British Navy sailor jailed for stealing Special Forces dive watchesHenry Zwartz
Watches with real military heritage carry a special allure to them – something that has been recognised both by enthusiasts and collectors. There’s a reassuring authenticity about a tool watch designed for a specific purpose (look at the Marine Nationale’s input into the design of the Tudor FXD, for example), or a watch built to withstand the rigours of active employment.
As a result, these watches can garner significant demand, even for humbler quartz pieces by the likes of CWC, a brand that has produced watches for the British military for decades.
Unfortunately, that allure proved to be the undoing of one former Royal Navy sailor, who resorted to stealing CWC dive watches that are used by elite SBS commandos and selling them for up to £500 on eBay.
Retailing on the CWC website for £699, the CWC SBS Diver Issue watches have been built for elite units of the British Forces – the Royal Marines & Special Boat Service since 1987. Water-resistant to 300 metres, the quartz-powered, PVD-coated watches are made in Switzerland and are slathered in Super Luminova for easy legibility.
The Daily Mail reported that able seaman Joshua Cheetham had built up debts by “living beyond his means”. The sailor was working as a storeman on a Type-23 frigate HMS Kent while he stole the watches.
During his court martial, the court heard that the 26-year-old made £1,642 by selling six watches before finally being caught out in February 2021 when buyers of the CWC watches on eBay contacted the Ministry of Defence to verify the validity of the watches they had just bought.
The board at Bulford Military Court in Wiltshire dismissed Cheetham from the service and sentenced him to three months in military prison. He must also pay £1,367.70.
Once again, this story underlines the critical importance of checking the authenticity and provenance of any watch you buy on the secondary market. Read more here.