SandY and Marathon Navigators Watches Compared

Front View
1999 Model P650

The uni-directional rotating bezel is quite stylish with it's petal-style recesses for the numbers, curved coin edge and an aluminum retainer with a clear protective window for the tritium vial. The bezel font is slightly rounded with serifs on the '1's. The numbers appear to be printed directly onto the bezel surface and are easily worn through or damaged by a knock. The 60-click detent system allows some play in the bezel position. The hour markers are held inside a raised minutes chapter ring which brings the minute divisions up level with the seconds hand, thereby eliminating parallax viewing error. Only about half the total area of each tritium vial is visible through it's window.
2008 Model 211

By contrast, the bi-directional rotating bezel is of a plain appearance - making no concession to style whatsoever. The numbers and markers are less prone to wear, the paint being sunken into the bezel surface. The triangular marker is more effective in determining the bezel position and does have a recessed green tritium vial which, however, is unprotected by any form of cover. The hour markers are simply glued to carriers at the dial outer edge and the minute markers are well below the seconds hand, thereby introducing considerable parallax viewing error. The total area of each tritium vial is visible making for a brighter and clearer display.
Side View
The side view shows more rounded surfaces and an overall height of 45mm. The flat glass crystal contributes to a height of only 10mm. The movement is a Ronda 715 date model with tall hand posts and 5 jewels - top of the line! A 371 battery is recommended.
No rounded surfaces on this utilitarian model which conforms well to the shape shown in the military specs and has an overall height of 47.5mm. The double domed acrylic crystal and snap-on back make it quite thick at 12.5mm. This one has an ETA f06 111 date movement with tall posts and 3 jewels. Takes a 395 battery, according to the instructions. Earlier plastic models had the ISA 1198.
xxxxx View
The tritium tubes still glow visibly in the dark on this 12 year old watch. The tritium activity has decayed to about 51% of its original value.
Additionally, these 3 year old tubes glow well at dusk and in dimly-lit spaces, because the tritium activity has only decayed to about 84%.

The P650 is a better-looking design and a nicer fit to my 55mm wide wrist. The design includes some costly manufacturing details such as the screw-on back, the protected bezel vial and the separate raised chapter ring. Negatives include the sloppy bezel fit, the ugly seconds hand, the flat highly reflective crystal and the use of spring bars. Furthermore, the use of a uni-directional bezel is quite questionable in a non-diver's watch. In spite of these negatives, the design has inspired countless homages since it's introduction.

The model 211 is less-innovative in appearance and closely follows the specification which, in turn, is clearly based on the MIL-W-50717 Benrus diver models. The dial presentation is a little clearer and the triangular marker on the bezel makes for easier setting and viewing. The bi-directional bezel rotation is a plus. The asymmetrical body is off-putting to some but a source of perverse joy for others. The domed acrylic crystal attracts scratches and dings due to the material used but, by the same token, it is easier to polish them out.

The P650 is much more collectible but the model 211 is the obvious choice for a daily beater.


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