Stocker & Yale SandY P650 Type 6 military

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24-hour faces

-- wristwatches --

Stocker & Yale P650 military

Universal Genève Tri-Compax

Yema «Bipôle Duopoly»

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Greenwich Obs. Shepherd

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Stocker & Yale SandY P650 Type 6 military

When I was in the Army we were given no standard issue wristwatch, but we had the run of the Post Exchange in which to shop for goodies and subsidized prices. But it was only twenty years later that I finally found the right military wristwatch for me.

The Stocker and Yale (SandY) P650 type 6 is standard issue to Army Rangers, Army Special Forces (the so-called Green Berets), the Navy SEALs (Sea, Air, Land), and the multi-service EOD (Explosives Ordnance Demolition) teams. To date there have been three rounds of P650s: 1995, 1999, and 2000. All seem identical, save the date on the caseback and box.

The non-reflecting black reinforced-polyester injection-molded case is about 46 mm lug-to-lug, 45 mm wide, and 10 mm thick. Issued with a 20 mm black nylon wristband, it's designed for a 22 mm one. (Don't ask, I have no idea.) As might be expected of a timepiece issued to the folks first in harm's way, the P650 is labelled as water- and shock-resistant (although it do better than just resist water given that SEALs spend a good bit of their time underwater). A sapphire glass covers the watch.

The dial is best described as stark, with thick, high-contrast white lettering on a matte black background. Very easy to read. Standard 12-hour markings with 24-hour annotation. The distinctive radioactive tri-foil symbol appears on the watch face, as does the H3 (Tritium) notation, because the hour positions, the zero position on the unidirectional bezel, and the hour and minute hands each have a brightly-glowing vial of tritium gas. Taken together they contain less than the personal limit of 25 millicuries. (U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulations 10 CFR 30.15.)

The P650 is incredibly bright at night, far too bright for a soldier in the field to wear without a covering watchband. When I take it hiking I can be seen from a good distance. Good to know, unless you're planning to execute your plans when the fireflies are out and blinking.

Issues I have with the P650: the bezel is somewhat next to useless because it moves too freely, hardly something that one could use in a critical situation. The lack of a tritium vial on the second hand makes exact timing and synchronization of events pretty much impossible in low-light situations; whither cost-cutting or poor engineering (let the vial ride on the short part of the second hand if necessary) it seems a thoughtless omission.

Stocker and Yale make only a small number of P650s above their contractual requirements for the government. This surplus must be exported from the USA, per licensing agreements. The commercial marketplace is served by others who pay a royalty to Stocker and Yale. Several civilian variants of the P650 are currently available

Traser (UK, at right) offers a pretty straight-forward version. Luminox (USA, at left) offers their "Navy SEALs" model in five colors, black, white, yellow, red, and blue. (The image with a melange of colors is my concoction, so you can get the idea without taking up too much screen space.)


In these versions the bezels display a 60-minute time rather than GMT, a tritium vial has been added to the seconds hand, and a date appears (which presumably must be adjusted at the end of each month).

Luminox also brands a variant as a USAF (F-117) Stealth wristwatch (lower left). Here the bezel has the stock P650 GMT markings.


In closing, I offer an image of the Stocker and Yale P660 prototype (at right).

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!
 

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