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It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

By J. Heffner | @pinaplwtchs

A bite-sized history of the Canadian brand

There are a few objective truths regarding the Marathon Watch Company. Although they serve a relatively niche market, their mass appeal is attributable to their quality in construction, and brand image. Within their price range, they dominate. Sure, Marathon doesn’t compete with the big luxury names, but they still offer Swiss heritage around the price of a Seiko diver.

Marathon was formally founded in 1939 as the evolution of the 1904 company ‘Weinstrum Watch’ by the Wein family. It was during WWII when their mission of supplying military timepieces began by outfitting the Allied Forces throughout the war. Ever since (1941 to be exact), Marathon Watch Company has become synonymous with purpose-built reliability.

Marathon is currently the sole supplier of timepieces to the United States Armed Forces, and their watches must meet US Military Standard MIL-PRF-46374G. Marathon’s patrons also include the Israeli Defense Force, and Canadian Navy.

One of their modern offerings - the Navigator / Credit: Hodinkee

Traditionally made in Canada, the Marathon Watch Company turned Swiss through a partnership with Gallet around the 1990s. Gallet is famous for being one of the oldest watch makers in the world with a history dating to the 1400s.

Some famous examples of classic Marathon Watches include the Marathon/Gallet ‘ADANAC’ (Canada spelled backwards), and the SAR (search and rescue) diver.

I love the strap combo here / Credit: Those Watch Guys

While there are some obvious classics in the Marathon lineup (given away by the similarities between the vintage/modern examples), I feel that the brand’s classic field watch is the way to go. Sure, it might not be as fun as the asymmetric case of the Navigator, but it’s the keystone of the brand’s heritage - like the Speedmaster is to Omega.

A modern classic / Credit: Marathon

To this day, reportedly 90 percent of Marathon’s watches are sold through government contracts. Their online presence is seemingly known only by the enthusiast. Still, with a rich history and solid product to back it, Marathon Watches are nothing short of an A+ buy.

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