Marathon GSAR automatic dive watch

This post is certainly a break from the typical fitness, health and nutrition related missives that you see on this blog. But I think that it is a worthy tangent to take as once in awhile, it is nice to enjoy some of the other fruits of life. And to a man, a nice watch is one of those (rare) luxuries.  🙂

The Marathon Watch company is based out of Canada and manufactures watches for the United States, Canadian and many other NATO member militaries. They do not manufacture the actual guts of the watch, that is the automatic movements (the Marathon GSAR uses an ETA 2824-2 movement from the Swatch Group) and ould be considered a etablisseur in Swiss watchmaking parlance. Having said all that, the Marathon GSAR is a pretty cool automatic dive watch.

Marathon GSAR watch

I wasn’t really looking to buy (another) watch. I happened to run across a “great deal” for the GSAR and somehow convinced myself that I should be adding a dive watch to my collection. And with that, I became (the proud) owner of a Marathon Government Search and Rescue (GSAR) dive watch.  As implied by the name, and barely seen in the picture above, this watch does have the words “U.S. Government” on the watch face as it is the standard issue in many U.S. military and government personnel. I can see this possibly bothering some people, but I didn’t think it was a huge deal.

The official dimensions of the watch are 41mm in diameter and 14mm thickness. This is a bit deceiving though as the dial size is pretty small when compared to the overall size of the case. And though 14mm may be a bit hard to translate to real world equivalent – this watch is in a word “chunky”!

Chunky watch
Side view of the chunky GSAR case which is built like a tank

When it comes to watches, the water resistance rating is one of the biggest scams going. A dress watch may be rated at 30 meters / 100 feet but that doesn’t mean you can actually take it into 100 feet of water. Its actually just barely water/splash resistant. Not meant to be in water at all. But with the GSAR being a dive watch and rated at 300 meters / 1000 feet, it will actually live up to the rating and is made in accordance with the ISO 6425 specifications. Even though most of us will never use it at those depths, you can wear this constantly – including in the shower, out in the rain, swimming, etc. – and not worry about ruining it. Many NATO countries issue this watch to active military personnel so you know its going to be able to take a beating and still keep on ticking.

The other big feature of the GSAR is the “lume” (luminosity or the ability to glow in the dark). Marathon uses Tritium Gas Light Systems (TGLS) in the hands of the GSAR and they use their trademarked MaraGlo around the markings to give it a very good lume. Tritium is radioactive, and the watch has the “H3” and the standard radioactive symbol on the dial, but the level of radioactivity is very small and well contained in the watch making it safe for use. The half life of the tritium gas is 12.3 years so the watch should have a very good lume for a long time.

Marathon GSAR’s Tritium (H3) lume is very long lasting

Here are some of the specifications for the Marathon Government Search and Rescue (GSAR) automatic watch.

Movement – Self winding automatic; 25 jewels; ETA 2824-2
Case – 316L Stainless Steel
Submersibility – 300 feet / 1000 meters / 30 ATM (ISO 6425)
Bezel – Unidirectional
Crystal – Sapphire
Crown – Screw in
Diameter – 41mm
Thickness – 14mm
Strap – 20mm black rubber
Calendar – Date
SKU – WW194006

The Marathon GSAR is  a damn good watch. I would recommend it as a daily wear, casual watch.  Amazon often has these GSAR watches available for a decent price.