SANDY P650 NAVIGATOR'S WATCH 'FOREFATHER OF THE 'NAVY SEALS' WATCH' LUEL MAGAZINE MAR. 2015
Admittedly, military issue items have to meet two basic standards - they should be durable enough to withstand extreme conditions abuse; and should be intuitive and easy enough to handle after a few minutes of familiarization. Stocker and Yale's (SANDY) P650, introduced in mid 1990's as US military issue watch, was no exception by these standards. To maximize night-time visibility SANDY P650 adopted tritium (chemical element symbol: H3) gas filled vials on the hands and the dial face as light-emitting source instead of painting luminescent material. H3 vials give the watch benefit of constant self-powered lighting, without having to be 'recharged' by other light sources like sunlight.
SANDY P650 ISSUED 2000
The manufacturer and supplier of the P650 watch, Stocker and Yale Inc. was not a professional watchmaker at that time. They won the government contract nevertheless, because SANDY was one of the very few companies with a license to handle tritium which is a radioactive material, and also had a good record of supplying self-luminating compasses to the US military.
SANDY 183 COMPASS ISSUED 1990
SANDY 184 ISSUED 1984
SANDY had all the know-hows about tritium, but little about watchmaking itself. So P650s were manufactured basically by a Swiss OEM, which explains the Swiss-made quartz movement Ronda 713 inside of them. Let's go a little more into details - the big-sized 46mm case was made of light but heavy duty synthetic materials from nylon and polyester, and was equipped with GMT bezel to meet the requirements of military pilots and air crews.
Early in the 2000s, almost identical 'civilian' version of SANDY P650 became available in the market, namely the 'Navy SEALs' watch made by companies like Luminox and Traser. They ranked as an instant hit because of the durability and functionality surpassing those of the original. The popularity of these descendants led to the higher value of the original P650 as a collectible time piece.
Fancy looked Navy Seals style watch by LUMINOX from early 2000s
According to the documents SANDY P650s were manufactured under 3 government contracts only, in the years of 1995, 99 and 2000. Well-preserved P650s are very rare in the worldwide vintage watch market, but it is relatively easier to find in south Korea thanks to the presence of US Forces Korea.
NOSTIME VINTAGE WATCHES