Purveyors of Classic Vintage Mechanical Watches

Roamer Rhodesia Military Watch

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roamer anfibio rhodesia

Roamer Rhodesia Military Watch

A rare military watch with a great story.

This isn’t the sort of item we normally carry but three things attracted us to this watch: First, it is relatively rare, second, it has a great story and third, I have a soft spot for Roamers (I wore a porcelain dial Roamer mechanical for more than a decade).

This is a Roamer Anfibio watch issued to members of the Rhodesian military in the 1970s.

The rarity of this piece relates closely to the story of its origins. The Roamer Anfibio watch was a rugged and hardy Swiss military water resistant watch. When they Rhodesian government sought to outfit their armed forces with timepieces, this was the model of their choice. The only problem was that Rhodesia was under a trade embargo that would prevent them from purchasing these watches on the open market. Nonetheless, the entire Rhodesian armed forces wound up with these watches. Apparently, they were smuggled from Britain, through sympathetic South Africa, into Rhodesia in defiance of the trade ban.

The Roamer Anfibio Rhodesian Military Issue watch was made by Roamer from 1974 until the late 70s and became the iconic watch of the war. It was an actual ordnance issued watch, as evidenced by the “RA xxxx” serial number engraved on the case back (you will also see this model with “ZA” engravings — those stand for “Zud Africa” — South Africa.) The watch comes with a rare MST520 17-jewel hacking manual wind movement running at 21600 bph. One of the distinct peculiarities of this model is the fact that the stem has 3 positions — despite the fact that there is no date module on this watch. The reason is that this caliber movement was sold to civilians with a date module.

The case is all stainless steel and in Very Good condition, though with some minor signs of wear The watch employs a clever waterproofing system whereby the crystal encases the movement completely (except for the back). The crystal also has a gasket embedded in it. (A tough replacement part!) The crystal on this watch is in Very Good shape with only minor signs of wear. The dial and hands are all original and in Very Good shape, though the lume has faded.

We’ve added to this watch a great stitched nylon military band with blacked out hardware. Looks great. Runs great. Ready to wear.

The service history of this watch is not known. It has not been serviced while in my possession. While it is currently running good and keeping excellent time, I would advise you to have the watch taken to a jeweler to have it cleaned, oil and adjusted; this will help ensure a long and useful life for your vintage watch.

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