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During World War II urgent measures were taken to improve standards of navigation. The Chief of Air Staff for the Royal Air Force championed an airborne map painting radar system called H2S. Codename Gee, Rebecca and Oboe, these were three advanced radio beam based systems.
From 1944 H2S proved itself a valuable bombing and navigation aid but the magnetic fields its radar screens produced wreaked havoc with the first generation of navigation wristwatches. A radar resistant cage of soft iron was introduced around the watch movement to counter magnetism. Is this still necessary today?‘Yes,’ said watchmaker Christophe Hoppe. ‘The Aviator has a cage around the movement to protect it from magnetism and then the case back on top. It makes it a thicker watch than without the anti-magnetism but its a must when I know that a lot of Air Force personnel and pilots will be wearing the watch next to machines that could be magnetic.’
Click here to view the Official Air Force 2021 timepiece collection