Benrus Military G.I. - Sept. 1964
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Benrus Military G.I. - Sept. 1964

True military watches exude a kind of toughness that's hard to replicate. These watches--with their black dials, easy-to-read numerals, and luminescent hands--pack a punch in a deceptively-compact package. No watches exemplify this toughness more than the General Issue watches manufactured from the Vietnam War to the early 1980s.

In the lead up to Vietnam War, the Department of Defense revised their specifications for various timepieces, eventually settling on two main specifications- the MIL-W-46374 and the MIL-W-3818B. Both called for unibody steel cases in corrosion-resistant steel to protect the movement from the debris, moisture and shock that it would withstand in the jungles of Vietnam and other combat zones, as well as a handwound movement and a spartan dial.

While cosmetically very similar, the MIL-W-46374 spec was meant for infantry, the MIL-W-3818B specification was generally intended for use among pilots, navigators, and others for whom accurate timekeeping was a priority, and as such, differed in a few key ways. Most notably, the sterile dial remained free of any extraneous markings to ensure maximum readability, and the movement was upgraded to a 17-jewel unit with a hacking feature: a mechanism that stops the second hand from moving when setting the time. This enabled pilots to synchronize their timepieces to incredible accuracy for elite operations and coordinated maneuvers.

Despite putting out the specification to many manufacturers, including those who had won contracts for the infantry models, only Benrus initially met the more rigorous MIL-W-3818B specifications and were the exclusive manufacturers of this model until it was revised to the more well-known GG-W-113 speficiation in 1969.

This particular example watch dates from September 1964, making it among the earliest examples of this model's nearly two-decade run. The tritium on the hands and hour plots has aged to an awesome, even patina and the large, knurled crown features the "dimple" typical of Benrus military watches of this era.

Combining sturdy construction and a respectable history of use by American service members, this Benrus Pilot's watch is a true testament to the versatility and timeless appeal of proper military timepieces.

Details

Steel case is approximately 34mm (excluding the crown). Circa 1964.

Overall Condition: Corrosion-resistant matte grey steel case is in very good condition, with sharp lugs and minimal signs of use and wear in keeping with its age. Dial is in superb condition with no major signs of discoloration or hand drag. Luminescent elements on the hour plots have gained a fantastic even patina over time. Hands show some slight corrosion but are in otherwise very good condition, with even patina to the luminescent elements. Unsigned crown; stamped case back bears some light tool marks but is in otherwise good condition, with legible military markings including serial number.

Includes two 18mm nylon straps from Crown & Buckle.

SKU: TT01027.

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