Benrus GI July 1973

Benrus GI July 1973

With Richard Nixon in office, emphasis switched to “Vietnamization”: preparing South Vietnam’s military to take over responsibility for continuing the war. General Westmoreland was promoted to Army Chief of Staff and replaced in Vietnam by Gen. Creighton Abrams. For the first time, Military Assistance Command, Vietnam worked with South Vietnam’s government to create annual plans, and security improved even as American forces were in the process of withdrawing.

Their mettle was tested almost immediately. On March 30, 1972, the North Vietnamese attacked with fourteen divisions and additional individual regiments. Better-armed than ever before, thanks to increased aid from the Soviet Union, they employed tanks for the first time.

The Army of the Republic of Vietnam bent but did not break. By June they had stalled the invasion, with the help of American airpower. The NVA suffered some 120,000 casualties.

American draw-down continued, with only 43,000 personnel left in-country by mid-August.

In retaliation for the invasion, and in hopes of forcing Hanoi to negotiate in good faith, Nixon ordered Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam to be mined and he intensified bombing of North Vietnam. Hanoi offered to restart peace talks, yet remained intransigent in its demands. Frustrated, Nixon ordered the big bombers—B-52s—to strike Hanoi, beginning December 16 (Operation LINEBACKER). In less than two weeks, these strategic bombers had shattered the north’s defenses. On January 27, 1973, peace accords were signed between North Vietnam and the U.S.

On March 5, 1975, the NVA invaded again. No American air strikes came to aid the overstretched South Vietnamese. But the South Vietnamese advanced rapidly toward Saigon, realizing victory was at hand. On April 30, their tanks entered Saigon. American helicopters rescued members of its embassy and flew some South Vietnamese to safety, but most were left behind.

This particular piece with a contract date of July 1973, is a part of The General Issue (GI) wristwatch, ordered by the Department of Defense in 1964 for the ramp-up to Vietnam. The watch was designed to resist the exposure that combat in inhospitable environments presented. Built from a corrosion-resistant steel, the uni-body case excelled at protecting the movement from debris, moisture, and shock. 

The spartan dial design was daubed with Tritium luminous paint to be legible in low and modified light conditions. The manual wind movement has a hacking feature that enables soldiers to synchronize their timepieces to incredible accuracy for elite operations and coordinated movement.

This watch remains in excellent overall condition with a lovely anti-corrosion case and clean, unmolested dial and handset, making it a stunning military-issue timepiece ready for action!



SKU: TT01197

Parkerized steel case is approximately 34mm (excluding crown). Benrus DR2-F2 hacking movement. July 1973.

Overall Condition: Steel one-piece case is in very good condition overall with light, even wear from age and use. Dial is in good condition with overall patina and the luminescent elements across the dial and hands from darkened from age. Unsigned crown. Case back has signs of use and wear but is in otherwise good condition.

Includes one 18mm nylon strap.

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