True military watches exude a kind of toughness that's hard to replicate. These watches--with their black dials, easy-to-read indices, 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.
The Department of Defense first ordered General Issue (GI) watches in 1964, to outfit soldiers in the years leading up to the conflict in Vietnam. Like the 'Dirty Dozen', the GI watches were made to resist exposure in inhospitable environments. Corrosion-resistant steel cases were utilized to protect the movement from debris, moisture, and shock that it would encounter in the jungles of Vietnam or the deserts of the Middle East.
The DoD contracted GI watches from many manufacturers, the most notable among them being Hamilton and Benrus. While other manufacturers cast their cases in plastic or fiberglass, Hamilton--the first manufacturer to receive the contract in 1964--cast theirs in steel throughout the entire 30 years of production. The look of these watches remained more or less the same during this interval, in keeping with the utility of their design and construction.
Their dials were spartan, and featured printed Arabic indices for both 12- and 24-hour graduations with luminous plots at each interval, with matching luminous 'syringe' hands and a 'spear' central seconds hand which was coated with a healthy dollop of Tritium to ensure maximum legibility. The 17-jewel, manual wind movements fitted were equipped with a hacking feature: a mechanism that stops the second hand from moving when setting the time. This enabled soldiers to synchronize their timepieces for maximum accuracy during elite operations and coordinated maneuvers. Despite the compact size of 34mm, these watches were designed to take a beating.
This particular example has a contract date of May 1983, as stamped on the case back and remains in New Old Stock, unworn condition. The luminous elements on the hands and indices have aged to an awesome even patina, and the case shows only faint traces of careful handling wear. It comes complete with its original shipping box with a June 1983 date stamp.
This is a rare opportunity to snag an unused, unworn military-issued contract field watch!
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