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. This particular example was produced by Benrus and has a contract date of July 1975, as stamped on the case back.
Featuring an ultra-lightweight monocoque case cast in olive green plastic, this example is in outstanding condition, clearly spared the rigors of duty in the field. The luminous elements on the hands and indices have developed a warm even patina, and it comes fitted to its (likely original) green nylon single-pass strap with blackened steel hardware.
Combining a sturdy construction with a respectable history of use by American service members, this example is a true testament to the versatility and timeless appeal of the GI watch - even when produced in inexpensive materials and designed to be thrown out after they have served their purpose!
NOTE: This special watch comes from the collection of a wristwatch obsessed 30-year veteran of the US Military who saw combat in Iraq, and served at the Pentagon and for the United Nations and US Department of Defense. His badges, awards, and decorations include The Combat Action Badge, The Parachutist Badge, The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.
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