Benrus was one of the preferred suppliers of timepieces to the U.S. government, starting in the early 1960s, when they started producing pieces in large quantities for pilots and infantrymen in the Vietnam War. In the 1970s, the government issued the MIL-W-50717 specification, creating special sub-classes of wristwatches for their most demanding users--including elite military divers like the Navy SEALS, who saw action in the Mekong Delta during the Vietnam War.
Benrus produced the Type I and Type II from 1972 to the 1980s. The Type I and Type II feature different dial designs but share the same 43mm asymmetrical corrosion-resistant steel case and ETA-based automatic movement. True to its purpose, Benrus designed the parkerized steel case of the Type II has a depth rating of 1200 feet.
Within the Type II specification, around 9000 were designated as 'Class A,' the highest grade that could be designated to military-issue equipment. The dial of the Class A Type I has small luminescent triangles that surmount the numerals at each hour. The bezel of the Type II is also bi-directional, unlike that of the Type I.
This particular example dates to February 1978. It's one of the last true mechanical American military watches to be issued and worn by our fighting elite. While vintage military watches abound, there are few that are as interesting and impressive as the Benrus Type II.
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