Original U.S. Vietnam War Wristwatch by Benrus Watch Company - Dated May 1969

Item Description

Original Item: Only One Available. There is no warranty for this watch and returns for a non-working watch will not be honored. Please note all watches are wound and tested before shipment. We are not in the watch repair business- ALL SALES ARE FINAL.

The Vietnam War was a long, dark period in American military history. Primarily a conflict between North and South Vietnam, and by proxy the communist and anti-communist allies, this 20 year conflict came at the cost of 3 million human lives, most of them civilian.

U.S. involvement began in 1954 and ended when Nixon ordered the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1973. For enthusiasts of mechanical watches and military history, this period of time produced a plethora of interesting military watches with real historical provenance. From the military specific field watches produced by Bulova, Elgin and Benrus to the civilian dive and pilot watches acquired by troops at Post Exchanges.

Most of the mil-spec watches produced during this time period were “non-maintainable”, or essentially disposable like this example. They were designed to last for two years and be replaced after they quit working. Considering the rigors of combat that these watches were subjected to, it’s a miracle that this Benrus even survived at all!

Since “military-spec” watches were not issued to troops, many servicemen acquired their own personal watches during R&R at one of the foreign military bases. Seiko watches in particular were incredibly popular, being both relatively affordable and unobtainable in the U.S., it was common to see a Japanese dive or field watch on the wrist of an American service member.

The Benrus
Amongst the official government issued military watches, the Benrus DTU-2A/P was the first to be issued per the new MIL-W-3818B standard. As a precursor to the GG-W-113 and evolution of the A-11, this little field watch became the template for all military field watches in the modern era. It's simple black face, with arabic numbers and a 24 hour inner-track, has become a recognizable hallmark for almost all future field watch designs.

Although other companies such as Longines-Wittnauer, Mathey-Tissot, Bulova, and Clinton submitted prototypes to the Department of Defense for testing, only the Benrus model passed the rigorous standards for the new specification. It was subsequently supplied to military personnel between 1964 and 1969.

A unique feature of the Benrus DTU-2A/P is the use of traditional spring bars instead of the fixed lugs found on most military models. This allowed it to be worn on a variety of two-piece or single-piece straps instead of being constrained to a NATO.

Inside the watch is a Benrus Caliber DR 2F2, a hand-wound 17-jewel movement based on the ETA cal. 2370. Benrus modified the movement to include a simple hacking mechanism to adhere to military specification. Like many other military watches, the movement is housed inside of a one-piece case that must be serviced through the crystal of the watch. Although it added a bit of work for the watchmaker, the one-piece case greatly improved water resistance by reducing the number of intrusion points in the case.

This example is in lovely functional condition with all original components. The watch unfortunately is over wound and the only way to release the tension is to shake or rock it back and forth. A quick fix is to wear the watch for a few days and you will start to notice the second hand moving again on its own.

Comes ready to wear or display!
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