Original U.S. Vietnam War Disposable Field Wristwatch - Benrus Part No. 11K1185Q dated July 1964

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 most 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.

Benrus Watch Company
Benrus was one of the first companies to make watches under the new MIL-W-46374 specification for "Disposable" watches. Its simple black face, with Arabic numbers and a 24 hour inner-track, has become a recognizable hallmark for almost all future field watch designs. The case is a single piece of plastic, with slot-type watch band fittings directly molded in. This means that 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 a replacement band, which looks to be recent production. It is fully marked on the back of the case with the date JULY 1964, as well as the military stock numbers and Benrus manufacturer part number 11K1185Q.

Comes ready to wear or display!

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