Benrus GI Watch - 1974

Curated by our friends at Analog/Shift

The Story

True military watches exude a kind of toughness that's hard to replicate. These watches (with their black dials, easy-to-read numerals, 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.

In the lead up to Vietnam War, the Department of Defense revised their specifications for various timepieces, eventually settling on two main specifications- the MIL-W-46374 and the MIL-W-3818B. While cosmetically similar, the MIL-W-46374 spec was intended as a simple, inexpensive field watch for infantry and most other Army personnel.

In contrast, the MIL-W-3818B specification called for a higher-grade unit approved for use by Army, Navy and Air Force and, as such, differed in a few key ways. Most notably, a corrosion-resistant steel case, a sterile dial free of any extraneous markings to ensure maximum readability, and an upgraded 17-jewel movement with a hacking feature: a mechanism that stops the second hand from moving when setting the time. This enabled teams to synchronize their timepieces much more accurately for elite operations and coordinated maneuvers.

Despite putting out the specification to many manufacturers, including those who had won contracts for the infantry models, only Benrus initially met the more rigorous MIL-W-3818B specifications and were the exclusive manufacturers of this model until it was revised to the more well-known GG-W-113 specification in 1969.

This particular example watch dates from January 1974, making it a particularly early example of this model's nearly two-decade run. The luminous elements have darkened from age and while many examples seen now have been polished, this one retains a matte-gray corrosion resistant finish.

Combining sturdy construction and a respectable history of use by American service members, this Benrus GI watch is a true testament to the versatility and timeless appeal of proper military timepieces.

The Details

Maker: Benrus
Model: GI
Year: 1974
Material: Parkerized Steel
Diameter: 34mm (excluding crown)
Caliber: Benrus DR2-F2 hacking movement
Serial No.: 17869
Bracelet/Strap: Nylon black NATO strap
Lug width: 18mm

Overall Condition

Case is in very good condition overall with moderate signs of use and wear. Dial is in very good condition with signs of patina to the luminescent elements. Unsigned crown. Case back has military markings.


Analog/Shift stands behind the authenticity of their products in perpetuity and backs each vintage timepiece with a one-year mechanical warranty from the date of purchase. For full information on warranty, condition and shipping, please click here.

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