Movement : Automatic Benrus Cal. GS1D2
Age : 1971/1980
Specific Age : Circa. 1974
Case Size : 41.5mm
Case Thickness : 16mm
Lug to Lug : 47.5mm
Lugs : 19.5mm
Condition : Pre-Owned
Box & Papers : None
Case Material : Stainless Steel
Warranty : 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty
The wrist model's wrist size is 6.5inch
Points of Mention
This watch is sold as "Watch Only" and therefore comes with no original BENRUS box or BENRUS paperwork. The watch comes paired with a strap. The watch is from Circa. 1974 and is in a used but overall in fair condition as you can see from the photographs, signs of wear and age are to be expected. The watch comes with our 12-Months NON-Waterproof Warranty.
Here we have a 1974 Benrus Type I Sterile Dial Automatic Military Watch, with the need for a more robust dive-orientated watch, the United States Department of Defense issued the MIL-W-50717 standard, these watches were built for almost a decade from circa 1972 until 1980. The 41.5mm bead-blasted solid piece of stainless steel asymmetric “monocoque case” (movement is removed through the front) sits majestically on the wrist, with a lug-to-lug length of 47.5mm and a case thickness of 16mm giving the watch an impressive wrist presence. On the right side, a crown is protected by the wide part of the case. The friction-fit bezel has deep knurling and 12-hour numerals painted in recesses under the bakelite insert, the first 20-minutes are highlighted and used when diving. A domed thick glass crystal sits above a black sterile dial, an outer minute track with painted discs and baton indexes infilled with Tritium mark the hours, ladder-style hands infilled with Tritium complemented by an arrow point second hand complete this historic military timepiece. On the reverse, we have the mil-spec number, manufacturer, NSN, manufacturer part number, contract number, production date, and serial number stamped into it. Inside an Automatic Benrus Cal. GS1D2 based on the ETA Cal 2620, 17 jewels, 21,600 beats per hour, this movement was made and modified to Military Specifications to have hacking seconds. The watch has spring bars and therefore can take 19/20mm straps.
If you are into your military watches this is a must-know and one to research! It is great to see Benrus re-release the Type 1 and it truly looks amazing, but there will always be something so incredibly special and impressive about the original Type 1... If you haven't had the chance, I'd recommend booking an appointment to come see this one for yourself, a wonderfully original example with marks and age to reflect its potential past! That is all part of the joy of vintage, the stories we may never know but only imagine.
Benrus was founded in 1921 by Benjamin Lazrus and his two brothers in New York, the brand name is made up of the first syllable of his name and the last syllable of the family name. With $5,000 in savings, they started importing Swiss watch cases and movements. Their headquarters can be still found in the Hippodrome building which sits in the heart of the Jewellery quarter of the city. During the 1940s their Sky Chief which is a combination of a pilot watch and their first chronograph became popular with the growing number of airlines and airline pilots around the world. The DTU-2A (MIL-W-3818) field watch was a common sight during the Vietnam war in both steel and later plastic. The use of plastic meant they could just throw away the watch when it broke rather than get it repaired something that is very much frowned upon today. The development of their 666ft compressor dive watches began in the 1960s. In 1968 the late Steve McQueen wore a Belrus watch in his film “Bullitt”. Today their military field and dive watches can be seen worn by members of the Navy Seals and special operations. At the height of the 'quartz crisis" in 1977, BENRUS declared bankruptcy. Their intellectual property was bought and sold many times over the years until the company rights were bought in lote 2017 by their former principal's solicitor Michael Sweeney who heads an investment group that has begun reviving some of their classic watches as part of the Heritage range. In 2021 they celebrated their 100 years Anniversary.