Benrus, along with Longines-Wittnauer, Mathey-Tissot, and Clinton Watch of Chicago, submitted samples to the U.S. Department of Defense in bid for the DoD contract – but only Benrus met (and surpassed) all specifications put forth by the DoD.
In early 1964, the Marine Corps submitted a Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request to purchase 10,849 watches, with the proposal subsequently issued to Benrus that same year.
That watch was the MIL-W-3818B – like the late 1960s United States military-issue one here – which features both 12 and 24 hour markers and was the predecessor to the legendary MIL-W-46374. No fancy buttons or bezels. Just a very simple and reliable watch that does what it is specified to do – tell time on the battlefield.
Since the watch was first worn, it has been an information tool, giving its wearer some piece of intelligence otherwise not known. Perhaps nowhere is that truer or better realized than in the military watch. Almost as long as watches have existed, governments and military's have been buying and issuing timepieces to be used in nearly every military scenario imaginable. Strictly utilitarian, these watches have served as functional instruments, designed to give their wearers specific and accurate information in environments not often encountered by civilian watches.
In the 1960s, Benrus no doubt recognized the quality of the simple military designs they were producing for the United States Government and debuted a version of the watch on the commercial market – to include one wore by Steve McQueen in the movie “Bullitt.”
This USMIL-issued MIL-W-3818B comes with two nylon NATO straps, its original nylon ZULU strap, hard plastic travel case, and springbar tool.
USMIL-Issued 1969 Benrus MIL-W-3818B-spec DTU-2A/P Mechanical Watch
DIAL: Benrus-signed dial, and excellently aged patina on the dial indices and hands. Please note, dial remains in great condition, with the majority of the imperfections seen existing on the original crystal, not dial.
CASE: Common for the era, this watch measures 34mm (35.5mm w/crown) x 40.5mm stainless-steel case. Of note, unlike the military-issued variant, this Benrus features removeable springbars – vice fixed – allowing the use of regular straps or bracelets.
CRYSTAL: Acrylic crystal with several small scratches and imperfections. It can be difficult to find watches such as these without scratches – after all, they’re served rough duty, even if not military-issued.
BAND: This Ref. 3061 comes with a brown leather strap, as well as a black nylon NATO strap – both of which nicely compliment the military look of this Benrus.
MOVEMENT: 17-jewel Benrus DR 2F2 hand wound mechanical movement, in essence a Benrus-signed ETA 2372 movement. Keeping to its military roots, this Benrus movement is hacking.
CROWN: Unsigned stainless-steel crown.