BENRUS Type I Class A

US Navy AUG 1974


Benrus Corp 17j. ETA automatic movement

Hacking feature

Screw-down crown, fixed bar lugs

One-piece case design

150m diver's

47x42mm anodized stainless steel case

Bakelite rotating bezel



The very first models of this Benrus Type I Class A diver’s have been issued to UDT-SEALS towards the end of the Vietnam war. Benrus manufacture was assigned with the special task of creating a simple-designed but yet durable and reliable piece of military equipment that would be issued to Special Forces in Vietnam.

This particular Type I of my collection is a 1974 issue with full military inscriptions. Case back inscriptions reveal NATO codes describing date of issue as well as U.S. Government specifications. Class A is believed to stand for the highest classification for military watches whereas MIL specifications refer to the presence of an automatic movement which is extremely rare for a U.S. military watch, until today.

The design of the case itself is very simple as regards to practical purpose of military equipment in general. The face is clean of any sign or wording that would reveal the manufacture or the model and is thus extremely easy to read.

A variant sterile version is believed to have been issued to Special Forces but not marked for the purpose of discretion. Such forces were probably serving undercover missions abroad, explaining the unidentifiable version of their military equipment.



N00104-74-D-0544 AUG 1974




Original crown with a 'dimple' (hard to catch on camera)
Replacement domed crystal
During Vietnam, some of these watches were fitted with non-issued 'Olongapo' metal bands named after the city near Subic Bay in the Philippines. Those 'Olongapos' would usually bear the soldier's unit emblems. I am still searching for a fine example of those! till then, a 20mm Nato black band fits really nice.

Brushed metal finish case