This Benrus Type II Class A is a monster of a watch, and for good reason. In the ’70s, the American forces gave Benrus a specification (MIL-W-50717) outlining their needs for a diving watch and what you see here is the result.
Equipped with a large 43mm super-solid parkerised asymmetrical case, a highly legible dial and simple functionality, these pieces were issued to elite military divers, including the Navy SEALs. Furthermore, with a depth rating at the time of 365 meters and bi-directional notched bezel, this is serious the ultimate utility watch that both looks and acts the part.
The caseback is stamped with all the associated military numbers, including the mil-spec number (MIL-W-50717), the manufacturer and model number, the NSN and manufacturer part number, it’s contract number alongside its production date and serial number.
Initially, looking at pictures of the Benrus Type II, I wasn’t a fan. I didn’t like its oversized odd-shaped case and sparse design, but then seeing it in the flesh and wearing it, everything changed. This is one of those watches where you really need to try it on to realise it’s impressiveness- everything just feels so solid and high in quality.
These are a grail piece amongst military collectors, so much so that multiple reissues by independent companies have been made, including the Paradive from MKII and the Marathon Navigator. This though is still the best and the original. With only around 9000 pieces made, this is just as rare as the IWC Mk 11 and remains at a very accessible price point.
One of the last mechanical watches issued to the American forces, it is a true collectable piece that can also be worn daily.