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Hi guys
How a you all? I was thinking about buying a Benrus type:1 dive watch. I' have read that this is the watch that was given to the Special Forces durling the Vietnam War. I was also wondering how much would a watch like this set me back. All the one I have seen have been uses, can I still get my hand on a NOS one.
 

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If you are keen on a NOS Benrus, the closest you are likely to come is to purchase one of the MMT Blackwater homages by Bill Yao (click on the Mark-II-Corp. banner near the top of the forum). :)
 

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Type 1's go for about a grand...

in decent condition. I have never seen any NOS Type 1's, and only one NOS type II for sale-- ever.

And, as with any military watch, finding one in really good condition can be problematic, and usually very expensive. Mint Type I fetch closer to the $1200-1500 price point.

Type II's trade for a couple hundred less or so so that may not be a bad starting point. They were issued along side the Type I's and eventially replaced them, and really only differ in the dial layout.



Or do as Crusader mentioned and check out Bill Yao's offerings.
 

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They were issued along side the Type I's and eventially replaced them,
The Type I was intended to be a diver's watch, it suppliment the Tornek-Rayvilles procured under MIL-W-22176, and later superceeded them.

The Type II was intended to be a navigation watch, or a "pilot's watch."

The reason the Type Is were not procured more in the later years is because the Navy found that commercial diver's (such as the Tudor/Rolexes and even later, Seikos) were cheaper and better suited as dive equipment.

A Tudor cost the Government about $250 each, the Benrus' about $50 more.
 

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The Type I was intended to be a diver's watch, it suppliment the Tornek-Rayvilles procured under MIL-W-22176, and later superceeded them.

The Type II was intended to be a navigation watch, or a "pilot's watch."
It may be interesting to note that in the mil.spec. both Types I and II are equally described as "Submersible and Navigation"; the dial patterns are referred to simply as "symboled" und "numbered" dials. However, for the Type I, the mil.spec. describes a "navigation elapsed time ring" (1-12, which we are all familiar with) and a "submersible elapsed time ring" (0-60 in the usual dive bezel pattern) - the latter is fairly rare to non-existent, or at least I haven't seen a picture of it.

So while I agree with Lysander that the Type I is clearly more of a dive watch, and the Type II more of a navigator, apparently the persons who wrote the mil.spec. considered the difference between navigational and dive watches in the bezel, not the dial pattern.

BTW, I consider the dual-use 1-12 bezel with the additional markings for the first 20 minutes the most practical bezel. One can time minutes, hours, use it for a second timezone ... clever piece of kit, that. :)
 

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The Type I was intended to be a diver's watch, it suppliment the Tornek-Rayvilles procured under MIL-W-22176, and later superceeded them.

The Type II was intended to be a navigation watch, or a "pilot's watch."



The reason the Type Is were not procured more in the later years is because the Navy found that commercial diver's (such as the Tudor/Rolexes and even later, Seikos) were cheaper and better suited as dive equipment.

A Tudor cost the Government about $250 each, the Benrus' about $50 more.

I've never seen anything to suggest that the Type II was intended solely as a Pilot's watch - the Specs refer only to a "symboled" and "numbered" dials and the Spec itself is titled "Wris, Watch, Subersible and Navigation"

As for the Rolex and Tudor replacing the Benrus - you have it backwards. I recently had a discussion with Cmdr. Al Betters USN (retired) who served in UDT and Seals and helped to establish the SEAL Museum in Fl. (and helped Whitney write his book "Military Timepieces" ); he stated the Rolex was being used in the 50s and the Tudor in the 60s to be replaced by the TR-900 (short lived) and the Benrus I and II. Both the Rolex and the Tudor were purchased at the Unit level (not a government contract).

"Billy my issued timepieces were the; Elgin & the Hamilton canteen type
and we had the same crown problem with the Hamilton (too small).Then
came the Rolex Submariner,1954 ,then a Tudor, then a Benrus" Cmdr. Al Betters ... Later emails discussed why he wasn't issued a TR-900.

If someone is searching for a Type I or II - i'd say now is the time to grab them ; as other military divers such as the MN Tudor are quickly going through the roof (and i'd be these will quickly follow). Yesterday a nice MN Tudor with Reforme papers went for over $4K !



Kind Regards,

Billy
 

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BTW - a quick check of references shows that a Type II >>

Hi all,

i did a quick check of some reference material i have which shows that a Benrus Type II Class B was sold on MWR's (broadarrow.net) PX (sales page) by the original owner ; a US Navy Sub "safety diver" back in the Spring of 2003 to a well know collector (Ronbo). This clearly goes to show that the Type II wasn't "just" a watch issued to pilot's or Navigation purposes. The Type B - which is the Spec for a non-lume (and non-rad.) dive watch would make perfect sense for a diver working off a Sub w/ Radiation Equip.

Hope this helps / is of interest ...

Kind Regards,

Billy
 

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I said intended.

Anybody that has spent more that two weeks in the military knows how blurred the line between intent and execution gets. I knew a bunch of truck mechanics that ordered through supply, and were issued Marathon Navigators, they knew how to game the system and get what they wanted. That does not mean that Navigators are also "intended" for truck mechanics.

The Type I, or symboled dial, according to the specification, was available with:

"Style N - Navigation Elapsed Time Ring
Style S - Submersible Elapsed Time Ring"

And very clearly states "NOTE: Styles are applicable to Type I only."

while the numbered dial Type II was only available with the "Navigation Elapsed Time Ring," this indicated that the Type II was intended primarially for Navigational use. But, since either was good to 1200 feet below the surface, or 35,000 feet above it, it really depends on the taste of the person ordering the watch which one you might get.

Both were suppose to be available in non-luminous, Class B versions but I have never seen a Type I, Class B.

The Tudor was procured by the government and was assigned an NSN (6645-01-068-1088, Model 76100 ,and 6645-21-558-0133 Model 9402). These were most likely after the Commanders time in service, noted by the "01" in the first NSN, which first starts showing up in the eighties, and the second one is a Canadian NSN that shows up in the Fedeal supply catalog in the nineties.

The early to mid-eighties was also a period when items that were common in the civilian world, and had functional equivalents in the military (such as diver's watches) were procured by the Government not as spec items, but under goverment contarct (but not as COTS,) as they were usually cheaper, and often better. The reason I say better, is because the Mil-Specs told the contractor what type of materials and often how to built the item, as well as defining design elements contractor may have not totally agreed with, warranties were not available or very limited, non-spec items were usually purchased with the same warranty as the commercial version.

As to why the apparently disparate specifications for the navigation and dive watches should be lumped togather in one specification, I have a theory, but more on that later.
 

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I said intended.

Anybody that has spent more that two weeks in the military knows how blurred the line between intent and execution gets. I knew a bunch of truck mechanics that ordered through supply, and were issued Marathon Navigators, they knew how to game the system and get what they wanted. That does not mean that Navigators are also "intended" for truck mechanics.

The Type I, or symboled dial, according to the specification, was available with:

"Style N - Navigation Elapsed Time Ring
Style S - Submersible Elapsed Time Ring"

And very clearly states "NOTE: Styles are applicable to Type I only."

while the numbered dial Type II was only available with the "Navigation Elapsed Time Ring," this indicated that the Type II was intended primarially for Navigational use. But, since either was good to 1200 feet below the surface, or 35,000 feet above it, it really depends on the taste of the person ordering the watch which one you might get.

Both were suppose to be available in non-luminous, Class B versions but I have never seen a Type I, Class B.

The Tudor was procured by the government and was assigned an NSN (6645-01-068-1088, Model 76100 ,and 6645-21-558-0133 Model 9402). These were most likely after the Commanders time in service, noted by the "01" in the first NSN, which first starts showing up in the eighties, and the second one is a Canadian NSN that shows up in the Fedeal supply catalog in the nineties.

The early to mid-eighties was also a period when items that were common in the civilian world, and had functional equivalents in the military (such as diver's watches) were procured by the Government not as spec items, but under goverment contarct (but not as COTS,) as they were usually cheaper, and often better. The reason I say better, is because the Mil-Specs told the contractor what type of materials and often how to built the item, as well as defining design elements contractor may have not totally agreed with, warranties were not available or very limited, non-spec items were usually purchased with the same warranty as the commercial version.

As to why the apparently disparate specifications for the navigation and dive watches should be lumped togather in one specification, I have a theory, but more on that later.
The Type I was never produced with a "submersible elapsed time ring" (just as you state it was never produced to the Class B spec either) - and as such if you're classifying the Type II as a Navigators watch (due to only having the Nav. bezel) then the Type I would as well (i would disagree with this point).

As for the Tudors - i've never seen the contract / NSN you mention and would greatly appreciate any further info you may provide.

Kind Regards,

Billy
 

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Interesting discussions, guys, and I am glad to see Billy joining in (I was trying to contact you repeatedly a while ago by e-mail, in vain, but it is obviously much better to discuss things on a forum).

For those not familiar with Billy's work, here is the link to his excellent website: http://www.freewebs.com/billyschorr/benrustypeiii.htm

Concerning how watches intended for a military specialization end up with others, I made a note of having read on a forum of a Type I issued to an Air Force pilot.

It would be interesting to know why the obvious combination of a Type I/Style S with elapsed time bezel was never procured and instead the navigator bezel was routinely used for dive watches.
 

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Interesting discussions, guys, and I am glad to see Billy joining in (I was trying to contact you repeatedly a while ago by e-mail, in vain, but it is obviously much better to discuss things on a forum).

For those not familiar with Billy's work, here is the link to his excellent website: http://www.freewebs.com/billyschorr/benrustypeiii.htm

Concerning how watches intended for a military specialization end up with others, I made a note of having read on a forum of a Type I issued to an Air Force pilot.

It would be interesting to know why the obvious combination of a Type I/Style S with elapsed time bezel was never procured and instead the navigator bezel was routinely used for dive watches.
Thanks for the kind reply ... i'll be updating my webpages in the next week with better information about the Type I/IIs and a great addition to the TR-900 page with a few pages from US Navy Diving Manual (NavShips 0994-001-9010 ) from 1970. These pages were found with the kind help of Cmdr. Betters - and feature the TR-900. This clearly indicates the TR-900 was being used for quite a few years till being superseded by the Type I/ IIs. The frist record i have of the TR-900 being issued is 1964 (also found on more than a few examples casebacks i've come across).

My apologies for the trouble you had with my email ?! ... please feel free to email me anytime -



if that fails please post here or on MWR and i'll forward my personal / private email address.

Happy Holidays,

Billy
 

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It would be interesting to know why the obvious combination of a Type I/Style S with elapsed time bezel was never procured and instead the navigator bezel was routinely used for dive watches.
The Style S dial was first added to the specifications in 4 Mar 1977. Relatively late in the life of the MIL-W-50717, seeing as it was cancelled in 1984. And as you stated before, the style N ring was designed as a dual use.

As to why I consider the Type I was intended to be a navigator's watch, it superceed the MIL-W-5492 and MIL-W-5605 both navigation pocket watches, and the MIL-W-50717, type II was replaced by the Type II was Air Force specification PD-489, which is very similar and has the numbered dial. While diver's have a symboled dial with the larger luminous markers, as to be earier to read in murky conditions.

The Navy also has FAPD 5101 outlining diver's watches, any idea which manufacturers supplied watches under that specification?
 

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The Style S dial was first added to the specifications in 4 Mar 1977. Relatively late in the life of the MIL-W-50717, seeing as it was cancelled in 1984. And as you stated before, the style N ring was designed as a dual use.

As to why I consider the Type I was intended to be a navigator's watch, it superceed the MIL-W-5492 and MIL-W-5605 both navigation pocket watches, and the MIL-W-50717, type II was replaced by the Type II was Air Force specification PD-489, which is very similar and has the numbered dial. While diver's have a symboled dial with the larger luminous markers, as to be earier to read in murky conditions.

But, to say again, if the supply NCO (or his superior) of a dive unit felt the number dial was better, guess which one they would get. Intent and execution are two different things in the military.
I can certainly see with the Spec PD-489 the Type II may be viewed as a Navigation watch - which i certainly was designed for ; that said the Specs clearly indicate both the Type I and II for dual purpose. I couldn't imagine the Govern. spending the time and $$ on a Spec for a "Submersible" , rated for a dive depth , if it wasn't intended for that specific task. I wholeheartedly agree the Type I dial's configuration is a better design (ie. easier to read in murky waters) for divers - but again it's my opinion both the Type I and II were a dual purpose design.

Kind Regards,

Billy
 

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I can certainly see with the Spec PD-489 the Type II may be viewed as a Navigation watch - which i certainly was designed for ; that said the Specs clearly indicate both the Type I and II for dual purpose. I couldn't imagine the Govern. spending the time and $$ on a Spec for a "Submersible" , rated for a dive depth , if it wasn't intended for that specific task. I wholeheartedly agree the Type I dial's configuration is a better design (ie. easier to read in murky waters) for divers - but again it's my opinion both the Type I and II were a dual purpose design.

Kind Regards,

Billy
Final thought - in addition to the Spec indicating dual purpose, the final page of the original Spec is the instruction sheet. This instruction sheet uses a Type I for illustration purposes and has instructions on how to use the bezel (the Nav. bezel - pictured, and the only bezel in the Specs at this point) to time a dive.



Kind Regards,

Billy
 

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Thanks for the kind reply ... i'll be updating my webpages in the next week with better information about the Type I/IIs and a great addition to the TR-900 page with a few pages from US Navy Diving Manual (NavShips 0994-001-9010 ) from 1970.

...

My apologies for the trouble you had with my email ?! ... please feel free to email me anytime -



if that fails please post here or on MWR and i'll forward my personal / private email address.
Good news about the website update. In my enthusiasm for the Benrus Types I and II (which are my favorite style watches) I forgot to mention that
Billy's website is a fountain of information for many other milwatches as well. An indispensable ressource, so to speak. :)

P.S.: Billy, I wanted to contact you about the very issues discussed in this thread. :) BTW, for your - and everyone else's - information: if you indicate your e-mail address in the WUS profile, it will not be disclosed to someone sending you an e-mail through WUS. The sender only sees your forum call-sign, not the real e-mail address. Only when you choose to reply will your personal e-mail be made known to the person contacting you. It is rather an advanced and dafe forum format. :)
 

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Good news about the website update. In my enthusiasm for the Benrus Types I and II (which are my favorite style watches) I forgot to mention that
Billy's website is a fountain of information for many other milwatches as well. An indispensable ressource, so to speak. :)

P.S.: Billy, I wanted to contact you about the very issues discussed in this thread. :) BTW, for your - and everyone else's - information: if you indicate your e-mail address in the WUS profile, it will not be disclosed to someone sending you an e-mail through WUS. The sender only sees your forum call-sign, not the real e-mail address. Only when you choose to reply will your personal e-mail be made known to the person contacting you. It is rather an advanced and dafe forum format. :)
Ah - i had no idea about how email addresses worked here ; good info ! I'll look forward to your email - though will be busy w/ guests later this evening for a Holiday Dinner :-! I'll do my best to get a reply to you ASAP (almost never over a day later). Thanks again ...

Happy Holidays,

Billy
 

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I couldn't imagine the Govern. spending the time and $$ on a Spec for a "Submersible" , rated for a dive depth , if it wasn't intended for that specific task.
They spent many millions of dollars trying to make a Air Force low-level penetration nuclear bomber into a Navy fighter for use off a carrier. Remember, this was a time when various SecDefs tried to lump together service specific item into multi-service items on the slimmest of similarities. I have personally seen just this sort of thing. Never underestimate the what the Government is willing to spend money on.

The dive watch would have had to meet the high altitude requirement (due to the variouys deployment methods used, HALO and such), it would take much for someone to say: "The Navy is writing a spec for a high altitude survivable watch, why can't you use it, instead of writing your own specification?"
 
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