Benrus GI 'Luminous 12'

Benrus GI 'Luminous 12'

Why We Love It

True military watches exude a kind of toughness that's hard to replicate. These watches--with their black dials, easy-to-read indices, and luminescent hands--pack a punch in a deceptively compact package. No watches exemplify this toughness more than the General Issue watches manufactured from the Vietnam War to the early 1980s.

The Department of Defense first ordered General Issue (GI) watches in 1964, to outfit soldiers in the years leading up to the conflict in Vietnam. Like the 'Dirty Dozen', the GI watches were made to resist exposure in inhospitable environments. Corrosion-resistant steel cases were utilized to protect the movement from debris, moisture, and shock that it would encounter in the jungles of Vietnam or the deserts of the Middle East. 

The DoD contracted GI watches from many manufacturers, the most notable among them being Hamilton and Benrus. Their dials were spartan, and featured printed Arabic indices for both 12- and 24-hour graduations with luminous plots at each interval, with matching luminous 'syringe' hands and a 'spear' central seconds hand which was coated with a healthy dollop of Tritium to ensure maximum legibility.

The 17-jewel, manual wind Calibre DR-2F2 movements fitted were equipped with a hacking feature: a mechanism that stops the second hand from moving when setting the time. This enabled soldiers to synchronize their timepieces for maximum accuracy during elite operations and coordinated maneuvers. Despite the compact size of 34mm, these watches were designed to take a beating.

This particular example, a Benrus Contract DTU-2A/P has a contract date of June 1964, as stamped on the case back. This is known as a "Luminous 12" dial as it features a full lumed 12:00 marker alongside with beautifully aged indices around the remainder of the 12/24H marked dial.



NOTE: This special watch comes from the collection of a wristwatch obsessed 30-year veteran of the US Military who saw combat in Iraq, and served at the Pentagon and for the United Nations and US Department of Defense. His badges, awards, and decorations include The Combat Action Badge, The Parachutist Badge, The Legion of Merit, The Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.


SKU: AS03922

Corrosion resistant stainless steel monocoque case is approximately 34mm (excluding the crown). Manually-winding Calibre DR-2F2 movement. Benrus Contract DTU-2A/P. Circa 1964.

Overall Condition: The case is in good condition overall showing normal wear consistent with age and use. Luminous matte black dial is fantastic condition with printed Arabic numerals, evenly patinated indices and matching handset. Unsigned crown. Caseback bears military engravings.

Includes single pass green nylon strap with blackened steel pin buckle.

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