Thursday, October 30, 2014

Benrus Type II Class B

II love wearing the two Benrus type 1 & 2 military watches as the watch design is so simple and without any brand name in front, really made it unique. Moreover, these were the last few real Made in USA watches.

The dome shaped crystal and the overall feel of the watch is really nice to touch and looking at the size now, it is right for the wrists and make reading time an ease. 

For those who love military watches should try to find them..

Information extracted from the forum:

Hello. I am new to this forum, and this is my first post. I am retired US Army after 28 years active duty. I have had a little experience in military production codes and procurement acquisitions. In my analysis of the Benrus Type I and Type II production codes, I have discovered certain similarities. For instance, it appears that every Type I watch I observe with a National Stock Number or Production Code starting with "N0", such as "N00104-75-D-2059" for example, was issued to the US Navy and serial numbered, hence the "N" meaning "Naval issue". It also appears that every Type II watch Production Code starting with "DA" was issued to the US Army, such as "DAAA25-75-C-0617", hence "Department of the Army." Overall, my summation is that the preponderance of Type I's were issued to the US Navy, and the preponderance of Type II's were issued to the US Army. This appears to make logical procurement sense as upon observation the Type I dials borrow heavily from the "Rolex Submariner look" and would have been preferred by Navy diving personnel in the 1970's with the Benrus's impressive depth rating. Conversely, the Type II's dial is distinctly military with the "1-12 and 13-24" hour military markings, much more condusive with land operations, but also depth rated in line with limited "combat diver" or SCUBA infiltration operations of the US Army Special Forces personnel at that time during the 1970's. In my observations I also encountered some watches without a serial number or Type or Class marking, yet all the other Production and Procurement Codes listed. These appear to have been not issued, as I cannot imagine a Quartermaster Officer worth his salt who would issue a watch without a serial number assigning responsibility to someone if they lost it. Well, those are my observations. I hope this is helpful in aiding those who need to identify their Benrus. Thank you and I enjoy the Forum. Bernard Cenney .
The first set of digits in a contract number are the Department of Defense Activity Address Code (DoDAAC). This is the activity that initiates the procurement. They are not necessarily the activity that issues the watches, but warehouses them until user activities request items for issue.

You have noted that the all but the first contract run* of the Type Is have a contract number starting with NOO104 (or N00104), this is the DoDAAC code for the Naval Inventory Control Point, Mechanicsburg, PA, meaning all of these watches (except the first contract) were originally ordered by the US Navy. All the Type II, Class Bs were also ordered through NAVICP, Mechanicsburg.

Conversely, all of the Type 2s have DAAA25 or DAAA09 as the first block of the contract number. DAAA25 is the DoDAAC for the US Army's Frankford Arsenal, (formerly) in Philadelphia, and DAAA09 is the DoDAAC for Rock Island Arsenal, IL. Rock Island took over all the responsibilities of Frankford, when Frankford shutdown.

However, it would be a mistake to assume that all production from the Frankford or Rock Island went to the Army, there are a number of ex-USAF personnel that were issued Type II's Further, Frankford Arsenal was "official DoD watch source." Frankford was, generally, responsible for procurement of all timepieces for the Department of Defense, as their DoDAAC prefixes pop up on a number of watches, including a number of primarily USAF issued watches**. Not to mention the fact the the Navy's MIL-W-22176 (SHIPS) were all procured through Frankford Arsenal. When Frankford Arsenal was closed in 1977 (despite a campaign pledge by Vice-Presidential candidate Walter Mondale made on the front steps of Frankford's building) all of the activities were transferred to Rock Island.

Similarly, while NAVICP, Mechanicburg ordered the all the Type I's (and Type II, Class B's), it would be a mistake to assume that they were only issued to Naval personnel.  

Now, the Rolex "connection", the dials on the Benrus Type I are almost a carbon copy of the dial specified for the TR-900 [MIL-W-22176(SHIPS)], which is heavily influenced by the original Blancpain Fifty Fathoms. I would guess the BLancpain FF had more to do with the look of the Type I's dials, than Rolex...

I have postulated that the MIL-W-50717 was the result of "McNamara-esque" commonality. When the Navy was looking for a cheaper alternative to the TR-900 (without the high anti magnetic capabilities) and the Air Force looking to replace the FAPD-5101 and numerous other highly accurate navigational watches, some whizz-kid in the DoD saw two specifications in work for highly accurate wrist watches by both services, he require they be combined.

The Type I's have a number of design cues from the TR-900 and other contemporary diver's watches, and the Type II's nave a number of design cues from the earlier MIL-W-3818B, GG-W-113 and FAPD-5101.

Also, the initial specified accuracy of the watches (+10/-0 seconds per day, comparable to chronometer requirements), indicate the watch was intended for navigational proposes.

* the first contract run of MIL-W-50717, Type I, Class A watches was DAAA25-72-C-0528
** one batch in particular is the FAPD-5101 in Contract No. DAAA25-YY-XXXXX, FAPD-5101 is a USAF specification
Last edited by lysander; 08-15-2010 at 15:00.

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