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Benrus Type I - 'Sterile' Dial Military Issued

Sale price$8,250.00 USD

Watches still played a critical role in military service in the 1970s. As a result of the need for a more robust dive watch tailored to the military's needs, the United States Department of Defense issued the MIL-W-50717 standard, which put forth a more robust list of required specifications, more so than any prior contract. There were many options for lower level officers and platoons when it came to timepieces, but for the best of the best including the renowned Navy Seals, the Benrus Type I and Type II were the best option.

The Type I was the earliest version and far more rare, making this piece one of only a handful ever produced. Benrus made these pieces exclusively for the military from 1972 to 1980, with this particular example dating to circa 1979 (April of 1979 to be exact).

The 42mm case is unpolished and seemingly untouched for many years. It's case retains its original sandblasted satin finish, fixed-bar lugs, and crisp printing on the caseback, denoting its military provenance and unique serial number. And though complete acceptable and normal, most examples of Type I and Type IIs possess replacement crowns, while this example retains its original. Even the crystal is likely original to the watch, exhibiting crazing and some fracturing as many of these do. The bi-directional rotating bezel matches the condition of the case and retains its black acrylic 12-hr insert — also showing wear consistent with the rest of the piece. The matte black 'sterile' dial within is beautifully preserved with no visible imperfections or wear, and shows even color across the luminous elements. The white-painted handset shows matching luminous material, with a slightly more patinated seconds hand.

Due to their limited production, active use during military trials, decommissioning, and flat out loss, not all that many of these pieces survive today — particularly in this kind of condition. We are pleased to offer this Type I up for its next tour of duty, and invite you to strap a real piece of history to your wrist.

Stainless Steel November, 1979 Military Issued Automatic 42mm
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From Rolex & Patek Philippe, to Cartier & Audemars Piguet. As collectors first, we love the small details that separate the Submariner from Daytona and Calatrava from Royal Oak. This is why you'll find our curated assortment spans decades of generations of models and brands. We believe that watches don't just tell time, they tell history - and life is too short to wear a boring watch.

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