Old 11-12-2012, 07:59   #1
ender18d
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Question Benrus Dive Watches

I'm a bit of a watch guy, and I've been doing my homework on the Benrus dive watches that were issued to the SEALs and *allegedly* some Special Forces teams back in the 70's and 80's.

They look like this:
http://scubawatch.org/TYPE2.html

Anyway, there are multiple different versions of this watch (Type I, Type II, "sterile"). I am curious as to whether any of you folks from that era were actually issued one of these. If so, what version do you have? I'm a great lover of history, and it would be neat to wear a watch historically associated with our regiment... but only if its truly an SF watch as well and not just some SEAL thing.

Point being, I'd want to be sure it was really an SF watch and that I bought the correct version. I have found one site that said:

"There exists a sterile version of Type I Class A that has no specification markings whatsoever on the caseback other than a serial number identifying the watch. These were mostly issued to Green Berets, Special Forces, and CIA members who were engaged in behind-the-line operations and other covert missions. The watches and equipments they used had to have no trace of evidence indicating the country they were serving."

Last edited by ender18d; 11-12-2012 at 08:06.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:20   #2
longrange1947
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The only watches issued to me were first cheap pot metal and then plastic cases in the color green, well the cheap pot metal was a kinda green/patina color. They did tell time and worked quite well though. At least the ones I had.

Should have mentioned that this was from 1968 to 1990. Most of the dive guys wore Rolex or Seiko dive watches. Being cheap, I wore the Seiko and later a Citizen Dive Watch.
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Last edited by longrange1947; 11-12-2012 at 11:43. Reason: Edited to add dates
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Old 11-12-2012, 11:04   #3
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We had Tudors in '78-82. Never took them out of the team room, nobody could afford the inevitable statement of charges. Of course that was the same for the Timexes (the original disposable watch). The guys who got the Roof Shingle missions usually bought Rolexes, the rest of us had Seikos and eventually G-Shocks. No "sterile" anything in general issue during that period.
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Old 11-12-2012, 14:26   #4
ender18d
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregrino View Post
No "sterile" anything in general issue during that period.
Yeah, I've also seen it put forward that the "sterile" thing just meant the watches were prototypes, rather than the sexy secret-squirrel explanation. (http://scubawatch.org/type1.html) That said, those are the only models I've seen explicitly linked to "Green Berets" as opposed to the chronically mis-applied "Special Forces" designation.

I was just researching dive watches since I might have a chance to go to scuba school (Navy version, not CDQC**) this summer and happened across that Benrus story. Obviously, an expensive vintage mechanical piece isn't the most practical operational watch, but the only "operating" I'm likely to do at this point is with a scalpel anyway. Plus, I already have my practical Suunto.

**(Dive school will help me along my way towards DMO, and hopefully a return to Group eventually. Unfortunately, CDQC doesn't fit the block of time available even if I could score a slot.)

Last edited by ender18d; 11-12-2012 at 14:54.
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Old 11-12-2012, 15:08   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ender18d View Post

**(Dive school will help me along my way towards DMO, and hopefully a return to Group eventually. Unfortunately, CDQC doesn't fit the block of time available even if I could score a slot.)
Your first clue of something "goofy" was in the description:
Quote:
These were mostly issued to Green Berets, Special Forces, and CIA members
Prior to the era of SOF...GB's and SF were rarely confused as being anything other than synonymous. Marketing gimmick-

WRT CDQC and DMO:
They really have little to do with one another. Get to GP as a physician and you get a shot at DMO (Classes are Feb and Aug).

Good luck in your endeavors
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Old 11-12-2012, 15:15   #6
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I had a couple of the plastic ones.

They worked well and were moderately water proof to couple feet. As I never held the squirrel under water to long, they were GTG..

They did not pass the back-handed wall-knocker test, but neither did my knuckles..
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Old 11-12-2012, 15:20   #7
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JJ, I never did break one of mine. Had one until just a few years ago when I got rid of a bunch of old stuff to a collector of old s**t.

Forgot to mention, old man bought me a Bulova Dive watch many years ago, broke that one.
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Old 11-12-2012, 21:33   #8
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The main thing I remember about the plastic issued ones was not to get bug juice on them or they would melt into a blob, most rickey tick.

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Old 11-12-2012, 22:26   #9
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The plastic "crystal" would melt on the metal one as well.
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Old 02-26-2013, 17:12   #10
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I was issued a Chronosport UDT in the late '80's. Still have it. I have seen the Benrus watches, but don't recall the story. I saw lots of SEALs with the Tudors. And I saw quite a few people in SF, Force Recon and Seals wearing Rolexes. I bought a Rolex Sea Dweller at the advice of a fellow Recon Marine in 1978. I paid $564 for it and because its a "Double Red Sea Dweller" it's worth north of $20,000 today. I don't wear it anymore, but wore it daily for 20 years, jumping, diving, climbing, in SFQC., etc.
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Old 07-11-2020, 11:05   #11
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Benrus Authentic Reissue Type 1

My pseudo step daughter is the PR lead for the Benrus Authentic Reissue Type 1. The launch is scheduled for early fall 2020. They are in search of anyone who has an original issue and would be interested in speaking with you, personal reflections, etc.,
if you have one and are interested, please DM/email me. Thx, Penn

Scroll through the pictures, details of Type 1 on back of case. Sterile, no details.

https://shop.analogshift.com/products/benrus-type-1
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Old 07-11-2020, 23:11   #12
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Don't remember any Benrus watches. Dive teams in 1/5th at Bragg/Campbell and 1/10 Bad Tolz used the Tudors. As the team S4, I signed for them. When working with ST2 in Machrihanish, Scotland, don't remember any there either but they could have. This was mid to late 80s.

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Old Yesterday, 07:25   #13
tom kelly
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Dive Watches:

I have a Zodiac Sea Wolf/ Automatic SS engraved on back of case, water tested 20 Atm. Especially... Radium Dial has a cyclops eye for the date, and a bezel with markings, and a SS bracelet still runs & keeps good time, has 1 tour in Vietnam 1964. Watch was a gift from my wife in 1963. I think she paid @ $100. When I returned to Okinawa from Vietnam in 1965 I bought a Rolex GMT in the PX for $143.00 still have it & wear it every day.
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