From the Archives: McQueen to Mil-Spec, the Benrus Bullitt and the Type I/II

As far as historically American watch companies go, Benrus is without a doubt one of the best known. Conceived in 1921 in New York City, Benrus was named after one of the three founding brothers, Benjamin Lazarus. At the time, pocket watches were on their way out. Wristwatches, however, were growing in popularity, and the three intrepid brothers saw an opportunity to produce and sell value-driven wristwatches. Though not as big as many other brands born in the States and perhaps not as significant in terms of the American watchmaking tradition the way Hamilton and Bulova were (Benrus never produced their own movements, and instead opted for Swiss-made calibers placed inside American-made cases), Benrus has a long history of producing watches for the American armed forces—likely the firm’s biggest claim to fame. Today, we’re pulling from our archives a set of articles covering two iconic military (or military-inspired) watches from Benrus: the “Bullitt” and the Vietnam-era Type I and Type II divers.

Affordable Vintage: The Bullitt Benrus

When Steve McQueen took delivery of his Ferrari 275 in 1967, he was in the middle of filming what would become arguably his most famous film: Bullitt.  The movie follows San Francisco cop Frank Bullitt (McQueen) as he navigates his way through a tricky situation involving politicians, mob informants, and the mob itself (and, most famously, he navigates his dark green Ford Mustang GT fastback quickly and screeching through the San Francisco streets in one of the greatest movie car chases ever made).  And on his wrist is this little civilian mil-watch.

BULLITT_BENRUS_9To read the full story, click here.

Benrus Type I and Type II MIL-W-50717 Military Dive Watches

When I think about all the things a military-issued watch should be (robust, legible, functional), no watch comes as close to perfection as the 1970s Benrus dive watch.  Its super-solid case, highly-readable dial and simple but functional features make it a real classic among military and dive watches.  Today we’ll take a look at what makes these watches so special.

BENRUS_TYPE_I_9To read the full story, click here.

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