A few weeks ago, we kicked off our Military Watches Of The World series with America Part 1, focusing on watches from World War I through the early ’60s. In Part 2, we’ll feature watches issued to the U.S. military from the Vietnam era through today.
With the release of the MIL-W-3818B spec in 1962, the fog lifts once again and there is a clear, traceable history of issued watches. This revision was meant to simplify the requirements for a 17-jewel, hacking wristwatch with an extended service life, and the watch ultimately produced under this spec was the Benrus DTU-2A/P. It featured a parkerized steel case, a black dial with numerals and indices in white and an inner ring with military time, hands filled with green luminescent paint (tritium), an acrylic crystal, and an orange-tipped second hand also painted with tritium. The movement featured 17 jewels, hacking, a 36-hour power reserve, and accuracy of +/- 30 seconds per day.
The MIL-W-3818B grew into the GG-W-113, a spec released in 1967 that was nearly identical to the MIL-W-46374 A-D revisions (I’ll get to these next) and was issued concurrently for many years. The differentiation was that it featured exclusively a 17-jewel, manual-wind and hacking movement and a “sterile” dial for legibility. These watches were meant for issue to pilots and were produced by Benrus, Hamilton, Marathon, and Altus.
In 1964, the MIL-W-46374 spec was published calling for an accurate, disposable, and non-maintainable watch in either a plastic or metal case to be issued to infantry and other ground forces. Most of these featured the numeral “12” painted in tritium, though some examples exist without this detail.