This a review of the Benrus DTU-2A/P military watch. This watch conforms to the requirements of MIL-W-3818B that came out in 1964. The other company that came out with watches that conforms to that specification is Bulova. These watches were issued to US Army personnel. This watch was issued from 1964 to 1969. From my reading, this watch was replaced by the GG-W-113 in 1969.
There are some interesting aspects to the watch and these are explained below. I have made comparisons to other watches of the same make and also watches from the same Contract Number and year of issue (but different month).
Function: Hour, minutes and seconds, 24 hour indicator
Case: Parkerized steel
Movement: 17 jewel Benrus DR2 F2 hand wind hacking movement
This watch comes in single case design (one-piece case). The case is made of corrosion resistant steel (parkerized?). The case has a matte grey finish. It is 34 mm in diameter and measures 41mm lug to lug. Lug width is 18 mm and it is 10 mm in height. The case is well made and there are no shape edges. The lugs are drilled and unlike other military watches, this watch does not come with the fixed bars. The watch has been fitted with new spring bars. I like this design as it allows the owner a wider selection of straps to be fitted to the watch. The drilled lugs makes removal of the spring bars easier.
The drilled lugs.
Servicing these watches is possible but best left to the professional as access to the movement on the one-piece design is via removal of the crystal. The photographs below shows the watch in disassembled state. As we can see from the photograph, the case back is thin as we can see the engravings on the case back inside the case. The inside of the case is polished.
The case with the movement removed. This is before the case was cleaned. Note the marks on the base of the case from the engraving on the case back.
The markings on the case back, in the center of the case back: Contract Number (?), Serial number and date (issue date?). Around the perimeter of the case back we find: Fed Stock Number. 6645-066-4279, U.S., Manufacturer Part Number XZ73065 and Wrist Watch DTU-2A/P Mil-W-3818B. This watch is from 1969. The case back may look like it can be removed, but it cannot.
The crown is non screw down crown. It is 5 mm in diameter and 2.5 mm thick. The crown has 2 position, the first is for winding and the second for adjustment of the hands. The crown is wonderful to use and pulling out the crown for adjustment is easy. There is a 'dimple (more like a line)' on the crown. This is to indicate the position of the stem (male). If the line is vertical to the case, the movement can be removed as the 2-piece stem is align for removal. Look at the attached photographs.
The crown and the male portion of the 2 part stem (uncleaned).
The female portion of the 2 stem design (not cleaned).
The crown (male) after it has been cleaned. It looks like the stem is threaded into the male end of the stem.
The crown in the case ready for the movement. Note the male part of the stem in vertical position to receive the female portion of the stem.
The water resistance rating of the watch? Well based on the MIL-W-3818B specifications, the watch is to be tested to 5.5 inches of mercury. That equates to 6 to 7 feet of water. As such the water resistant rating of this watch is 0.19 ATM (1 ATM = 32 feet).
The movement that drives the watch is made by Benrus. It is the DR2 F2. I understand it is based on the ETA 2370. It is a Swiss made 11.5 ligne, 17 jewels hand-wound movement. It beats at 18,000 A/h and has a power reserve of 46 hours. The movement has the hacking capability.
The movement is a basic 3 hand movement, with a central sweep second. There is no date complication. As such the crown has a 2 position setting. In for winding the movement and position 1 (pulled) for setting the time.
The interesting about the movement that powers my watch is the balance cock. It is brass colour unlike the rest of the movement. I have seen other DR2 F2 movement and all those movement are the same colour. I wonder of the balance cock has been replaced. However the markings on the balance cock 'AXZ/ ANZ (?)' is the same as other DR2 F2 movements that I have seen. If you at the photograph below, you will see that the ETA signature below the balance has been removed leaving a partial '2'.
The movement holder is made of metal. This I like.
This is a simple watch as can be seen for the photographs. The dial is matte black. Although the dial has the 12 hour and 24 hour markers, the dial does not look busy. The font chosen for the hour markers is good and makes reading the time easy. The 24 hour markers are smaller as compared to the 12 hour markers.
The hour index markers are luminous. The hands are also luminous and that includes the second hand. The lume on this watch have aged well and is even across the dial and hands. I just love the patina. I believe the luminous material used is 'Tritium' as there is a 'T' marking above the 12 o'clock marker.
Now the interesting thing about the dial. The '12' hour marker at the 12 o'clock position is also luminous. This is not as per the requirements of MIL-W-3818. This however appears on the requirements of MIL-W-46374. I do not know if the dial on my watch is original to the watch or has been changed sometime during its life. However I was informed by the seller that he got the watches that way. I do know that Benrus also made watches that meet MIL-W-46374 specifications. Could it be that the dial is from MIL-W-46374 specifications fitted to this watch as the MIL-W-46374 came out after the MIL-W-3818B. The application of the luminous material on the number '12' is not very good as can be seen from the photographs. There are some 'spread'.
The other interesting aspect of the dial is the legend below the 6 o'clock marker. On some dials that I have seen on the Internet, the only legend is 'SWISS'. However on this dial, the legend is '2155 SWISS 6015 (?)'. The only other dial I have seen with such legend is on Hyunsuk's website (although the pictures are not that clear).
The hands on the watch is well made. The hour and minute hands are of the skeleton hands design. The hands (except the sweep second) are rendered in white. The center portion of the hour and minute hands are filled with luminous material. The minute hand extends to the minute scale while the hour hand extends to the Arabic numeral hour marker. This makes reading the time at a glance easy.
The sweep second hand is rendered in 3 colours. The balance portion of the second hand is rendered in white while the hands are luminous coated (same material as the hour and minute hands). The triangle tip is luminous orange. You can just make out the colours on the second hand.
The crystal is I believe acrylic. I know (from readings) the crystal is a Stella WEC (size 27.5) crystal. The crystal also holds the movement in place. The crystal is of the wedge ledge design. There are no anti-reflection coating on the crystal.
The watch came without the band. I currently have the watch on a generic black NATO strap.
I like this watch. It may end up being a franken-watch (assuming the dial and balance is not original to the watch), but I still like it. It may be a small at 34 mm in diameter, but the all dial design (no bezel) makes it looks bigger. It is light and comfortable. The matte case and dial makes it discrete and can be worn in any occasion. It may not have the water resistant of many modern watches, but I guess if it is good enough for the military, it must be good.