Christmas came a tad early for me this year. I finally got the watch I wanted to get here in Tokyo. Mind you it is not easy as there are many other temptations. Also this watch is sold mostly on-line and being a visitor and the fact that I do not understand Japanese, it is difficult to buy the watch on-line.
Anyway, the nice people at the hotel where we am staying manage to track down a shop that sells the watch. Best part of it is that they even ask the shop to hold one piece for me in case it is sold out. Anyway I made my way to the shop and got it.
What watch was it? It is the Benrus Type 1 reissue watch. This watch is a reissue of the Benrus Type 1 Class A watch issued at the end of the Vietnam conflict. A bit of history. The Benrus Type 1 Class A dive watch was issued to members of the UDT-SEAL, Green Berets and Special Forces towards the end of the Vietnam conflict. These watches were very durable and some consider it to be the ultimate military dive watch.
Back to the reissued watch. The differences between this watch and the original are as follows:
1. Quartz movement in the reissue and mechanical on the original (perhaps a modification is due....)
2. The Benrus signature on the dial on the reissued watch. The original is sterile.
3. The choice of luminous material on the hands of the reissued watch, being the Tritium tubes as opposed to applied on the original.
4. The case back can be opened on the reissued unlike the original where access is from the front (although the original was a 2 piece case design).
5. Fixed bars on the original and spring bars on the reissue.
6. Water resistance rating with the original tested to 1,200 feet while the reissue rated to 10 ATM.
7. The original is anti-magnetic, not sure about the reissued watch.
That is a lot of differences (I am sure there is more) but I don't mind. Oh, finally there is the price, with a pre-loved original costing about 4 to 5 times as much as the reissue.
The packaging. I believe the packaging is based on the original. It comes in a simple brown box.
A warning label on the box on the use of the Tritium gas tubes on the hands.
The warranty card (top) and the instruction manual, all in Japanese.
Lets look inside the box.
The tag, signed Benrus.
The other side of the tag.
Somewhere inside this mess is the watch. Note the use of paper as the backing material.
Finally the watch. It comes fitted with a black sterile 'mil-series' type one piece strap.
The watch, the Benrus Type 1 Class A reissued watch. The protective plastic is still on the watch.
The back of the watch. What is that little gold sticker?
Yes the watch is made in Hong Kong. I was told that the movement is Swiss made. The instruction manual says that it is fitted with a Benrus Calibre 513. I will crack open the case back when I am back from my holiday to confirm what movement is fitted to the watch (and perhaps what modification can be done).
The case back. No serial number, issue date, contract number or mil spec, which is fine by me.
The watch. The dial design is based on the Rolex Submariner. It is very legible. Some may not like the hands though.
The domes crystal that integrates perfectly with the bezel. I don't think it is sapphire. I believe it is mineral crystal. The original is acrylic.
A more detail review will be posted later. Now if only I can find the Benrus x Beams reissue of the Type II.