The Culling Collection of Military Watches

Date of Auction: 15th September 2020

Sold for £190

Estimate: £100 - £150

American military: A MIL-W-3838B Vietnam war wristwatch, by Benrus, 1967, the black dial with cream Arabic numerals, inner 13-24 hour chapter ring and outer seconds track with triangles to the 5 seconds, cream painted openwork hands and centre sweep seconds hand, 17 jewel manual wind movement with hacking function, within sealed parkerised steel case, reverse signed ‘Wristwatch DTU-2A/P MIL-W3818B, Fed. Stock No. 6645-066-4279, US., MFG. Part No. XZ73065, Cont. No. GS-OOS-61940, Serial No. 124029, Date Feb 1967’, to a khaki Nato strap, dial diameter 29.5mm. £100-£150


In the lead up to Vietnam War, the Department of Defence revised their specifications for various timepieces, eventually settling on two main specifications- the MIL-W-46374 and the MIL-W-3818B. While similar in appearance, the MIL-W-46374 spec was a simple, inexpensive field watch for infantry and most other Army personnel, while the MIL-W-3818B specification called for a higher-grade unit approved for use by Army, Navy and Air Force and as such.
The additional requirements of the MIL-W-3818B spec included a corrosion-resistant steel case, a sterile dial free of any extraneous markings to ensure maximum readability, and an upgraded 17-jewel movement with a hacking feature, to allow teams to synchronise their timepieces accurately for elite operations and coordinated manoeuvres.
Despite putting out the specification to many manufacturers, including those who had won contracts for the infantry models, only
Benrus initially met the more rigorous MIL-W-3818B specifications and were the exclusive manufacturers of this model until it was revised to the more well-known GG-W-113 specification in 1969.