Vietnam-era Benrus | Photo: Worn & Wound
Mk II is a brand that offers modern versions of iconic military watch designs, making them accessible to everyday collectors. Their latest release, the Paradive Gen 3, is inspired by the Benrus Type I, a diver's watch used by elite American military units during the Vietnam War. In this review, we will explore the Paradive Gen 3's features and how it stands out in the crowded micro-brand market.
Benrus case back | Photo: Worn & Wound
Utility, durability, legibility, and cool-factor are all hallmarks of a well-executed tool watch. While military-issued watches are highly sought after, their prices often put them out of reach for most collectors. Mk II fills this gap by offering modern versions of these designs that are affordable and functional.
Established in 2002, Mk II goes beyond being a mere homage brand. They reimagine classic designs, incorporating modern technologies and upgrades while maintaining the spirit of the original watches. The Paradive Gen 3 is a prime example of this philosophy, closely resembling the iconic Benrus Type I.
The Paradive Gen 3 features a clean, no-date dial with excellent legibility. The hour markers, hands, and a small Mk II signature are all coated with strong Super-LumiNova for visibility in low-light conditions. The bezel options include an acrylic insert similar to the original design, as well as more durable alternatives like an aluminum 12-hour GMT insert or an aluminum sixty-minute elapsed time bezel.
The case of the Paradive is reminiscent of the original Benrus Type I, with a slight increase in size to 41.25mm. The asymmetrical case shape acts as crown guards, ensuring comfort during active use. The case is bead-blasted for a low-reflectivity and durable finish, and the drilled lugs allow for easy strap changes.
On the wrist, the Paradive feels comfortable and low-profile. It can be worn all day and night without any discomfort, especially when paired with the included rubber or NATO strap. The movement of the Paradive Gen 3 is the SII NE15, a reliable Japanese automatic caliber that offers a hacking function, quickset date, and a 50-hour power reserve.
Mk II pays attention to every detail, from material selection to quality control, resulting in a complete watch experience. The Paradive Gen 3 comes with a Pelican-style box, a card indicating the watch's daily rate, and extra pairs of shoulder-less and standard spring bars.
The Mk II Paradive Gen 3 is a well-designed tool watch that successfully pays homage to the original Benrus Type I. It combines functionality, durability, and affordability, making it a compelling option in the micro-brand market.