Bullitt Train: Benrus And Windup Watch Unveil The New Series #3061
Take a gander at a field watch for the big city, based on Steve McQueen’s timepieces in the cinema classic Bullitt.
Steve McQueen is not only one of the coolest dudes to light up the big screen, but his taste in timepieces was also nonpareil. Okay, maybe a prop master or wardrobe designer picked out his onscreen watches, but he personified them.
For example, in one of his biggest films, the neo-noir Bullitt, McQueen’s on-wrist co-star was the civilian variant of the military-issued 1960s Benrus 3061.
Released in 1968, Bullitt still delivers fast-paced thrills and stylistic chills, and is best known for its epic chase scene filmed on location in San Francisco. It took three weeks to capture just nine minutes and forty-two seconds of unforgettable footage.
Just as iconic was McQueen’s look in the film. As a plainclothes detective, the unflappable actor’s uniform of a brown tweed sport coat, dark blue roll neck sweater, charcoal trousers, and suede Hutton Playboy chukkas is still a fresh fit today.
And then there’s the watch.
Benrus had been supplying the U.S. military with reliable timepieces since the mid-1960s. The brand recognized that civilians were also attracted to these simple military designs and decided to create a version for the commercial market: the Series #3061.
How did the #3061 differ from the mil-watches Benrus was making? The case was polished and shiny, as opposed to the matte packetized finish of the army-issued versions; it’s signed “BENRUS” on the top half of the dial; the case is slightly shallower; and the second hand’s arrow tip is painted red. In short, it’s the perfect field watch for an urban soldier like the Bullitt character.
The Thrill of the Chase
The 2022 version of the #3061 is catnip to fans of film, racing heritage, McQueen, and of course, watches.
The specs are just as sexy. The round, 39mm 316L stainless steel case is a little bigger than the original’s 34mm diameter. It’s also not quite as shiny. The hand-wound movement has been upgraded to a Swiss Soprod P024 automatic movement with 38 hours of power reserve. Other updates include C3 SuperLuminova on markers and hands and water resistance to 5 ATM.
In keeping with McQueen’s 1960s aesthetic, this new version has a double-domed acrylic crystal and is presented on a black leather rally strap. The watch has also been assembled in the US. And for those frugal collectors, you’re never going to get another McQueen-affiliated watch for such a good price.
To provide extra context for the impact of this reissue, check out Time Starts Now, an “expanded universe sequel” to Bullitt created by Worn & Wound for Benrus. This work of fan-fiction, set on the streets of San Francisco, is based on the main character’s classic catchphrase from the movie.