Benrus revives its 1972 “Orbit Robot” dive watch, remaking that model’s 41mm by 13mm cushion-shaped steel case, eye-catching grey fumé dial and orange accents.
The recently-revived U.S-based watchmaker, well known for its military field watches and dive watches, perfectly mimics the original Orbit Robot’s exterior dimensions and hues.
When reproducing the dial, Benrus notes that it took extra steps to “fully replicate the depth and radiance of the original grey watch model.”At the dial’s center you’ll see a light grey metallic color that subtly darkens toward the bezel. The luminous orange-framed hands echo the original.
Inside, Benrus updates the new watch’s technical details, powering the Orbit Robot with a new Soprod P024 automatic movement.
A domed sapphire crystal covers the dial, held with stainless steel bidirectional friction-fit bezel and protected to 200 meters of water resistance with a screw-down crown and a solid, decorated caseback. Only the lug dimensions have changed, now measuring 20mm (inner lug size) to accommodate modern 20mm straps and bracelets.
Benrus re-launches the Type II dive watch, one of the historic American brand’s best-known military watches.
Echoing the earlier Benrus Type I, the new retro-inspired model retains the original’s no-logo dial that focuses the eye only toward its strictly functional 12/24-hour ring with its ultra-clear numerals, markers and hands, all of which are highly infused with SuperLumiNova. The bi-directional rotating 12-hour bezel and double-domed sapphire crystal underscore the dive watch’s primary function, which is also aided with a 300-meter water resistance rating.
Benrus originally produced the Type I and Type II as U.S.-military-specified dive watches between 1972 and 1980 with no changes to the design. Benrus notes that approximately 16,000 Type I and II watches were produced and issued to the Elite Forces from the Vietnam War through the 1980s, but were never made available to the public.
“Since the release of the Type I, we have made it our mission to retell the significance Benrus had in watchmaking history with the U.S. military,” says Michael Goeller, COO of Benrus.
As with the earlier release of the Type I, Benrus says this newest reissue “faithfully follows original design details with improvements for everyday use and to meet and/or exceed the original military specifications.”
The new watch is a 42.5mm steel model fit with a Soprod P024 automatic movement with 38-hour power reserve. Benrus will make 500 individually numbered Type II watches with an engraved caseback featuring original markings. Each will be supplied with a black two-piece nylon seatbelt NATO strap with quick release functionality. Price: $1,495.
(Editor note: Benrus has discontinued selling this watch. “Unfortunately there was a question around the movement and its authenticity,” according to a Benrus publicist. “Out of an abundance of caution Benrus has removed this product and is conducting further research.”)
Mechanical alarm watches combine a truly useful timekeeping function with the collector’s love of automatic or manual-wind movements. This week the recently revived watchmaker Benrus, founded in New York in 1921, debuts a superb retro-inspired alarm watch that offers these enticements, but also adds another compelling component: a vintage movement.
Inside the Benrus Wrist Alarm you’ll find a fully rebuilt A. Schild manual-wind movement from the 1970s.Thus, inside the new Benrus Wrist Alarm you’ll find a fully rebuilt A. Schild 1931 manual-wind movement from the 1970s. Benrus is utilizing movements that were never used and have been carefully disassembled and fully serviced in Switzerland to assure they are operating as if they were new. More than 330,000 original AS 1931 movements were sold between 1970 and 1974, according to Benrus, which offers more details about the history of the original movement on its website.
The new 38mm steel Benrus Wrist Alarm allows the wearer to set the alarm hand as desired using the crown at the 2 o’clock position. After winding the alarm with the same crown, the user can expect a fairly loud buzz for about ten seconds at the chosen time.
The watch itself echoes the look of a Benrus alarm watch circa 1956. Within its steel case you’ll see an off-white linen patterned dial, applied polished stainless steel numerals and markers and domed sapphire crystal.
Benrus sets the Wrist Alarm with a dark blue genuine leather strap with deployant buckle. The watch is water resistant to 50 meters and has an enhanced 50-hour power reserve. Benrus will make 500 Wrist Alarms. Price: $1,295.
(Please see note at the top of this story regarding the availability of this watch.)