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Benrus reborn

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Benrus watches just announced their return to the world of American watchmaking. Once one of America’s most popular watch brands in the 1940s, the company’s assets have been acquired by a private investment group and they are now making a comeback.

The three Heritage novelties will hearken back to their military and aviation background. They will feature Miyota movements and various complications. The watches will have a slight “re-issue” vibe to them while paying homage to the Benrus’ past designs.

For chronograph lovers you will be delighted to find a very unique take on a modern chronograph in the new Heritage collection. This particular chronograph, called the Air Chief, comes in a variety of dial colors. The one that stands out to me has a dark gray dial with the classic triple sub-dial layout, with the hour counter sub-dial being just slightly smaller than the minute and second counters above. The Benrus logo can be found up top at the 12:00 o’clock position with three stars underneath.

The chronograph is also going to be a sandwich dial construction which can be a love or hate preference but has become quite popular thanks to Panerai. The dial overall may come off as quite busy to some, but the blend of hues and colors on the hands pulls together very well. One thing to note is the lack of date complication which was probably wisely left out due to the amount of text, branding, and detail already found on the dial.

The case, sized at 41mm, has a gunmetal finish with long lugs, square chrono pushers and a large knurled crown.

Benrus is also presenting a field watch and a classic watch. The classic watch with “self-winding” on the dial and the field watch has “automatic.”  Both have a similar or almost identical case shape with the same large crown found on the chronograph. You have the choice of either a bright blue sunburst dial or an off white (almost cream-colored) dial. Both have date complications at the standard 3:00 o’clock position, and numeral markings. The dial finishes on both field watches are quite different, but display excellent attention to detail with a vintage look.

 The Air-Chief chronograph watch comes with either a Nato strap or leather band, matching whichever dial color you choose, or a mesh bracelet. The field watch also comes with a nato or leather option, but no mesh. The classic watch offers all three strap and bracelet options.

Prices are reasonable considering the quality of construction and detail put into these watches, but I think implementing Swiss automatic movements would have really put these offerings on another level. The Air-Chief starts at $895, the Field Watch at $1,095, and the Classic Watch at $1,195.

Editor’s note: we’re working on getting a review loaner in, so we can see how these new versions compare to what we saw a few years back