Home Watch Types Automatic Back to the Big Apple with the Benrus Classic

Back to the Big Apple with the Benrus Classic

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Yesterday’s review featured a collaboration with a company out of New York, and today, we’ve got a review from a resurrected watch brand that is calling New York home – Benrus. To be sure, this is a re-resurrection, as we saw watches from that brand (here) a few years back. These new models are supposed to “focus on their roots” and we recently spent some time with the Benrus Classic.

As should surprise no one, I requested the loaner of this particular version of the Benrus Classic because of that electric blue dial. It looked great in the photos, and was a stunner in person. It played particularly well with the bright white indices and handset, and set quite nicely into the expanses of steel making up the case and mesh strap. And I do mean expanses, as this watch is evidently intended for larger-than-average wrists.

Why is that? Well, there are three solid links on each side of the bracelet, which allows you to size things without having to move a clasp along the mesh (as you often do with thinner mesh bracelets. Well, I took all six links out in the effort to size it to my wrist, and it was still too large and flopping all around (for the record, I’ve got a 7.25” wrist). So, small wrists need not apply (or be ready to swap to a leather strap). That means that, unfortunately, I was unable to actually wear test the watch and see how it felt and performed in day-to-day life.

From handling it, the Benrus Classic is a watch that would wear much larger than it’s 41mm case spec would suggest. This is in part due to the wider lug legs, and the thicker profile you’ve got going on. As with yesterday’s watch, this is being done partly for effect, as that Miyota movement inside is not requiring all that space. If that’s setting off your Spidey sense for a brand resurrecting its roots, well, you’re not wrong. The focus here – per the brand – is the move back to a classic design with a mechanical movement inside, rather than the quartz movements that the prior ownership was running with.

Me? I’ve got no problem with Miyota movements – we’re just used to them showing up in watches that are trying to strike a balance between reliability and affordability with a mechanical movement. When you’ve got them asking $1,395 for the Benrus Classic, well, affordability isn’t even on the table. I think that they’re going for is capitalizing on sentiment and folks who remember the “old” brand, and trying to go upscale with it. That’s not terribly disimilar to what Shinola does, capitalizing on the story. However, Shinola does do a lot of their own assembly in Detroit, whereas I’m guessing these Benrus watches are assembled somewhere that is not New York.

So, the story behind the Benrus Classic is not quite clicking with me, and the price simply feels way too high for what is being offered here. It’s a big swing for re-introducing the brand, and I guess we’ll see how it clicks for those out there. The watch itself is fine (and it is a really lovely dial with it’s indices), it’s just housed in a case that I feel is too large and carries a price tag that simply isn’t justified. If they survive past this first round, well, let’s see if they can manage to produce something with a reasonable sticker on it for the next go-round. benrus.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Benrus Classic
  • Price: $1,395
  • Who’s it for?
  • Would I wear it?
  • What I’d change:
  • The best thing about it:

Tech Specs from Benrus

  • Case Diameter: 41mm
  • Case Type: Satin finished 316L SS case w/ screw-in high-grip textured crown
  • Movement: Miyota automatic w/ date
  • Strap: Satin finished SS bracelet
  • Water Resistant: 100M/10ATM
  • K-1 hardened high-hat mineral dual domed crystal
  • Super luminova markers and hands
  • Exhibition case back 4
  • 2 hour power reserve when fully wound