Earlier this month, the 1921-founded, New York-based watch company Benrus has relaunched its historic brand and introduced the new, vintage-inspired Heritage collection.
Benrus is a historical, fondly remembered American watchmaker, and is likely best known for its designs from the 1960s and ‘70s, which notably included a unique super-compressor dive watch, Vietnam-era standard issue field watches, and the Type I and Type II dive watches used by the U.S. military.
The company fell into serious mismanagement between 2016 and 2018, and has been struggling as a dedicated watch brand for at least the past decade; a few years ago it sold backpacks as part of an effort to boost its struggling sales, with accessories making up a significant part of its business at that time. This latest relaunch seems to be a renewed effort by the company — now owned by Benrus’s former principal’s lawyer Michael Sweeney (photo above) — to not only return its focus primarily to watches, but revive some of the designs that helped make it a reputable brand since it was first founded in 1921 in New York City. To support the relaunch, Benrus has brought on former Bulova executive Michael Goeller as COO and has hired a top industry public relations team known for their work in the mid-priced category.
As part of its initial set of watch releases, Benrus will be introducing its Heritage collection, which includes three new vintage-inspired series: the Field Watch, with automatic Miyota movement, available in three different colorways and priced at $1,095; the Air Chief Chronograph, with Swiss quartz movement from Ronda, available in four different colorways and priced at $895; and the Classic Watch, with Miyota automatic movement, also available in three different colorways though priced the highest at $1,195. Whether or not the brand maintains this emphasis on neo-vintage designs from its history remains to be seen, though it speaks to the brand’s strategy and priorities that its first set of new releases play into this still-popular trend.
Benrus (historic NYC location pictured above) has announced its plan to release limited-edition vintage reissue models later this year as part of a larger relaunch push, in addition to these vintage-inspired models — planning to time their release in coordination with the company’s 100th anniversary in 2021.
To learn more about the relaunch, and to check out the brand’s new collection, you can visit Benrus’s website here.