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The Return of Benrus Watch Company Kicks off with New Heritage Collection


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.

© 2019 Peter Goldberg

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.

12 Responses to “The Return of Benrus Watch Company Kicks off with New Heritage Collection”

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  1. Harry John Quetel

    Happy to hear of the upcoming anniversary of such a great watch company BENRUS. I worked for their company in St Thomas, Virgin Islands “Quality Products, Inc” during the years 1964 to 1973 with Mr Guy Sideboard as president of QPI. I was fortunate to meet Mr Julien Lazrus, Al Krutolow, George Gataniet and Mr Hattori of Hattori Trading of Japan during my years there. We assembled movements from Japan, Germany, France with our dials from Theo Schawm. Manufactured under headnote 3A to ship watches into the US mainland duty free for such vendors as JC Penney, Gordon Jewlers, Zale Corp, Belforte, Sovering to name a few. It was a great privilege to work for such an outstanding company and such fine people. Congratulations on thos 100th anniversary.

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  2. Johnny Appleseed

    Honestly, this new iteration of Benrus is just out to rip people off. They used a ridiculous “mr & mrs benrus” marketing strategy because they were putting out garbage and it didn’t pan out. Now they are using basic watch parts again like mineral crystal, miyota movements, basic Swiss quartz movements that you can get for $45 on a swatch and selling it for exorbitant amounts of money. You can get way more from micro brands for much less. There is a reason you don’t see anyone on YouTube grabbing up a once great company’s new pieces.

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  3. Susan Hoehler

    I was given a Benrus watch, white gold with diamonds and very vintage, when my Aunt died 40 years ago. I put it in a drawer thinking it was not age appropriate. During a Covid cleaning frenzy, I came upon it in a drawer, wound it and it is running perfectly. i also discovered that 40 years later, it is a watch that I can wear!

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  4. Eugene Martin

    Not going to do so well at those prices with those movements. You want heritage? Use Swiss heritage type movements. Maybe the average watch buyer will Bite but not collectors

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  5. Great news my advice is do not try and reinvent the wheel just recreate some of those great Benrus watches from the past. Like the dial-o-rama etc. I do know quite a lot about this and you welcome to contact me.

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  6. Josef Pikl

    Price is way to high not even Swiss made not even going to take a look

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  7. Best wishes for a strong comeback, but your pricing is way too high for most watch aficionados I know. Miyota movements & mineral crystals aren’t going to motivate many people to part with that much money. And a thousand dollars for a quartz chrono seems absurd.

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  8. Henry Maidan

    Since this is an American company and produced watches in the 1960s, what movement did they use originally?

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    • MIchael Goeller

      Benrus used both Japanese and Swiss movements. Benrus’ “Re-Issue timepiece for the spring of 2020 will have a swiss movement and be swiss made, and this should continue in the future for all Benrus products in the foreseeable future.

      Reply
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