Been to the auctions again after a long spell out of action and picked up a vintage Benrus sculptured case model in 14c Rolled Gold plate.
Always difficult to date these though by the styling alone could be mid 1940 to 1950 period.
Benrus started off in 1921 in New York and the name was conjured up by one of the founders Benjamin Lazrus using the BEN and the RUS from his name. The other family members were Oscar and Ralph and were Romanian immigrants who set up in New York to offer the new “wristwatch” for everyone and not just the well off. I understand the trade mark was registered in Switzerland in 1923 and they imported movements and cased them in the USA.
This particular example is a manual wound model with applied gold colored Arabic numerals and a recessed seconds sub-dial @6. The logo on the dial says “endurable” – other models were “citation” named after a racehorse I believe and the ladies watch called the “embraceable” (It was a one piece bracelet watch which slipped on the wrist). The “Endurable” title may also refer to the shock protection feature that some of the Benrus models had but I would really be guessing here. These days Benrus collectors tend to go for their more elaborate styles such as the “Dial-o-Rama”, but this is a nice example showing some early case shaping and fancy lugs which offered an added attraction.
The case is a signed USA Benrus manufacture and the movement is a Benrus signed model BA 4 as shown, which looks to me very like a Swiss ETA variety – it also keeps nigh on perfect time for a watch of this period, which is always a bonus.
So maybe not the most exciting of watches, but a nice example of the period and the style of the Benrus name. And their watch range must have been pretty popular as they were for a period the 3rd largest producer of watches in the USA and a very real threat to Hamilton at the time. I will be fitting a strap to it when I get hold of a 16mm brown leather one from my supplier in the near future. I’ll post an image of at the end of the post when I get it.
Still not an awful lot known about the Company which is quite typical for watch suppliers and manufacturers at this time, but to see these watches appearing every so often in auctions and so on makes me smile. I mean what sort of items will you see made today that will still be around some 60+ years from now?
Not many I’ll bet!
NOTE – For the known history of the Benrus Watch Co. I can do no better than to point you to “The Watch Guy” web site, where he has an
excellent history of Benrus – CLICK – HERE