For sale we have an elegant Benrus tank watch from the 1950s in a rose gold-plated case. It has a standout dial in a rose gold tone with stylised Arabic numerals, which is accompanied by exquisite Pontife style hands. Originally a gents watch; it is nowadays classed as unisex with its 21mm x 25mm case dimension. Its total lug-to-lug length is 33mm which does give it more presence than its strict case dimensions. It is a very comfortable and classy wear, being curved to the wrist. To the right of the case is the original crown with coin edge finish. The rear is stainless steel with a brushed finish. Inside it is signed Benrus.
The movement is a good quality manual wind calibre from ETA with a jewel count of 17. It has been re-branded as an ETA Model AX 11. It is working well and is keeping good time to within +20 seconds a day.
This is a classy little tank watch which has a unique charm with its rose gold tone case, dial and Pontife hands. The stylised Arabic numerals further layer the charm and neat design touches. This is an affordable and enjoyable addition that adds a touch of class to any collection.
Benrus was founded in New York by Benjamin Lazrus and his two brothers. It took its name from the first syllable of his name and the last syllable of the family name. With combined savings of $5,000 they began to import Swiss watch movements, casing them in New York. They set up HQ at the iconic Hippodrome building in the jewellery district in the heart of the city.
Benrus were a brand who knew how to market watches, making use of promotion with big names, such as Charles Lindbergh. They also had aviation connections right from the early days of commercial air travel, with the Airman watch which was released in 1929. This was dubbed the official watch of National Air Transport, which later became United Airlines. They followed this up with the creation of watches such as the Sky Chief which was created solely for pilot useage. It proved so popular with airlines, the brand used the slogan “Official Watch of Famous airlines”.
They also created the Sportman watch line, which was worn and promoted by one of the greatest baseball players, Babe Ruth.
Benrus provided military issue watches for the U.S. for Vietnam, whilst also designing deep diving and super compressor watches.
The Democratic National Convention also gifted President John F Kennedy a custom made Benrus watch, whilst in 1968 Steve McQueen wore his own Benrus in the iconic movie ‘Bullitt’.
A highly esteemed company, with a rich history, but one of the many brands who fell to the sword of the Quartz crisis. They exist today under new ownership offering Reissues of their iconic watches.
Full condition report below. Please see the images as these compliment and aid the description provided below.
The dial is in good condition for the age and is original. It has some slight marking, but maintains an even tone and has no loss of signing.
The hands are original, in a rose gold tone. They are in good condition with no bending or corrosion.
The acrylic crystal is original and is in good condition with no noticeable marks.
The crown is original, in a rose gold tone with coin edge finish.
The case is rose gold plated and is in average condition with surface scratching. It has a polished finish with a good shine to the front and sides. It has light surface scratching and some wear to the gold plating on the edges of the case.
The snap on case back is formed of stainless steel and is in good condition. It has the original brushed finish with clear serial number. It has some slight wear to the finish and some light surface scratching.
The watch comes on new brown genuine leather strap.
The movement is an ETA calibre, re-branded as Benrus as Model AX 11. It has a jewel count of 17 and is manual wind with a frequency of 18,000 BPH.
The service history is unknown but the movement is in good condition functionally and cosmetically. It keeps time to within +20 seconds a day, with an amplitude of 230 and a beat error of 0.0 m/s.
Case width: 21mm
Case width with crown: 22.5mm
Case length: 25mm
Case length lug to lug: 33mm
Case Depth: 8mm
Lug width: 16mm
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