Evaluation: the Benrus Sort I Reissue

I’m going to kick off this evaluate with an admission that I’ve lengthy been partial to the Benrus Sort I and II MIL-W-50717 designs. A definitive army software dive watch by means of one of the vital past due, nice, regardless that just lately re-resurrected American watch brands, I’ve encountered a large number of antique fashions and different an identical watches that experience descended from the similar attempted and true mil-spec over time, and feature all the time admired them. It’s the nearest there’s to an iconic American dive watch, and in its blunt, overbuilt, no-fuss kind-of-way, type of the easiest watch for that honor. So, with regards to the pattern of the 2020 Benrus Sort I reissue, which is a detailed remake (regardless that with some essential variations), I’m already offered.

Smartly, now not truly, however with regards to the total pattern, I don’t want convincing. However ahead of we get there, let’s take a snappy take a look at the brand. Based in 1921 in our homeland of NYC by means of Benjamin Lazarus (BEN-RUS), Benrus has a wealthy historical past and catalog complete of serious watches and designs. Even though they’re most famed, or most likely well known for his or her military-issued watches, their different achievements come with one of the vital sexiest “super compressor” divers you’ll ever see, implausible bounce hour get dressed watches, being on Steve McQueen’s wrist, and a lot more. However, like many brands, they didn’t continue to exist the Battery operated disaster, and after a couple of possession adjustments, the brand all however disappeared.


Smartly, till now. You spot, Benrus, in the end, was once introduced back to lifestyles by means of individuals who need to pay some recognize to its historical past. Positive, it’s the fashionable factor to do nowadays, however for a few years Benrus was once one thing abnormal that, to be trustworthy, wasn’t value being attentive to. It was once simply an old call with out a connection to its historical past or apparently what was once taking place within the trade. With the Sort I, that’s replacing. They were given an archivist, they’ve dusted off the old catalogs, they usually landed on most likely their most famed pattern from an fanatic’s viewpoint.

Created to be the hardest watch in its day, and issued to only probably the most elite devices of the US defense force, the Sort I used to be practical, sensible, constructed like a rock, and charmingly understated. To get the entire run-down at the originals, take a look at our article Benrus Type I and Type II MIL-W-50717 Military Dive Watches. A “sleeper” of types, the Sort I will most certainly beat up your different watches however doesn’t want to as it is aware of it will possibly, if you recognize what I imply. Just about 43mm in diameter, with 300m of water resistance, the authentic must were very enforcing in 1972.


Evaluation: the Benrus Sort I Reissue


Semigloss Stainless Metal


ETA 2681






Domed Crystal



Water Resistance



42.5 x 47.7mm



Lug Width









The modern watch helps to keep this competitive stance and the total pattern is unchanged to the bare eye, measuring in at 42.5 x 47.7 x 14.8mm. The blocky pattern has no bevels or some other ornamental components, but its angular, prolonged proper aspect, which protects the screw-down crown, is a particular characteristic. This gives the case with an unmistakable persona and makes it recognizable at-a-glance. Benrus upped the lug-width from 19.5 to 20mm for evident causes.

The authentic

The Reissue

Taking a look down the lugs, the bezel slopes with a stunning quantity of class right into a double-domed glass glass, one of the vital upgraded components. If little main points make the entire distinction, Benrus did an excellent process at the bezel, with the etched, paint-filled numerals at the bezel taking a look proper off a ‘70s model. That said, it too went from acrylic to a more modern aluminum insert, though you’d barely be capable to inform at a look. Whilst at the matter, the 12-hr bezel with markings for the primary 20-minutes is a personal-favorite structure, and the Sort I and Sort II are a few of, if now not the primary, to make use of this sort of pattern.

As with the authentic, the bezel is bi-directional and non-ratcheting, so no clicks to wax poetic about. That stated, the bezel supplies numerous resistance and a pleasantly clean really feel, so unintended rotating is not likely, regardless that now not not possible. The toothed edge additionally provides numerous grip.

Asymmetrical case

Flipping the watch over, you might be met with every other set of preserved main points. The apparently completely sealed case-back includes a clean domed pattern, which most likely provides to convenience at the wrist, and has been laser etched with markings within the taste of the originals. That is the only position that you simply’ll in finding the call Benrus anyplace at the watch. For the restricted version, the date of assembly, in addition to the collection of the watch (of 1000), are incorporated. “U.S.” is etched on the backside, which isn’t only correct to the authentic pattern, however is a reminder that this watch is, actually, assembled within the US.

The ones very aware of the authentic Sort I’ve most likely spotted a small, however conceptually important distinction between the authentic and the remake: no dimple at the crown. Because of the highest load building of the originals a two-piece stem was once used to take away the crown, thus permitting the movement to be got rid of/put in into the case. The dimple at the crown was once there because it indicated when the crown was once in place for the stem to come back aside. The brand new Sort I, regardless of now not taking a look find it irresistible, in fact includes a detachable screw-in case back, so this two-piece gadget was once now not wanted.

Laser-etched case back

In talking with Darius Solomon, Benrus’ archivist, I realized that within the strategy of remaking the watch, they went thru an interior fight over little main points like this. On one hand, they sought after to stick faithful, at the different hand, they sought after to make a watch that was once sturdy and as much as modern requirements. The 2-piece stem was once a spot the place they felt the pattern may well be stepped forward, because the authentic allowed for unintended elimination of the crown. With out the gadget, it then didn’t appear genuine to have the dimple, as it could now not have a objective. Sort I die-hards would possibly bemoan this resolution, in conjunction with the glass and bezel, however I agree that it makes it a extra commercially viable product.


The dial of the Sort I is a learn about in simplicity. The diver lowered to its maximum crucial components. There are massive markers in keeping with hour, with a big triangle at 12, thick rectangles and three, 6, and 9, and small circles in between, all in white. Even though very similar to many different iconic divers, the balance is a little other, with extra emphasis at the cardinal markers. An enchanting characteristic is that the lume plots aren’t persistently sized in comparison to the white scuffs revealed beneath. For instance, the circles characteristic small dots with a noticeable border, the rectangles characteristic slender traces bisecting the print beneath, with a great deal of exposed house, and the triangle is just about totally lumed, save a small line on most sensible. All glow brightly because of BGW9 Tremendous-Luminova.

A stripped down diver

Distinctive markers

Curious lume placements

Out of doors of the massive hour markers are skinny white traces for the minutes, which get a marginally thicker at durations of 5. Past this, the dial is empty. A real sterile-dial, there’s no branding, no superfluous textual content, no date – not anything. And it’s unusually superb as such. Even though a not unusual trait for mil-spec watches, the loss of branding feels intentional and placing. A daring graphic remark intended to push the eyes only to the indexes making a void on the heart of the watch, it makes as a lot of a remark because it’s intended to remove.

Gloss white fence post hands make studying the time easy, going to turn that exaggerated shapes are extra shape than function. The lume utility is curious, however refers back to the originals. At the hour and minute hand there are a chain of rectangles stamped into the hands, two at the hours and 3 at the minutes. Luminescence is then implemented to only one of the vital rectangles at the hour, and two at the minutes, leaving an empty spot on each. It’s abnormal, however correct.


Powering the brand new Sort I is the ETA 2681. “The what?” you may well be asking. Yep, the 2681, an ETA automatic with hacking, handwinding, 25-jewels, date (sure, there’s a phantom crown place) a frequency of 28,800bph and roughly 44 hours of energy reserve. The explanation you most likely haven’t heard about it’s that it’s generally utilized in smaller watches because it’s 8.75 ligne or 19.4mm in diameter. For comparability, the 2824 is 11.5 ligne or 25.6mm in diameter. Darius Solomon confident me that they put the 2681 thru a battery or assessments to ensure it was once a solid possibility for the Sort I that may carry out effectively. Additionally, in use, you’ll’t inform that the movement is small.

a big watch with a small movement

Regardless, this turns out like an abnormal selection. I requested why they used the 2681, and it got here down to 2 issues, the primary was once that the usage of a hacking ETA (vs Sellita or different choices) was once essential to them because the originals have been ETA. The second one was once merely availability. Whilst I’m now not of their footwear, I do in finding each a little questionable, as I think that the usage of a well known and considered movement that was once sized for the watch, like an SW200, do not have taken clear of the watch with the exception of to most likely the snobbiest of snobs, who would most likely already be do away with by means of the glass glass, no dimple crown, and so forth. So far as swords to die on, I’m now not positive this one was once value it, as there’s simply one thing about understanding your watch has an undersized movement in it this is off-putting.

Bands and Wearability

Authentic Sort 1s and 2s had overhauled lug bars, as did maximum, if now not all, military-issued watches of the generation. The modern watch options spring bars, which must come as no marvel given the opposite user-friendly adjustments. With that stated, I used to be nonetheless stunned by means of the bracelet the watch got here on. Relatively than a single-pass bracelet that may have simulated what the originals would have come on, it comes on an excessively thick, two-piece nylon bracelet. mil-strap-esque, but the fabric doesn’t fold back and during the steel keepers. It’s of first rate high quality, however now not a bracelet I discovered very conceptually or aesthetically interesting. I consider the purpose was once to permit for the caseback to be simply visual, which turns out like a foolish factor to sacrifice a bracelet for, particularly so far as lovers are involved. Moreover, at $1,700, give me the bracelet that appears proper, a wonderful leather-based bracelet, and possibly this two-piece for every other nylon possibility.

The two-piece nylon this is incorporated

Anyway, after casting off the bracelet and putting in place on a unmarried go, the watch seemed and felt proper. Inexperienced, grey, black, all of them glance solid. However because it’s were given spring bars and 20mm lugs, I additionally attempted it on leather-based, and I’ve to mention, I used to be very stunned by means of the outcome. With out the fabric beneath, it wears flatter, which is all the time just right, however extra importantly, the unabashedly rugged pattern simply appears killer on darkish, semigloss leather-based. I imply, this is a software watch in the end.

In spite of missing most of the methods hired to make a watch glance and wear smaller, I’m all the time amazed by means of how effectively the Sort I wears. Similar to a Speedmaster, the diameter describes the asymmetrical extension, so it’s a little of a false size. The bezel, which measures 39.4mm, is a greater quantity to head by means of. In a similar way, a portion of the peak comes from the domed bezel and glass, which reads thinner than it could if it was once natural case-side, and the case-back domes. And, as described, the mid-case is in fact rather skinny, temporarily reducing in against the case-back, keeping off an excessive amount of slab. In different phrases, don’t be intimidated by means of the 14.8mm dimension. On my seven-inch wrist, it no doubt had a commanding presence, however I by no means felt find it irresistible was once outsized or awkward. In truth, I reasonably favored dressed in one thing a little better for a replace.

On a unmarried go

Clean bezel motion

rugged watch on rugged leather-based


All stated and carried out, I believe the brand new Benrus Sort I is a compelling, relaxing watch and, extra importantly, a sign that the brand is getting at the proper track. I don’t envy any person looking to convey back an iconic watch that has a cult following, as you’re by no means going to delight everybody. On one hand, you may have purists who need a 1:1 sport (regardless that, most likely a real 1:1 merely wouldn’t be presented to the general public), and at the different you may have an ever-growing and ever-pickier workforce of lovers who’re armed with simply sufficient wisdom at the historical past of a watch to be anal, but additionally call for the most productive specifications. On this example, there must be some give both course.

That stated, I do assume the movement wasn’t the correct selection, and no more considerably, the bracelet. This leads me to the actual hard tablet to swallow – the fee. At $1,700, we’re simply used to extra at this level. You’ll be able to get finely-made and completed Swiss chronometers for much less, or tough-as-nails German software watches. And for one thing in a an identical taste, you may have the Marathon Navigator, which is equipped to the US Military and prices a ways much less, regardless that is plastic and battery operated, and the MKII Paradive, must you be capable to in finding one, which is like a next-gen model of the Sort I.

An undeniably good-looking watch

Positive, American-assembled can account for one thing, however there are brands, like Vaer, doing that for much less as effectively. In the long run, I will’t discuss to their prices, however at $1,700 I don’t need the next-best-movement, I would like the only I do know and believe, which at this level will also be Sellita, Soprod, or Seiko and Miyota, and a few truly just right bands. With that stated, if that is the watch you’ve set your eyes on, and the fee isn’t a subject matter (it’s admittedly the fraction of the cost of a antique Sort I at this level), then you will be pleased with the revel in of the watch. The Sort I may be very relaxing to wear and take a look at, it’s no doubt well-built, and Benrus did an excellent process in recreating the weather that you simply’ll recognize when glancing down at your wrist. I am hoping that they take what they’ve realized in creating this primary LE, and produce it to a extra obtainable model sooner or later. Benrus

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