Founded in 1921 in New York, Benrus was once a player among the major American watch companies and produced a range of timepieces throughout its history. Benrus aimed to produce affordable watches by importing movements from various sources, and became especially known for its military watches. The name Benrus is a combination of the first and last syllables of its founder’s name, Benjamin Lazrus, who started the company with his two brothers.

Benrus (not to be confused with the modern microbrand Benarus) changed hands several times and survived the Quartz Crisis in name only, but the brand’s legacy has lived on in some sense via homages such as MKII’s Paradive. The brand’s military field and dive watches, particularly the field watch produced under military contract during the 1960s and the Type I and II divers, represent the brand to many vintage fans today. While the below three dive watches don’t quite have the awesome story of the Type I and II that was designed for the likes of special operations personnel and naval UDT divers in the Vietnam War, they still offer window to this interesting brand’s history.

Benrus Citation

What We Like:
Though the Citation name of this 1960s dive watch sounds odd, it is apparently named after a famous racehorse of the time. It’s got a cool turtle-like case shape, an automatic movement, a “cyclops” magnifier over the date, and an unmistakeable look representative of an era that now provides so much design inspiration for modern brands.

From the Seller: Overall this watch is in very good condition considering its age.

Benrus Diver

What We Like: This Benrus Diver from offers a cool 1970s aesthetic with a manually wound Japanese movement inside. At 37mm wide, vintage dive watches such as this offer a dashing look and fun wearing experience quite different from typically large modern divers. The manually wound movement also keeps it relatively thin, which makes for a handsome dive watch that’ll fit under a shirt cuff.

From the Seller: Case is in very good, all-original condition; dial is original with natural patina.

Benrus Ultra-Deep Super Compressor

What We Like: Benrus is one of several companies that produced essentially the same kind of dive watch in the 1960s. The Super Compressor was designed to react to water pressure in a unique way that actually tightened the gaskets with increased pressure. While the Super Compressor didn’t prove to be an enduring solution for water resistance, the story of its purpose-built and distinctive-looking design helps it remain an enthusiast favorite. Inside this example is an ETA 2472 automatic movement, and its steel case measures a highly wearable 36mm.

From the Seller: Fantastic original condition overall with minor wear consistent with age and use. Beautiful original matte black dial with creamy patina to the tritium luminous elements.

Joys of the Cheap American Military Watch

A brief overview of some of America’s mil-spec field watches. Read the Story

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