Following this article discussing modern military watches from Benrus, it seems that there is more to discuss about the brand, especially its dive watches. The Type I & II discussed in that article were unique in the way they were designed for their intended purpose—to be used by the most elite commando and undercover units of the American military. Although they were divers, they weren’t made for the general public. What perhaps you didn’t know is that Benrus also made solid dive watches for the common mortal like the Orbit Robot, Sea Lord, and the Ultra-Deep which we’re going to take a look at today. Each model came with its own looks and personality and each was recently recreated by the brand to pay homage to its own heyday of underwater exploration.
The Benrus Orbit Robot
By far the most bizarre looking of all three, the Orbit Robot showcases what Benrus knew how to do best: unusual looking watches. Originally released in 1972, the Orbit Robot stood out thanks to its UFO-esque cushion case, brownish fumé dial, and orange handset. Although it looked unusual, it was a proper tool watch that was legible, solid, and purposeful. The modern version was released in 2022 and preserved the overall dimensions and looks of the original. The case measures 41mm in diameter, 43mm long, and comes with a reasonable 13mm thickness and a 20mm lug width. It boasts 200 meters of water resistance thanks to a screw-down crown and case-back, which is more than enough water resistance for most humans. It is powered by a Soprod P024 automatic movement and features a friction-fit stainless steel bezel and applied rectangular hour markers.
The Benrus Sea Lord
A bit like skin divers because popular in the 1960s for offering a more accessible dive watch experience to amateur divers, Benrus released the Sea Lord for the same reason. The Sea Lord was created to for those who fancy shallow diving and need a water resistant timekeeping device. The Ultra-Deep, which we’re going to take a look at later, was made for professionals. There existed many versions of the Sea Lord, however the versions Benrus recreated last year constitute the most versatile (and most sought-after) looking ones—perhaps their purest form. The new one measures 39.5mm in diameter, 45mm long, 13mm thick and has a 20mm lug width. Although it might not appear so, they come with an impressive 300 meters of water resistance and, like the Orbit Robot, a Soprod P024 movement. They also come in a black dial version with aged lume accents and a green version with white accents.
The Benrus Ultra-Deep
The third and most recent diver Benrus released is the Ultra-Deep. Although its name might be somewhat of a misnomer because it “only” comes with 200 meters of water resistance (I initially thought it would at least boast 500 or 600 meters). But its name is appropriate if we look at its dimensions: 36.5mm in diameter, 41.5mm long, and 13.8mm thick. The Ultra-Deep is therefore a compact diver, something we don’t often see anymore. It was the brand’s first purpose-driven diver: created during the golden age of scuba diving to make the sport accessible to many. It has a super-compressor style case (although it no longer is one,) a legible dial with cathedral hands, and an inner rotating dive-time bezel. It is also powered by a Swiss made Soprod P024 caliber and comes with a jubilee-style bracelet and a blue NATO-style strap.
All three models presented here are recreations of iconic divers from Benrus. From what I could tell, the brand decided to re-issue the designs that were the most sought-after by collectors and the most rare to find. With these three models, one has quite a few options to choose from to get vintage-inspired watches from a historical brand whose roots date back to 1921. What's also neat—and not always the case when a brand recreates old references—is the fact that these watches are relatively affordable: $995 for the Orbit Robot, $895 for the black Sea Lord and $995 for the green version, and $1,095 for the Ultra-Deep. These prices are arguably good for watches that come with heritage and great specifications.Featured image: www.hodinkee.com