The roots of Benrus go back to a watch-repair shop founded in New York City in 1921 by a Romanian immigrant named Benjamin Lazrus. One of three brothers, Lazrus quickly branched into the manufacture of watch cases, which he’d fill with movements, dials, and hands assembled in, and imported from, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. During the 1930s, Benrus watch cases got more stylish, and unlike a lot of other watch manufacturers, the firm did not have to produce watches for the U.S. military during World War II, although it was compelled to manufacture timing devices used in munitions.

By the end of the 1940s, Benrus had released a sophisticated calendar watch, a stylish chronograph called the Sky Chief, a slender ladies wristwatch of diamond-studded platinum, and a gold-plated timepiece for men with a mother-of-pearl dial. The 1950s saw a foiled hostile takeover of Hamilton, as well as the introduction of the Dial-a-Rama, the Wrist Alarm, and a winding indicator that showed the wearer how tightly the watch was wound at a glance, without requiring them to wind it perhaps more than was advisable in order to find out. One of its most unique watches of the 1950s was the one-piece Embraceable, which was put on the wrist like a bracelet, and Benrus also made character watches featuring the likenesses of Dick Tracy and Mickey Mouse.

Automatic, self-winding watches appeared in the early 1960s, which is also when the company made automobile clocks, which were mounted in a car’s steering wheel and wound themselves when the car was turned in one direction or another. The ’60s were also the decade when comedian Jerry Lewis was hired to pitch the Belforte, one of two modestly priced Benrus lines (the other was Sovereign). But in 1964, Benrus was found guilty by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of misleading consumers when it came to pricing, due to its practice of setting its retail prices at artificially high levels compared to what retail customers actually paid for the watches (the FTC objected to the false impression given to consumers that they were getting an amazing deal—a year later, an appeals court upheld the FTC’s ruling).

In 1967, Benrus was sold to Victor Kiam, who also owned the Remington Razors. In an effort to diversify in the face of inexpensive wristwatches from Japan, Benrus made military watches for soldiers in Vietnam, tried to go after the costume-jewelry market with its Destino line, and made products branded as Christian Dior. But it was not enough, and by 1977, the company was bankrupt. Recently, in 2012, the Benrus brand was acquired by a high-end, luxury wristwatch company in Belgium, which is offering two Benrus models, the N°1 and the Philo, the later of which comes in two flavors, each limited to a run of just 100 timepieces.

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

National Watch and Clock Museum

National Watch and Clock Museum

This virtual museum, created by the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, lets you stroll through tim… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vintage Ladies Benrus 14k White Gold & Diamonds WatchVintage Very Nice Benrus Military Mil-w-46374 Watch W/ 24 Hour Dial - Runs GreatVintage Watch Lot 35 Mostly Swiss Made Deco,military Style,medana Vulcain BenrusVintage Benrus Wrist Alarm Hand-winding Mechanical Swiss Watch - No Reserve !!!Vintage 1950's Men's Benrus 21 Jewel Automatic Shock-absorber Watch Runs & StopsClean Vintage 1970's Men's Benrus Race Track Dial Gold Tone Watch RunsLot Of Vintage Women's Wrist Watches Bulova Benrus,clinton, Beforte,sovereign. Benrus Post-vietnam Issue Gg-w-113 (dec 74) 1969 Vietnam War Military Wrist Watch Gs-06s-2014 BenrusVintage Ladies Watch Lot Benrus Elgin Baylor For Parts RepairVintage Art Deco Men's Benrus Wristwatch Ba2 17 Jewel RunsVintag Benrus Duo Date Watch For Parts Good Staff Non Running Good DialMen's Lady's Vintage Junk 37 Watch Lot For Parts Timex Bulova Helbros Benrus +Sleek Vintage 10k Gold Filled Benrus Black Dial Men's WristwatchVintage Benrus Automatic Movement Mans Watch Runs WellVintage Benrus Wrist Alarm Men's Watch For Parts Or RepairVery Clean Vintage 1970's Men's Benrus Shock-absorber Mechanical Watch RunsVintage Benrus 17 Jewel Model Bb14 Wristwatch Vintage X23 Watch Lot Benrus Rodania Lucerne Waltham Borea Genova & MoreVintage Art Deco Watch Lot,clinton Benrus Waltham Hafis Castel Rivera HelbrosVintage Watch Lot Of (250) Hundreds Of Watches Wittnauer,mickey Mouse,benrus,etcWatches Lot Of 19 Assorted Mens And Ladies Wrist Watches Seiko Waltham BenrusA Vintage Men Wind Up Benrus RunningName Brand All Metal Watch Lot For Parts Or Repair Benrus Helbros Pulsar TimexVintage Men's Benrus 10k Rgp 3-star Self Winding Wristwatch Original Box & RunsVintage Benrus 3-star Self-winding Automatic Model Fe 2d5 Deco Numeral WatchBenrus D.t.u-2 A/p Mil-w-3818b Military Watch 1971 Vietnam Spares Or RepairNos Mens Womens Glass Watch Crystals Benrus Hamilton Elgin Gruen Bulova 750+Mens Vintage Penney's Benrus 17j Model Bh 14 Hand Wind WatchVintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 3133Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 0140Lot Of 56 Vintage New Watch Crystals Hamilton & Benrus Parts RepairHuge Lot Of 24 Benrus Watches - Various Models Automatic-manual-quartzVintage Benrus 3 Star Selfwinding Automatic Men's Wrist Watch Series 1345Small Women's Vintage Art Deco Benrus 1930's Swiss Gold Pl. Hand Wind Watch RunsVintage 1974 Huge Benrus Techni Quartz Watch Techniquartz As IsGruen, Bulova, Zodiac And Benrus Mechanical Wristwatch Lot (no Reserve)Vintage Bulova Watch 10k Gold Filled (does Not Work) With Benrus Case Lot174aGroup Of Vintage Wristwatches As-is Watch Parts Timex, Benrus, Elgin, BulovaVintage Watch Lot Helbros Benrus Waltham Citizen QuartzVintage Watch Movement Lot Waltham Benrus Tissot Hamilton ElginVintage Benrus Electronic With Swiss Made Band Series #9021Classy Vintage Benrus 17 Jewel Ba2 10k Gold Filled Running Mens WristwatchVintage Benrus 3 Star Selfwinding Watch 20 Micron Gold Ep 3021 Series, ServicedVintage Lady's Benrus 10k Gold Filled Bracelet Watch Running ConditionVintage Benrus Men's Wrist Watch-swiss 17 Jewel Dm 411-eta 1280-parts Or RepairVintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 0143Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 0213Benrus 14k Solid Yellow Gold Watch 21 Jewels Manual Wind WristwatchVintage Lot Of 4 Elgin Benrus Helbros Buren Wristwatches For RepairMens Vintage Benrus Sealord Mechanical Watch.runs Good.well Worn.missing Stem.Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 3150Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Watch Lot679-a7711Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 0120Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 0174Vintage Benrus Winding 17 Jewels Swiss Men's Wrist Watch No 04225 Vtg Ladies Watches Wind Up Bulova Gruen Precision Waltham Benrus Astra-repair Art Deco Benrus Automatic Model Eg135 25j 3star Swiss Men's Movement Vintage Benrus Watch Large Fancy Case 1950's4 Watches -pulsar, Omega, Benrus