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    

Benrus Dr-2f2 Military Wrist Watch Oct.1971 With All The Government Markings RnsVintage 1960's Benrus "jumping Hour Wandering Minutes" Watch - Rf27820Vintage 1955 Men's Benrus 3 Star Power Wind Indicator Automatic Watch 4 RepairVintage 1960's Men's Benrus 21 Jewel Shock Absorber Mechanical Watch RunsBenrus Hacking Military Field Watch, Manual Wind, May 1973, E.c., No Reserve!!!Vintage Watch Lot Of 17 (omega Wyler Enicar Benrus) Parts Or Repair Watch LotVintage Benrus Three Star Men’s Self-winding Watch 14 K. Gold Filled 17 JewelVintage Benrus Men's Wristwatch Ba2 17 Jewels 10k Gold Filled Case RunsVintage 1965 Benrus Military Watch 7 Jewel #da-36-038-amc-2201 Wind UpRare Serviced Vintage Men's Benrus Jump Hour WatchVintage Benrus 3 Star Series #7001 Self Winding/automatic Men's Watch StainlessBenrus Calendar Nonrunning Wwii Military Stainless Wrist WatchB14 Benrus Military May 1969 Mil-w-46374 Vietnam Era Watch Nato Strap WristwatchNew In Box~mint Condition~1970s Benrus 17j Calendar~gold Plated Mens Watch Stunning! 1940s~rhinestone Jeweled Dial Art Deco Benrus Gold Filled Swiss Watch Vintage 1950's Benrus Concentric Pointer Date Calendar Manual Wind Watch Benus G.f. Gold Filled Men's Vintage Mechanical Watch Running W/ New Brown StrapBaume & Mercier Manual Wristwatch With 14k Gold Case And Strap - Rf50432Benrus Real Military Vintage 1975 Vietnam Era 35mm Plastic Rare 10k G.f. Benrus 3 Star Self Winding Wrist Watch Brown Leather Band Vintage Benrus Ultrasteel Men's Watch. Diver Style. Screw Down Crown. Vintage Men's Watch Lot~elgin Bulova Benrus Zodiac Parts/repair One Day AuctionVintage Benrus 3 Star Sea Lord Series #1345 Self Winding Men's Watch Day-dateVintage 9 Watch Lot Waltham Wyler Benrus Veto Caravelle Lucerne Auto Gold As-isVintage Gents Benrus Shockproof Wrist Watch Running No ReserveVintage Benrus Gold Mans WatchLot Of 5 Swiss Vintage Mechanical Wrist Watches Bulova Buren Clinton Benrus-runsVintage 1950's Men's Benrus Wrist Alarm Gold Tone Watch 4 RepairHelbros Benrus Watch LotVintage Lot 7 Ladies Wristwatches Bulova Helbros Benrus Longines Jules JurgensenVintage Benrus 3051 Mens 17 Jewels Wrist Watch Nice!!! Running!!! Great!!!Three (3) Benrus “double Date” Men’s Vintage Mechanical Wristwatch Mvts. 142aBenrus Gold Electroplate Running Wrist WatchVintage Mens 7021 Benrus 3 Star Stainless Steel Self Winding 17 Jewel Watch C2363 Vintage Men's Watches Elgin - Benrus - BulovaBenrus Automatic Non-running Watch 25 JewelsVintage Jb Champion Mens Benrus Mesh Watch Band 10 K Gf + Buckle 19.1 Mm Ends VgBenrus Mens Watch AutomaticBenrus Sealord Stainless Steel Automatic Mens WatchVintage Jb Champion Men's Benrus Watch Band 10 K Gf + Buckle 17.3 Mm Ends GoodVintage Benrus Shock Absorber WatchSuperb Benrus Electronic Citation Hs19 7j N3 Cal.9158 Large Mens Working.Vintage Gold Fd Large Antique Art Deco Benrus Mens Watch ... NrLot Of 5 Swiss Vintage Mechanical Wrist Watches Elgin Clinton Benrus Liwaco-runs42 Vintage Mechanical Wind Watches Lot For Parts Repair Or RestorationLot Old Watches Pocket .800 Silver French Porcelain, Wrist Benrus Jurgensen (w1)Vintage Watch Lot Of 9 (waltham Benrus Vantage By Hamilton Citizen Seiko Etc)Serviced-1970s Big Block Benrus 17j Japanese Date~gold Plated Watch~new Strap Vintage Benrus Shock Absorbent Gold Tone Manual Wind Mens Watch Vintage Men's Benrus 17 Jewel Swiss Made WristwatchLot Of Vintage Women's Watches. Benrus, Croton And More3 = Vintage Benrus Wristwatches 2 Run Fresh EstateLot Of Old Watches Mickey Mouse Hamilton Casio Ingersoll Benrus & MoreBeautiful Vintage 1940's Benrus 14k Gold Filled Men's Wind-up Wristwatch (nice)Six Benrus Automatic And Manual Wind Vintage Mechanical Wristwatch Mvts. 39a15 Old Deco Bulova Gucci Benrus Peugeot Lady Nelson Timex Electric + Wrist Watch12 Old Deco Bulova Hamilton Seiko Benrus Timex Remington Electric ++ Wrist WatchVintage Benrus 17j Model Bb4 Wristwatch Movement4 Mens 3 Dress Watches-pierre Cardin Benrus Gruen Seiko Service W/bands All WorkMens Benrus Quartz Watch.runs Great On Time 8+ Unextended