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    

18k Antique $20 Liberty Head Gold Coin 17j Benrus Pocket Watch, PerfectVintage Benrus Sea Lord Automatic Diver’s Watch Men’s Date 1970’s DiverVintage Men's Mechanical Watch Lot, Elgin Waltham Benrus Gruen Hamilton WylerVintage Mens Benrus Jumping Hour Wristwatch WatchRare 1950s Benrus Wild 17j Jump Hour Golfball Star Dial Dial-o-rama Ufix N/r!!Huge Estate Watches (lot Of 200+) - Seiko, Gruen, Citizen, Benrus, & Many MoreVintage Men's Military Wristwatch Out Of Estate!! Benrus Date Jul 19751966 Bulova Accutron 214 10k Gold Filled Tuning Fork Men's Dress Watch E471949 Hamilton "donald" 19 Jewel 982m 14k Solid Gold Men's Dress Watch E47Hamilton Benrus Zenith And More Wrist Watch Mechanical Movements Cases Lot Of 13Vintage Hamilton 686 10k White Rgp Diamond Dial Men's Dress Watch Clean E47Vintage Lot Of 25 Women's Watches Parts/repair Bulova Benrus Elgin Gruen WylerMen's Very Rare 1930's Benrus. Enamel Bezel. Art Deco. Gorgeous. No ReserveBenrus 17 Jewel Automatic Wristwatch Runs Great Lqqk!!!1970 Bulova Accutron 218 10k Gold Filled Tuning Fork Men's Dress Watch E47Vintage Benrus Watch 14k White Gold With Diamonds Scrap No ScrapVintage Longines Cal. 528 17 Jewel Black Diamond Dial 10k Gf Men's Watch E47Rare Vintage Digital Men's Watch Wristwatch Pierre Bideau Red Face Look Wow Nr Vintage Benrus 17-21 Jewel Watch Lot,14k Gep,10k Rgp Diamond Accent,gf Bangle++Vintage Lot,men's Watches,hamilton,benrus,gruen,elgin,chronographe,parts,repairVintage Ladies 14k Rose Gold Benrus Watch, Scrap Or Wear, RunsVintage Men's Benrus Mechanical Wristwatch, Working Vintage Watch Lot Benrus Bulova Waltham Caravelle Elgin Kingston TimexAwesome 1940's Benrus Mens Vintage Dress Watch - ServicedVintage Art Deco Benrus,10k Rgp Great Condition, Mint Dial.looks And Runs Great.Us Military World War Ii Men's Issued Watch Benrus U.s.a. Ww2 Wwii Ww 2 IiBenrus Vintage Militarytype 2 Class A Mil-w-50717;diver Ploprof 1973;case Only Vintage Late 40s Auto Benrus, Excellent Condition, Gold Plated Case And Band.Bulova Waltham, Helbros, Gruen, Benrus Pocket , Parts Watch Lot $.99 StartMens Vintage 1940's/50's Benrus*great Lugs*serviced*ready 2 Wear*Men's Vintage Waltham Railroad Look Manual Wind Watch In Nice Condition1950s Benrus 17j Double Date Pointer Mens Mechanical Wind Up Wrist Watch ~ 8294Vintage Lot 1 Mens Benrus Automatic Date Watch Nos Suede Band Working!!!!!!Rare 1948 Benrus Day Date Pointer *blue Steel Hands*Very Unusual Benrus Large Articulating Hooded Lugs 17 Jewel WristwatchHigh Grade 25 Jewel Benrus Automatic Fancy Crystal Mens Watch Clean Dl Raised #sLot Of (9) Vintage Mens Watches, Hamilton, Benrus, Orvin, Helbros, Welsbro, (e1)Lot Vintage Pocket Watches Eagle Usa Half Dollar Swiss Andre Rivalle Benrus MoreVintage Benrus Quartz Moon Phase Disc Wrist Watch - Needs CleaningLot 6 Antique & Vintage Mens Watches For Repair Norman De Lux BenrusVintage Benrus Automatic Power Reserve 10k Rgp Men's Dress Watch Not Running E47Lady's Vintage Benrus 10k Gold Rgp Swiss Wind-up Watch W/ Flex Band(lot Of 100+) New Old Stock Fulton Watch Crystals Bulova Elgin Benrus & MoreVintage Ladies Cocktail Watches Lot For Parts/restoration...benrus, Bucherer,etcVintage Benrus Mens 7j Wrist Watch Cw2 10k Rolled Gold Bezel Twiston Band 5 Art Deco Hand Wind Wrist Watches~ Hamilton ~ Benrus~ Elgin ~gruenLot Of 12 Vintage Watches Hamilton Benrus Omega Bulova Seiko Clinton Others3 Wrist Watches -mens-antique Gold Filled-rose Gf-lady Elgin-benrus-marudo-nr!Men's Watch Lot -5- Seiko, Indiglo, Benrus, Pulsar All RunningMen's Vintage Benrus Silver-tone Wind-up Watch W/ Flex Band And Raised NumbersBenrus Art Deco WatchMen's Dress Quartz Watch Benrus Duranite Gold Leather Band Vintage 100 Ft WrVintage Benrus Men’s Wristwatch 10k Gold Filled Art Deco Style Watch RunsVintage Benrus Rose Gold Filled Wind Up Working Wrist WatchBenrus & Helbros Swiss Men’s Fancy Mechanical Vintage Wristwatches. 74hVintage Ladies Gold Tone Benrus Watch Vintage Rare1975 Womens Benrus Red Led Digital Bracelet Watch Works GreatMovado, Gruen, Benrus & Cinderella Watches & Costume Watches - For Parts Or WearVintage Bulova Elgin Benrus Buler Ladies Watches For Repair Or Parts Lot#po-101Benrus Vintage Men's Wristwatch