When most collectors consider Benrus in a contemporary context, army watches come to thoughts. Since its relaunch, the model has reissued a variety of subject and dive watches styled after these it produced for the U.S. army. In its unique kind, Benrus additionally produced a variety of watches for civilians all through its greater than 50 years in enterprise. Final 12 months, it reintroduced the Sea Lord dive watch, and now it’s reissuing a pores and skin diver from its historical past (particularly, 1972): the Orbit Robotic.
As I hadn’t acquired pictures earlier than Benrus loaned me the look ahead to this assessment, I looked for photos of classic examples to have an thought of what to anticipate. It seems that the originals are fairly uncommon, however there are a number of pictures floating round on the Web. What I discovered was a really ’70s UFO-style case with a lovely, smoke-colored fumé dial. On high of that, you’ll discover jewel-like hour markers and contrasting neon-orange palms.
Upon opening the waterproof case that the fashionable model ships in, I discovered one thing similar to the classic pictures. On the wrist, the dial and hand mixture offers it a really enjoyable and funky look. As you would possibly count on, the crystal has been upgraded to sapphire as a contemporary concession/enchancment, but it surely retains the domed form. This produces a lovely and refined distortion. The crystal doesn’t seem to have any anti-reflective coating on it, so it creates a whole lot of reflections. Legibility continues to be fairly good due to the brilliant orange palms. I might have most popular extra distinction in measurement and thickness between the minute and hour palms, however they’re devoted representations of the unique. Moreover, the model identify is printed on the dial, relatively than the utilized steel rectangle of the unique. I like how Benrus avoided including further textual content to the dial. It’s clear and easy like the unique.
These vibrant palms, in addition to the utilized steel hour markers, are stuffed with Tremendous-LumiNova to offer nighttime legibility. The triangular pip on the bezel glows inexperienced, whereas the palms and dial use BWG9 blue lume. The lume is just not as vibrant as different dive watches I’ve worn however continues to be straightforward to learn as soon as your eyes modify to the darkness.
The brushed stainless-steel bezel can be a throwback to the unique. I might have most popular a uni-directional bezel with distinct clicks, however I discover bi-directional friction bezels just like the one on the Orbit Robotic faster to make use of for timing issues in day by day life. Sadly, on this case, the rotation is just not very clean; it has a little bit of friction. (For reference, it feels much like the Vostok Amfibia divers I’ve owned.) My assumption is that the unique additionally had a friction bezel, and Benrus did this to maintain it genuine. The bezel is at the very least straightforward to grip, and I do benefit from the look of a stainless bezel with out an anodized insert. The screw-down crown, with its sharp edges, can be very straightforward to grip and function.
Pores and skin diver instances are inclined to make for snug dive watches resulting from their low facilities of gravity and curved facet profiles. Whereas trendy reissues typically tackle trendy (learn: bigger) dimensions, the latest pattern in downsizing watches has resulted in additional devoted renditions being produced by some manufacturers. At 41mm-wide and 13mm-thick (13.5 with crystal), Benrus says that the Orbit Robotic’s dimensions are the identical as these of the unique. Even so, it nonetheless affords 200 meters of water resistance. Benrus additionally did house owners the favor of accelerating the lug width to 20mm to supply higher compatibility with aftermarket straps. Due to its sub-38mm bezel and brief 43mm lug-to-lug peak, it seems to be compact and wears comfortably.
The Orbit Robotic’s complete case is brushed with bits of sprucing on the bezel, caseback, and bracelet, offering a little bit of sparkle. Stated bracelet can be a contemporary interpretation of the unique. The five-link design with polished facilities, and brushed outer hyperlinks look cohesive with the remainder of the watch. The perimeters of the hyperlinks are additionally polished, as are the chamfers on the two-button deployant clasp. I like that it has built-in quick-release spring bars. This makes putting in your favourite 20mm strap a fast and simple course of if house owners want to change the look. The lugs are compact, that means that there isn’t a unpleasant hole when putting in a straight-end strap.
Whereas Benrus Orbit Robots have been powered by Seiko actions in 1972, this 2023 model is Swiss Made, and thus makes use of a Swiss caliber to maintain time —particularly, the Soprod P024. Working at 28,800 vph, this ETA 2824 clone affords 38 hours of energy reserve. In contrast to the originals, this model loses the day show however provides hand-winding and a date that’s superior by turning the crown (relatively than pushing it in towards the case). Originals used a front-loading monocoque case design (assume Seiko Marinemaster), however the Benrus reissue makes use of a standard screw-down caseback. It’s not distinctive, but it surely ought to make the watch simpler to open up when servicing is required. Referencing the watch’s mannequin identify, a picture of a cute robotic orbiting a three-dimensional globe is shaped into the caseback.
Reissuing the Orbit Robotic is a logical subsequent step for Benrus, as vintage-style pores and skin divers have develop into fairly widespread just lately. Because the model appears to be sticking to its present heritage designs, that is an attention-grabbing, if lesser-known, mannequin to carry again. Whereas there’s a whole lot of competitors on this section (and value vary), the Orbit Robotic’s dial and handset assist it to face aside from the gang. The enticing fumé sample affords depth that provides it a lovely ’70s appeal. With vibrant palms and blocky hour markers, it’s a enjoyable watch to put on. Moreover, the case dimensions make it extra wearable than bigger choices would possibly. For followers of the Benrus model, it’s an interesting and recent providing. The MSRP for the Benrus Orbit Robotic is $995 USD. For extra particulars, please go to the Benrus web site.
>Mannequin: Orbit Robotic
>Measurement: 41mm diameter, 43mm lug-to-lug, 13mm thickness (13.5 together with crystal), 20mm lug width.
>When reviewer would personally put on it: Swimming or on the weekend. Any time that I needed to put on one thing a bit totally different.
>Buddy we’d suggest it to first: Somebody who appreciates ’70s fashion and attention-grabbing use of coloration or who appreciates the historical past of the Benrus identify.
>Finest attribute of watch: The dial. Smoky fumé, enticing utilized markers, and the sunburst sample beneath play with gentle properly.
>Worst attribute of watch: The bezel. I’d choose a uni-directional bezel with clicks. The rotation of the friction bezel is just not very clean.