Vintage Spotlight : Benrus Sky Chief



The Benrus, Sky Chief was first introduced in the 1940’s as a pilot’s watch. Though by today’s standards the modestly sized 36mm case does not instantly indicate an aviation lineage, Benrus based in New York City, became the official supplier to several commercial airlines.




Let’s examine a brief history of the company:

Originally founded as a watch-repair shop in New York City in 1921 by Benjamin Lazrus, the company transitioned from watch repair to the manufacture of watch cases and assembly of completed watches in 1930.

During World War II, the company stopped manufacturing watches and switched to the manufacture of timing systems used for military applications. During the In the 1940s and 1950s Benrus was a prolific watch manufacturer with American roots and Swiss watchmaking know how.

The company thrived until the late 1960’s when it was taken over by Victor Kiam. For those whom this name rings a bell, yes the Victor Kiam of  Remington Razors fame! It took 10 years but eventually Benrus went bankrupt. From 1967 until 2014 the company went through a variety changes, names and ownership. The brand is now marketed as a Lifestyle brand offering vintage style watches as well as accessories and clothing. To be honest this is not the glorious history that one usually associates fine watch companies, but this storied past does somewhat suit the unique and offbeat brand.

Now I will talk about the watch at hand, the Benrus Sky Chief:

As I had mentioned at the outset, this watch is a fine example of the triple date and chronograph combination. The day and month are located just below the Arabic 12 o’clock numeral, while the date is found on a circular track at the outer edge of the dial.

The month and date are adjusted by two shielded push-pieces located at approximately 10 and 9 o’clock.

The dial has just enough natural patina to give this watch a distinct, vintage feel and look.

This model has added appeal to collectors due to the presence of a triple date function powered by the tried and true Valjoux caliber 72C, the same movement used in Rolex model 6036 and a handful of other fine timepieces of similar lineage.

This is definitely one of those watches that falls under the “best bang for your buck” category. For an avid or budding collector this Sky Chief will check a great many boxes on the must have list.



One Comment

  1. We tell people that Harmony Jewellers is one of Ontario’s hidden secrets. Great service, great products and super value for our dollar. We have bought 3 high end watches from them and will continue to do so. We truly believe they are more interested in making us happy, repeat customers than they are in just taking our money. It’s worth the drive to Grimsby!
    Roger and Carolyn D.

    December 28, 2017 Reply

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