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American watch brand Benrus roars back after fresh injection of capital

Benrus-Heritage-Collection

Historic American timepiece brand, Benrus, is relaunching under a new management team after completing its recapitalization.

The brand, which originated in New York in 1921, was taken over two years ago by a private investment group led by mergers and acquisitions lawyer, Michael Sweeney.

Benus has now returned to the Big Apple and reopened its new headquarters and historic archive in its original home, the iconic Hippodrome on 6th Avenue.

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Michael Goeller, formerly executive VP of worldwide operations at Bulova, has been brought on board and has assembled an executive team of watch industry veterans.

While the brand will soft launch in early 2020 with the presentation of its new Heritage collection of timepieces, embodying various details from Benrus’ past designs, its official launch will take place later in the year with the reissue of select “highly collectable” vintage timepieces that helped to define the brand and the opening of its historical archive.

Mr Sweeney (below) said: “We understand the watch industry is going through another transformation, especially over the last few years, but we feel strongly that this authentic American brand will resonate with watch aficionados and consumers looking for that special timepiece that represents American values. We have a true passion for this project, this brand and the people who believe in us. For this reason, we have recruited top talent in watch design, sales, and management.”

Benrus is currently selling its collection online and at retail stores at Westime in Beverly Hills and Goldtinker in Red Bank, New Jersey.

The acquisition of Benrus has its roots both in Mr Sweeney’s passion for US military history and timepieces. His father, Daniel W. Sweeney, a US Marine in WWII, was deployed to the Pacific from Pearl Harbor after the Japanese attacked in 1941.

Benrus was a key military supplier in developing shock resistant timepieces during WWII, the Korean and the Vietnam War.

The DTU-2A was the first military watch produced by Benrus as the sole source of the 1964 US military contract for the Vietnam War.

This led to the inspiration for the iconic Type I and II, which defined the brand as the “must have military watch.”

Established by the Lazrus brothers in 1921, Benrus became one of America’s most popular watch brands between the 1940s and 70s, known for its military, aviation and dive timepieces featuring unique, first ever functions and Swiss movements.

“The more I learned about Benrusand its military heritage, the more I found myself wanting to preserve and rebuild this wonderful historic brand, which helped our armed forces protect the USA,” explained Sweeney.

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Sam Lewis

The author Sam Lewis