The Benrus Ultra-Deep copies a page from the history booksTom Austin
- Benrus have reimagined the Ultra-Deep from their archives, offering a heritage dive watch with more current technology
- The Ultra-Deep brings elegance and functionality together with a compressor-style internal bezel design
- At 36.5mm, the Benrus Ultra-Deep is a wearable alternative to modern large dive watches
For the past couple of decades, we’ve seen plenty of brands revisiting their archives and reproducing military style classics. American brand Benrus is the latest in line, utilising the watches of their past to capture the imaginations of enthusiasts today. The Ultra-Deep is their latest offering, a modern (but not too modern) and faithful take on their 1960s diver.
The Ultra-Deep’s beginnings start with the watches that Benrus used to supply to the US Navy, who found themselves in need of some tough watches. To answer their request, Benrus developed the Super Compressor, a watch that actually became more water resistant as the diver descended, due to the caseback pressurising against the case under the increasing water pressure. Honouring this piece of their history, Benrus have given the Ultra-Deep a 20 ATM water resistance rating, or 666 feet, as the dial cheekily suggests, which is the same as the original Super Compressor. Rather than opting for the more complex compressor case, Benrus went with a modern screw-down case system for better reliability. The case itself is a wonderfully wearable 36.5mm in diameter, making this one of the rare modern divers that replicate true vintage sizing. In fact, its proportions are faithful to the original, at 13.8mm thick and a 41.5mm lug to lug.
Also respecting the original Super Compressor’s design is the twin crown system, with one crown to operate the movement, and the other to rotate the inner timing bezel. This feature is not as common nowadays but was very popular in the 1960s. While preventing accidental bezel shifting while diving, it also serves another purpose. If this watch were to be configured as a conventional diver with the bezel on the outside, at 36.5mm it would likely wear rather small. Placing the rotating bezel underneath the crystal not only protects it, but gives the impression of a larger dial.
And how about the dial? The long hashes and printed indices, accompanied by the brand’s cathedral hands, all hark back to the original watch. Look at the watch at an angle, and the dial is gently warped through the double-domed acrylic crystal, another fan-favourite vintage feature. Topping off this quirky proposition is the inclusion of a magnification window for the date, giving it a final bit of vintage charm that modern watches often lack.
Inside the watch sits a Soprod P024 automatic movement, featuring a central time configuration and a date at 3 o’clock, with a 38-hour power reserve. This Swiss movement is a common alternative to the Sellita SW200s and ETA 2824s of the world.
To go along with the vintage theme, Benrus equips the new Ultra-Deep with a quick-change jubilee-style bracelet which can be quickly swapped for the complimentary blue dive strap, again just adding to the versatility of the watch.
Though the Ultra-Deep may not meet the expectation of a truly deep-diving watch with its diminutive size and 200-metre water resistance, it’s a handsome, appropriate homage to a past model. Unlike their alternative ’60s diver, the Sea Lord, the Benrus Ultra-Deep bring a little more quirk to the table while losing none of the diving capability, and is sure to be a hit among the smaller-wristed dive watch aficionados.
Benrus Ultra-Deep pricing and availability
Pre-orders for the Benrus Ultra-Deep are now open, and available directly from the Benrus online shop. Delivery is currently expected to begin in early October 2023. Price: US$1,095
|Model||Ultra-Deep Model UD-SA-BK-SS|
|Case Dimensions||36.5mm (D) x 13.8mm (T) x 41.5mm (LTL)|
|Case Material||Stainless steel|
|Water Resistance||20ATM (660ft)|
|Strap||Jubilee-style stainless steel bracelet, nylon NATO-style dive strap|
|Movement||Soprod P024, automatic|
|Power Reserve||38 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, seconds, date|