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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

Not sure if this posted in the correct forum, but, as this is a unique, hand-made watch over 8000€ I thought to ask for Your valuable opinions.

I have just recently learned about the german watchmaker Jochen Benzinger and his unique and beautiful watches, Home | Jochen Benzinger Unique Watches. What caught my interest is the outstanding engravings done on the movement, the skeletonizing and the guilloche on the dial. Jochen is the master engraver of Fabergé´s eggs, and has done cooperation with many famous watch brands (IWC, Sattler, Glashutte Original and Chronoswiss to name a few), alongside his side projects with Grieb&Benzinger (Grieb & Benzinger | Home).

Anyways, I have decided to purchase in the end of this year a Benzinger Subscription 3, photo below (taken from the internet). I love the clean looks, slighly different dial layout but not too busy with blued Breguet hands and frosted guilloche dial. The backside can be personalized in many ways, but the standard look is shown below. The case size is 42*11mm, movement is ETA-6498-manual winding movement with in-house modifications done.

Anyone else own Benzinger watches or could give some opinions about the quality of the watches? There is a waiting time of 3 months for his watches.

Cheers,

John
 

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Haven't owned or handled one, but have admired them for a good number of years since first learning of their existence.
I think there's one member's comment on here (if not another forum) where he claimed the finishing wasn't great, a bit rough actually, iirc.
Given the Faberge link, and at least 2 or 3 other brands he has co-branding with, I found that remark to be at odds with expectations. So on that basis, make sure you have a chance to inspect the intended purchase thoroughly and are fully satisfied before parting with the funds.
 

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jef83...Hello. Although I do not know this Brand, I will say that the dial is impressive & eye-catching. As I assume you may realize, the dial is in the style of Breguet, and was used as far back as the late 1700's.

The movement is known as an excellent, robust Swiss creation. Many Brands have & continue to feature it.

Speaking for myself--at the price point we're talking here--I would prefer a movement that is a bit more exclusive, and speaks to a different 'ethos'...in other words, a mechanism that is more than a mass-produced item that has been embellished and cosmetically enhanced. There are many Brands offering watches with movements quite a bit more technically refined than this...but--as always!--'Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder'...!

Than again: if you're attracted to this fine-looking piece because of the twin attributes of dial and Provenance ( here, the person doing the engraving ), then this is the watch for you!

Decisions, decisions...Enjoy! Michael.
 

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Interesting question. This is not a brand that is much discussed or seen. Yet I find them very interesting.
So there is Benzinger, Grieb & Benziger, Jaeger & Benzinger - all taking slightly different approaches to watch decoration. Grieb & Benzinger is the top line - complicated movement, insane finishing, precious metals. Benzinger is more about engraving\guilloche work, and Jaeger & benzinger has some interesting designs without breaking the bank.

Having handled Benzinger and Jaeger & Benzinger my thoughts are:

- Benzinger offers very very impressive hand finished watches at a reasonable price. The decoration on movement is insane. Number of components hand engraved is impressive. The hand engine turned guilloche is outstanding. Finishes hold up to scruitiny even at good magnification. The cases are a bit more basic (although bezel is very well decorated). These watches really should have a reversing mechanism as the caseback is just a work of art

- Jaeger & Benzinger - at a fraction of the price, a lot of great hand work is still there and designs are awesome. Parts of dial, movement plates are engine turned, balance cock hand engraved, some precious materials used in finishing. Some cool techniques applied - like breguet frosting on the dial. Cases are basic, but focus is on dial\movement, not the case

Although finished components stand up well to magnification, these are hand finished watches. So some imperfections can be seen. Whether one views it as adding character or detracting from the overall watch - that's in eye of the beholder. (ex. my J&B dial has Breguet frosting and imperfections can be seen in few spots - I view it as part of hand application, also with painted numerals - same approach)

One other comment - Benzinger wears very large. L2L is big and wrist presence is massive. I'd only recommend for people with 7"+ wrists or who are comfortable w big wathces. Jaeger & Benzinger wears a bit smaller and rather comfy, despite still big 51mm L2L.

Ultimately, I recommend handling one in person and judging for yourself. Easy enough in Germany. Or if in US - just visit a Watchbuys Roadshow

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They are works of art in my view. Seeing as even some of the most venerable makers have historically outsourced their movements, I see no shame in choosing a proven movement as a platform for the level of hand finished artistry that goes into a Benzinger. While no one will recognize the brand of your watch, on the same token, if wearing a Benzinger, no one would ever ask you why you paid what you paid for your watch. I am not sure the same can be said for watches from any number of other brands weighing in at comparable price points.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hi,

Thank You all for the comments. I didn´t know, but apparently they also make 38mm sizes. I asked Jochen directly about the lug-to-lug length: 42mm - 46,5mm, 38mm- 41,5mm. This makes me wonder as I have a 42mm El Primero which has a lug-to-lug closer to 50mm and in photos the 42mm Benzinger looks to be quite big. Attached a photo Jochen sent me with a 42mm and 38mm side by side.
 

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Lugs on 42mm are definitely long. I;m surprised they are quoted at 46,5mm - definitely felt over 50mm to me.
My Jaeger & Benzinger is 42mm case but L2L is 51.5mm, but wears smaller than std Benzinger.

IDK. I have seen Jaeger Benzinger Edition 3 in 38mm - and it felt too small to me (movement looked small via caseback), while 42 is almost too large.

Goldilocks could be 40mm... but that's how it always goes... hard to get that perfect for everyone size.

Is 38mm Benzinger still powered by ETA6498? May be hard to squeeze that into 38mm case...

Anyway, whichever one you go with - best of luck. I expect you won't regret it. Beautiful watches.
Been wearing mine for a month and still catch myself staring at the dial, without even seeing the time
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I find the guillochage quite beautiful. However I don’t feel very enthusiastic about the movement. I can’t shake the pocket watch feeling of the Unitas calibers. Wearing a pocket watch on my wrist has never been an appealing prospect even for finely decorated models.

I might make an exception for the Thomas Ninchritz Vice Versa if i ever got to see one in the flesh, but probably not for Benzinger. Hand finished German watches just aren’t my thing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Hi,

Benzinger confirmed a lug-to-lug length of 50mm for the 42mm, so that´s definitely something I need to think about. The engraving on the backside is more or less the same on the 38mm with a Unitas 6425 -movement, and a 6498 for the 42mm version.

Choices, choices. For 9000usd, there is a lot of alternatives with some really nice decorations as well as inhouse movements to consider.
 

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I love pretty much all squelette / openworked watches, so needless to say I can be a sucker for pointless, frou-frou engravings. That said, I just can't shake the feeling that any watchmaker that spends so much time/effort on engraving (and especially hand-engraving) while still using an outsourced/ETA movement just has the priorities all wrong.

In the end though, all that matters is if you love it.
 

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I wonder what Thomas Prescher would say to that?
I love pretty much all squelette / openwork watches, so needless to say I can be a sucker for pointless, froufrou engravings. That said, I just can't shake the feeling that any watchmaker that spends so much time/effort on engraving (and especially hand-engraving) while still using an outsourced/ETA movement just has the priorities all wrong.

In the end though, all that matters is if you love it.
 

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I love pretty much all squelette / openworked watches, so needless to say I can be a sucker for pointless, frou-frou engravings. That said, I just can't shake the feeling that any watchmaker that spends so much time/effort on engraving (and especially hand-engraving) while still using an outsourced/ETA movement just has the priorities all wrong.

In the end though, all that matters is if you love it.
I guess I would beg to differ. While I love many manufacture movements, if I think critically about why I am taken by them, by and large it is because of the higher degree of visual interest, attention to detail, and hand finishing involved than say stock ETA. Anglage, perlage, gold chatons, geneva stripes, rose engine turned guilloche, hand engraved balance bridges, etc. are the stuff that make many manufacture movements interesting, not their mere manufacture status. While I appreciate that designing a movement requires a large investment in time and resources, even ETA movements once required this investment. To me, the obvious investment of time in rose engine guilloche, hand engraving and movement finishing is more compelling than simply rarity of movement type. For this reason, I would have absolutely no problem plunking down for a Benzinger. The question for me is not whether the Benzinger movement is compelling enough, the question is whether it is more compelling than the best value offered by manufacture movements with a high degree of movement finishing in their own right, i.e. Lange Saxonia Thin, Parmigiani Tonda, RGM, Zeitwinkel, etc.
 

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I take that it your saying that there's a lack of engineering in his watches?
No idea how you would possibly infer that from what I posted.

I guess I would beg to differ. ... The question for me is not whether the Benzinger movement is compelling enough, the question is whether it is more compelling than the best value offered by manufacture movements with a high degree of movement finishing in their own right, i.e. Lange Saxonia Thin, Parmigiani Tonda, RGM, Zeitwinkel, etc.
Based on your last sentence, I don't think we differ at all. My point is precisely that there are watchmakers that do both amazing finishing / engravings and feature excellent in-house movements, and if I'm going to bother paying a premium for a mechanical watch, I'm going to go with those that do both.

In the same way, I wouldn't commission a Thomas Prescher watch without requesting one of his movements.
 
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