In the 1940s, watches made by Benrus were flying off the shelves…literally.
And among them, the best-known is this watch: the Sky Chief, perhaps one of the most perfect pilot’s watches ever made. Introduced in 1940, it’s without a doubt the brand’s most famous chronograph. Though it was released in several variations (including triple-date models), it’s the pilot’s version that’s become the most iconic. At first glance, it’s clearly a tool watch, looking much like the chronographs worn by the world’s air forces.
This particular Sky Chief has turned a deep brown color, perhaps due to the design of the watch — square pushers were less effective when preventing humidity from ingressing into the dial. It features a 35mm stainless steel case with long, drilled lugs, while its glossy black face — since turned “tropical” — has gilt Arabic numerals and syringe hands liberally coated with radium. The three chronograph registers are evenly-spaced and easy to read, which is absolutely crucial in a darkened airplane cockpit. Powered by a hand-wound Valjoux movement, this is a classic pilot’s watch through and through.
Though some may balk at the compact size of the watch, it truly wears larger, thanks to the long lugs. For something as versatile as it is practical, the Sky Chief slips easily under a cuff, and looks excellent on any strap one can think to put it on.
Whether you’re a pilot or a frequent flier, this Sky Chief is ready to take to the air.
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