Delrin, the first commercial acetal homopolymer, was developed by the Dupont company and officially debuted in 1960. Dupont describes the material as bridging the gap between metals and ordinary plastics with a unique combination of creep resistance, strength, stiffness, hardness, dimensional stability, toughness, fatigue resistance, solvent and fuel resistance, abrasion resistance, low wear and low friction. The material is not well known outside of manufacturing and maker circles (it has been featured on Adam Savage’s Tested) but it has been utilized in the watch world from time to time. The most obvious is in examples like this Sovereign Sea Diver which were also produced and marketed by Benrus and Belforte. The other place that Delrin shows up in the watch world is in the brake component of the Omega Cal. 861 produced since the mid 80s. There is a little twist to this though. Omega only uses the delrin component on watches with non-sapphire case backs to preserve the “optical aspect” of the movement even though the Delrin part has a longer service life.
Sovereign is an alternate name used by the Benrus brand from the late 1970s from until the mid 80’s. To be frank, Benrus was going through a rough patch having filed for bankruptcy in 77 which forced ownership changes and things would continue to go downhill for the brand in the coming years. As a reminder, Benrus’s story mirrors that of Bulova, which can be extremely confusing. Both started by immigrants to the US that saw a need in their home marketplace for Swiss-made watches and, later in the 1930s, oddly marketed around Charles Lindbergh using their products. For Benrus, three Romanian brothers founded the company and named it Benrus for one of the brothers, Benjamin Lazrus—maybe because Benrus worked better than Oscrus or Ralrus for Oscar and Ralph the other brothers. That was in 1921. So the story goes, Ben, Oscar, and Ralph saw a shift in American taste towards wristwatches and jumped at the opportunity to provide this growing market with a Swiss-made product at an easy to swallow price. A movement manufacturing facility was opened in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland, known as “watch valley,” then case production and assembly took place on US soil.
The 36.5mm black Delrin case is in great condition. As mentioned above, Delrin is an extremely light and durable synthetic material and the deep black color hides any small scratches well. The bezel is aluminum and is also in great condition as is the acrylic crystal. Interestingly the crown is a plated brass not in black and an original advertisement from the period shows this to be correct.
The Dial and Hands
The dial and hands are in excellent condition with no major flaws to note. The neon hued lume is in great condition and is all present. True to Sovereign being another name for Benrus, the dial shows the classic 666ft of the Benrus devil divers which we love.
This watch features a manually wound 17 jewel Sovereign movement. The watch is running and the service history is unknown.
|Location||New York City|
|Movement||Manual, 17 Jewel|
|Band Material||Rubber Strap|