In my personal, hands-on Benrus Orbit Robot Skindiver watch review I put this classic replica to the test to see if it makes the cut as one of my favourite dive watches!
Welcome to our deep dive into the Benrus Orbit Robot Skindiver watch, a remarkable timepiece that beautifully combines history, style, and functionality.
Crafted by the renowned Benrus brand, this watch showcases the Skindiver style’s best features while standing out in the crowded field of diving watches.
In this comprehensive review, I’ll explore the watch’s key features, delve into the rich history of the brand and Skindiver style, and understand why it’s such a coveted piece among diving watch enthusiasts.
So, whether you’re a seasoned collector or a curious newbie, strap in as I submerge into the world of the Benrus Orbit Skindiver.
The Benrus brand has been around for over 100 years, and has created a loyal following of watch fans ever since.
Started in New York City way back in 1921, Benrus came to life thanks to Benjamin Lazrus and his two brothers, who set up a small watch repair shop.
Little did they know, this modest venture would evolve into the iconic watch brand we know as Benrus. The name is a creative mash-up of the founder’s name.
From fixing watches to making their own with parts from Switzerland, Benrus started to make its mark early in the company’s history.
After a brief hiatus during World War II, when the founders put their skills to work creating timing systems for bombs, the company kicked off again post-war dropping some seriously cool watches like the Sky Chief and the Dial-a-Rama.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Japanese watches flooded the market in the 70s, and Benrus took a hit, having to file for bankruptcy twice.
But like a phoenix, they rose from the ashes, got bought out, and made a big comeback in the 80s and 90s, selling their watches in major retailers like Walmart and Sears.
Through all the ups and downs, Benrus has stayed afloat in the fickle world of watchmaking and has bounced back as one of the most-loved watch brands amongst collectors today. Now that’s resilience for you!
The Skindiver style of watches rose to prominence in the mid-20th century, as skin diving became a fashionable pastime after the second World War.
During this time, renowned watch brands like Longines stepped into the spotlight, creating iconic models such as the Nautilus Skin Diver.
What set Skindiver watches apart was their slimmer, smaller cases. These were less water-resistant than professional dive watches, yet they carried a distinctive charm, making them suitable as dress watches or for casual wear.
This versatility was a boon for smaller watch companies that lacked the resources to manufacture professional dive watches.
The Skindiver watch trend held sway from the 1950s to the 1970s, appealing to both diving enthusiasts and those who wanted a stylish, functional timepiece on land.
However, as the era of quartz watches dawned, the Skindiver style faded.
Today, we see a revival in the popularity of vintage Skindiver watches. Modern versions draw inspiration from their vintage counterparts while incorporating innovative materials and functions for enhanced durability and underwater resistance.
Benrus has stuck to their values and continued to create these timeless, beautiful watches.
The Benrus Orbit Robot Skindiver watch, first launched in 1972, is a great example of how style and practicality can come together.
This older model is not commonly found, so to find an original is quite special. Luckily for us Benrus has delivered a new version of the classic for us to enjoy.
What’s interesting is that the reissued version of the watch holds true to the original design and dimensions but comes with the added benefits of modern materials.
The Orbit Robot Skindiver’s design is a nod to the past of its original grey watch model, with its 41mm stainless steel ‘UFO’ cushion case and matching bracelet.
This type of case is often referred to as a ‘cushion’ case because its shape is reminiscent of a cushion or pillow.
The watch has a distinctive grey fumé dial which gives it a unique look. The dial starts as a light grey metallic in the centre and gets darker as you move towards the edges, and it’s topped off with orange and white hands.
Essentially you’re getting yourself a vintage-style watch with the same design as a classic but with improved performance and maximum versatility.
In terms of features, the watch has a Soprod P024 Swiss movement. Soprod is a Swiss manufacturer known for making reliable and high-quality watch movements, which are the internal mechanisms that power a watch.
It has a domed sapphire crystal that’s durable and scratch-resistant, and glow-in-the-dark hour indices and hands thanks to the BGW9 Super-LumiNova coating.
The brushed stainless steel bezel is stunning, and has a glow-in-the-dark triangle at the 12 o’clock position. With its screw-down crown, the watch is water-resistant up to 200 meters (20ATM).
And for those who like to switch up their watch straps, the inner lug size has been increased to fit 20mm straps without changing the overall size of the watch.
The back of the watch has a fun design featuring a robot orbiting the Earth, which is a play on the watch’s name.
Here are a few of the features of the watch:
As a diving watch, the Benrus Orbit Robot has several features that makes it a solid choice for those who want to have a gorgeous timepiece on their wrist when hitting the water.
Important note – This is a dive watch, not a dive computer. It will not tell you things like depth, decompression sickness, dive profile, etc. It simply tells the time.
With a water resistance of up to 200 meters (20ATM), it will handle all recreational diving activities, seeing as our maximum depths are 40m.
If you’re a commercial or tec diver you’ll need to source watches with higher water resistance ratings.
READ MORE: Check out our full list of the best snorkel gear on the market!
The use of BGW9 Super-LumiNova on the hour indices and hands enhances visibility in low light conditions, which is a crucial feature for us divers.
The orange and white hands also provide a good contrast against the gray fumé dial, making it easier to read the time underwater.
The stainless steel friction fit bezel with a lumed 12 o’clock triangle is a common feature in dive watches.
he bezel is used to track elapsed time, which is critical for divers to monitor their air supply.
The domed sapphire crystal and stainless steel case are robust materials that can withstand the pressure changes and potential knocks or scrapes that might occur while diving.
The increased lug size that accommodates 20mm straps allows divers to easily switch between metal bracelets and other types of straps, such as rubber or nylon, which might be more suitable for underwater use.
So as you can see it ticks all the boxes for what you need for a fantastic dive watch.
It’s also worth mentioning that while the watch is designed with diving in mind, its vintage-inspired aesthetic and stylish design cues also make it suitable for everyday wear.
The Benrus Orbit Robot Skindiver stands out from other dive watches for several reasons:
All these elements combined create a watch that not only serves the functional needs of a diver but also meets the aesthetic and emotional needs of a watch enthusiast.
As someone who has always been more accustomed to modern technology, I found myself stepping into a different era when I first strapped the Benrus Orbit Skindiver on my wrist.
In fact, I don’t think I’ve personally worn a normal watch since I was in high school.
It’s my first experience with a dive-specific watch that isn’t a digital dive computer, and I must admit, I was a bit skeptical at first.
Yet, the moment I felt the cold stainless steel against my skin and saw the luminescent hands shining in low light, I was instantly captivated.
Underwater, the watch performed seamlessly. The clarity of the indices, the reliability of the 20ATM water resistance, and the surety of the screw-down crown made for an unexpectedly smooth swim.
I only had the chance to take it snorkelling around my island, so haven’t personally tested its dive capabilities yet (I will update this Benrus Orbit Robot Skindiver watch review when I do), but so far it hasn’t missed a beat.
Out of the water, the Orbit Skindiver transformed from a dependable dive partner to a stylish accessory.
Its unique ‘UFO’ cushion case and grey fumé dial added an unexpected sophistication to my usually casual outfits.
It was a refreshing change to wear such a stylish piece to a few dinner parties, rather than my usual smartwatch.
In fact I even had a few friends comment on the watch and ask me questions about it!
The watch’s vintage-inspired aesthetics and the story of its heritage sparked many interesting conversations.
It was not only a tool that served my diving needs, but also a conversation starter, a piece of wearable history with modern day materials.
I’m looking forward to being able to take this freediving or scuba diving soon, and to take it out for a proper formal event.
The Benrus Orbit Skindiver is truly a masterpiece that blends vintage aesthetics with modern functionality.
Its stunning design, coupled with a robust build and superior dive capabilities, makes it a worthy companion both underwater and at social events.
As someone who has never really worn stylish watches before, I honestly fell in love with it, and can see myself becoming a bit of a watch collector.
If I could change one thing, it would be that the watch face seemed slightly small to me compared to the overall dimensions.
But that could also just be because I’m used to wearing a giant Garmin running watch on my wrist.
Whether you’re a professional diver, a watch enthusiast, or someone who appreciates timeless style, the Orbit Skindiver is a remarkable piece that embodies the rich history of Benrus and the adventurous spirit of the Skindiver style.
A must-have addition to any watch collection.
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In my hands-on Benrus Orbit Robot Skindiver watch review I put this classic to the test to see if it makes the cut as one of my favourite dive watches!