BRIEF HISTORY OF BENRUS, SOVEREIGN AND BELFORTE WATCHES Although the company went out of business in 1977, large numbers of their well made and dependable fine Benrus watches are available as vintage collectors’ items. Way back in 1921 three brothers called Oscar, Ralph and Benjamin Lazrus founded the Benrus Watch Company. History doesn’t tell us why Benjamin was the brothers’ name that was chosen but the company name, Benrus, is a combination of the first syllable of his name and the second syllable of their family name. Benrus watches is sometimes mistaken for a Swiss watch making company because early in its history the American owned and operated company leased one floor of factory space from a Swiss owned watch making company that was located in La Chaux de Fonds in Switzerland. Their reason for doing this was to help to circumvent the draconian regulations against the use of Swiss watch movements in foreign time pieces. The earliest models of Benrus watches featured precision movements made by the Schild Company, a well known and established Swiss watch maker. The first watch casings from the Benrus Watch Company are not marked with their brand name due to the Swiss regulations discussed previously. In the decade of the 1930’s the innovative and creative styling of Benrus watches started to attract quite a following. Their chic designs featured such innovations as cushion watches and rectangular shaped watch casings. It was during this period of time that the Benrus Watch Company first became well known to the American consumer market. The company continued to be known as a leader in style and design in the watch making industry. During the 1940’s they made a range of fine time pieces that are avidly sought after by vintage watch collectors today. Perhaps the most famous of these was the manually winding calendar watch.