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The BENZINGER Black Lizard is a custom-built watch from Jochen Benzinger’s workshop. The unique piece costs 21.900,- Euro, which is as much as a well equipped small car. If a timepiece deserves the title ‘luxury watch’, then it is the Black Lizard, isn’t it?

The most expensive watch in the history of WATCHDAVID®.

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

In the last reviews, I introduced you to series watches by the exceptional German watchmaker Jochen Benzinger. Masterpieces like the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orangeor the BENZINGER Regulateur BlueBlack DLC are exemplary for their respective collections, which inspire their wearers with highest craftsmanship and a unique design. The prices are usually around 10.000,- Euro. However, these series are not the only mainstay of Jochen Benzinger. Anyone who has read our interview, knows that the man from Pforzheim also makes one-of-a-kind pieces that meet the individual wishes of customers and are built in consultation with them. There are hardly any limits to creativity, effort and expensive materials – well, except for the size of your wallet. 

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

Today I would like to introduce one of these unique pieces to you. In this review, the BENZINGER Black Lizard will show what is possible at a price of just under 22.000,- Euro. Of course, a luxury watch with a five-digit price cannot be conventionally tested for good and bad features. It goes without saying that just everything, from the choice of materials to the workmanship, should be “perfect”. In the end, the only question is whether the design corresponds to your personal taste and you would be willing to pay such a sum. So today I would like to show you what Jochen Benzinger is capable of using historical techniques and his old craft.

My first impression

The BENZINGER Black Lizard makes a special impression on me. At first glance, it looks like an old historical timepiece that could have come from a forgotten time. However, then it should have been treated with immense care. The timepiece shines in perfect splendor. That’s no surprise, after all. The piece is brand new. Due to its special design with a lot of rose gold, an unobstructed view of the inner mechanics and Roman numerals on the top dial, the BENZINGER Black Lizard differs significantly from pretty much everything else known from the watch market. Except for the other BENZINGER watches, perhaps, because it looks quite similar to them. This is Jochen Benzinger’s unmistakable signature. A style of his own, which clearly sets his watches apart from other competitors in the luxury segment.

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

In its basic features, the BENZINGER Black Lizard is also a subscription, which means that the minute and second are read on the upper dial ring, while the second is read on the lower ring. However, its most striking detail is what makes it so unique. Because instead of a fully skeletonized and hand-guillochéd lower dial made of Sterling silver, as we know it usually, the BENZINGER Black Lizard features genuine black lizard leather, to which it owes its name. Indeed, more than extraordinary…

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The BENZINGER Black Lizard on the wrist

With the BENZINGER Black Lizard on your wrist, you stand out, that should come as no surprise. Such a special watch stands out from the crowd, and quite positively so. Whoever wears the Black Lizard embodies style consciousness, elegance, but also uniqueness and timelessness. The owner of the watch is not concerned with the fact that the luxury timepiece on his wrist is immediately recognizable as a status symbol. He celebrates much more the perfection of watchmaking art, for which the BENZINGER Black Lizard stands. And he is certainly the only person on this planet who can call this watch his very own.

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

A dream in rose gold – the case

With BENZINGER watches, attention to detail is particularly important. Here you can see most clearly what makes the watches so special. So let’s start with the case. Instead of common stainless steel, 18 carat rose gold awaits us here, which has been hand-manufactured in Pforzheim. The surfaces are satin and polished, which makes the appearance of the Black Lizard much more varied and interesting. The diameter of the case is a familiar 42 millimeters. A perfectly chosen size, in my opinion. You’ll also be familiar with the minimalist cylinder-like shape if you’ve already held a few Benzinger watches in your hands.

On the other hand, the design of the screw-down bezel is new. It is adorned by a hand-guilloched pattern and makes the BENZINGER Black Lizard look even a touch more sophisticated compared to the series models. The dial itself is protected by very hard and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. Its shape has no curvature. Overall, the workmanship of the case components leaves nothing to be desired. Everything is worked out to the smallest detail and lives up to the claim of a real luxury watch. 

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

I particularly liked the screwed-in onion crown, which is also made of rose gold. Its cross-section describes a round shape. The sides are incredibly filigree fluted, which actually makes it quite functional. Well, after all, with the winding crown, you also have to operate the manual winding movement every other day. 

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Case back and movement of the BENZINGER Black Lizard

For the back of the BENZINGER Black Lizard, at least as much sapphire crystal was used as for the front. The edge of the six-fold screwed case back is quite thin. Thus, you have an unrestricted view to the heart of the unique piece, which is why I like the back side of the BENZINGER Black Lizard even more.

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

For the back of the BENZINGER Black Lizard, at least as much sapphire crystal was used as for the front. The edge of the six-fold screwed case back is quite thin. Thus, you have an unrestricted view to the heart of the unique piece, which is why I like the back side of the BENZINGER Black Lizard even more.

Actually, the movement is a Swiss-made ETA-6498 hand-wound movement, which has a power reserve of 46 hours. However, the caliber has little to do with this hand-wound movement from ETA because of the radical conversion. On the technical side, it was rebuilt for subscription in the workshop of Jochen Benzinger. Most visible, however, are the optical changes. The floral patterns, which were hand-skeletonized in minute detail, are striking. I was reminded of Gothic architecture in particular by the outlines. While hand-guillochéd patterns and flame-blued screws set accents, the ratchet and crown wheel with dark blue color scheme add even more variety to the overall look. You won’t find such an artistic redesign anywhere else. 

On the back, thanks to the skeletonization, you can see right down to the main plate, which is hand-guillochéd and therefore features a sun ray pattern. 

The dial

The very idea of using real lizard leather for the dial is ingenious and would have deserved a prize. Diagonally, the black, organic structure stretches across the watch and gives it a special, attention-grabbing look.

Jochen BENZINGER Black Lizard
Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

The dial can thus be divided into two parts. The lower dial with the lizard leather and above it the upper dial, on which the time can be read. The top dial is made of Sterling silver and covered with rose gold, so it perfectly matches the case. It consists of two rings, a larger one below 12 o’clock and a smaller one above 6 o’clock. The minute and hour as well as the seconds are read separately. This is how you can recognize the subscription. While the upper ring features black Roman numerals, the lower ring impresses with its skeletonization and the view into the interior of the case, where gears and movement bridges become visible. This gives the dial an almost three-dimensional appearance. A finishing Breguet thread successfully rounds off the top dial. The fine Breguet steel hands are of course also rose gold-plated.

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Alligator leather for a lizard watch

What could be better than giving a BENZINGER watch called Black Lizard an alligator leather strap… The black leather strap is hand-sewed and has a similar, roughly textured surface on the upper side like the dial. The underside, on the other hand, is velvety soft, beige and feels very comfortable on the skin. You really couldn’t ask for better wearing comfort. The attention to detail is also visible in the leather engravings on the inside. For the clasp, BENZINGER has chosen a pin buckle that echoes the 18-karat rose gold of the case.

Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

My conclusion about the BENZINGER Black Lizard

I almost didn’t think it was possible that there would be a watch that could outshine the watchmaker’s previous models. The BENZINGER Black Lizard has now managed to do that. Compared to the series, the unique piece is once again a touch more luxurious, more artistic, more creative and better finished in all respects.

There is no question that the materials, such as 18-carat rose gold, justify a five-figure price tag. However, for me, that’s not necessarily why the BENZINGER Black Lizard is a luxury watch. For me, true luxury consists of having a unique piece like this one made by Jochen Benzinger, whose design is unique and takes all individual wishes into account. Because this watch is certainly not worn by anyone else…

Photo © 2021 by WATCHDAVID® – All rights reserved

This unique piece has been ordered by special customer request and is already sold. If you would like to order this model, you can choose from other colors of lizard leather.

More about BENZINGER

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All technical details of the BENZINGER Black Lizard

Dial: two-piece

Lower dial: black lizard leather

Upper dial: Sterling silver, rose gold plated, final Breguet thread

Base plate: hand-guilloched ray guilloche, coated with anthracite rhodium

Movement: ETA-6498 hand-wound movement with in-house subscription conversion: hour and minute shifted towards 12 o’clock, hand-skeletonized in floral style, hand-guilloché, flame-blued screws, flame-blued and hand-skeletonized crown and ratchet wheel

Hands: rose gold plated Breguet steel hands

Strap: hand-sewed black alligator leather strap, hand-finished pin buckle in 750/000 18 ct rose gold

Case: 18 kt rose gold case made in Pforzheim, screwed hand-guilloched bezel, onion crown, 42 mm diameter, sapphire crystal on both sides

Price: EUR 21.900,- SINGLE Piece!

Technical Details

NameJochen BENZINGER Black Lizard

Reference numberUnique Piece

BrandBENZINGER

Categoryskeleton watch

Price from21.900,- EUR

Case MaterialRose gold 18 kt

Diameter42.00 mm

Watch GlassSapphire Crystal

Watch TypeAutomatic

Movement NameETA-6498 hand-wound movement with in-house subscription conversion

Power Reserve42 hours

Functionshour / Minute / small second

Dialblack

Bracelet Colorblack

Bracelet Materialleather