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Now the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” finally made it into my watch review. The model belongs to Jochen Benzinger’s Classic collection and can confidently be called a true classic among masterpieces. Here, the basic idea of Jochen Benzinger’s work becomes very clear…
The classic among BENZINGER watches
After more unusual timepieces like the BENZINGER Time machine “Coat of Arms”, I may now take a closer look at another watch from Jochen Benzinger’s workshop, which seems to be a bit more ordinary, at least if you apply BENZINGER standards. Compared to common, mass-produced watches, the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is also a wristwatch that stands out at first glance – even among similarly expensive luxury watches.
After all, this is the segment in which we operate. The BENZINGER “Blue Ray” also costs 7.900,- Euro without technical modifications, fancy special requests or similar special features. But why should you put the money into the watch with the artistic and historical design and not into a luxury timepiece of the conventional manufacturers? Find out the answers in this watch review!
My first impression
I have just counted. The BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is the eighth model of the Pforzheim watchmaker, whose work is unique in the world. Nevertheless, this timepiece also manages to thrill me at first sight – with a design that is second to none.
The BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is, like all other wristwatches of the watchmaker, made with old craftsmanship. Through the so-called guilloching by a historical, hand-operated machine, the dial, gears and movement bridges receive their unmistakable patterns. This is how Jochen Benzinger manages to highlight the fascinating mechanics of a wristwatch. The BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is no exception. A glance through the open small seconds at 6 o’clock provides a view of the inner workings of the watch, where the skeletonized gears of the hand-wound movement interlock.
But there is more to discover. The shimmering bluish dial is adorned with a radiant guilloche that draws the eye to the center with the hour and minute hands. A reference to the time from which guilloché comes. The center of the world view at that time was the sovereign. So it is hardly surprising that a large part of the high aristocracy learned the “royal craft”.
The choice of materials can also be called royal, in which Jochen Benzinger obviously did not skimp. While the dial is made of sterling silver and coated with platinum, a hand-sewn alligator leather strap ensures a soft feel. In addition, there is stainless steel and sapphire crystal, but more on that in a moment.
The BENZINGER “Blue Ray” on the wrist
I put on the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” and I immediately think that it would still look impressive even worn upside down (or maybe even because of that). The huge window with a view of the artfully designed movement is a detail that can’t be shown often enough in my watch photography.
Compared to the sporty BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange, the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is rather a more dignified representative from the Pforzheim workshop. The tones of blue platinum and BENZINGER’s well-known “Breguet” frost give the “Blue Ray” calmness, clarity and elegance. This is underlined by the polished stainless steel surfaces. In my opinion, that makes the wristwatch almost a daily rocker among BENZINGER watches. In any case, the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” fits my closet perfectly, whether with sporty casual or more chic outfits. Despite its unusual appearance, the timepiece never stands out negatively, but always classically and elegantly.
The case of the BENZINGER “Blue Ray”
The case diameter of 42 millimeters is already known from the other BENZINGER watches. This value seems to be one of the few constants, because apart from that, the watches do differ in some points. This commonality pleases me personally very much. The size is also ideal on the wrist, as everyone can wear it.
The shape of the case, reminiscent of a flat cylinder, comes without ornamentation, unlike the rest of the watch, so it draws the focus to the front and back of the “Blue Ray”. A combination of satin-finished sides and polished surfaces on the screw-down bezel and case back create a harmonious overall appearance. When it came to the choice of materials, BENZINGER opted for classic stainless steel from Pforzheim, whose workmanship is impeccable. Without exaggerating at this point – it really doesn’t get any better than this.
The highlight of the watch is probably the screwed case back. However, there isn’t much left of the case back. A viewing window extends over almost the entire surface of the back and takes up about as much space as the dial. It shows impressively the inner workings of the BENZINGER “Blue Ray”. With the skeletonization of the individual movement components, Jochen Benzinger has taken it to such an extreme, that you can look through the opening of the small seconds to the other side – impressive!
Both the viewing window and the actual watch crystal at the front are made of sapphire crystal, which is to be expected at this price level.
Equipped with a classic manual winding movement
I wind the movement via the stainless steel crown. Thanks to the fluted sides and the pleasant size of the crown, this is quite simple. The movement itself is the well-known Swiss-made ETA 6498. We already know this from the other models as well, but this should not be a criticism. The BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is not a watch designed for performance. An even higher power reserve, more anti-magnetic components or automatic winding – all these things are alien to the ETA 6498. The hand-wound movement, which was already developed in the 1950s, gets by with a power reserve of 46 hours.
Timeless, charming and out of competition – that’s how it somehow fits to BENZINGER and the “Blue Ray”.
The opening of the dial at the small seconds is at 6 o’clock and seems to be large, just like you know it from BENZINGER’s subscriptions. Nevertheless, the “Blue Ray” is not one of these technical conversions of the manufacturer, since minute and hour are still centrally located in the middle of the dial and not shifted upwards.
Dial and bracelet in detail
Looking at the BENZINGER “Blue Ray”, you can see a two-part dial, consisting of an upper and a lower dial. The lower dial, identified here by its ray guilloche, is made of sterling silver, the surface of which was coated with blue platinum during manufacturing. The upper dial presents itself in the noble “Breguet” frost tone, a trademark of many BENZINGER watches. If you can’t get enough of this, I can recommend the BENZINGER Frosted Barley at this point, for example. Also made of sterling silver, the time is read here using Roman numerals. The blue and white color combination is also found in the open small second. I am amazed every time at how artfully crafted and well thought out the individual components are.
In everyday life, the luxurious BENZINGER “Blue Ray” is worn with a black alligator leather strap, which was sewn by hand and offers a hardly comparable wearing experience. The blue stitching picks up the color of the dial. The strap is not equipped with a simple buckle, but with a folding clasp that ensures a secure fit. On the upper side, the leather strap has a black, smooth structure. The beige underside impresses with its noble leather engravings and is particularly soft.
My conclusion about the BENZINGER “Blue Ray”
You can’t go wrong with a classic, can you? That certainly applies to the BENZINGER “Blue Ray”, which cuts a fine figure throughout. Sure, there are even fancier timepieces from the Pforzheim watchmaker. But the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” knows how to convince with versatility, elegance and sovereignty on the wrist – so much for the optical test impressions.
In terms of craftsmanship (and there are no two opinions), Jochen Benzinger once again delivers a masterpiece that could not be better in terms of quality. This applies to both the materials used and the wristwatch created from them.
The specimen of the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” tested and photographed here is not unique. That means that it was not rebuilt at the special request of a customer. As always with BENZINGER, of course, the same applies here: on special request, the model can be adapted to the customer’s ideas. Another reason why the BENZINGER “Blue Ray” deserves the title “luxury watch”. In this version, the watch costs 7,900 euros.