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The BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange is probably one of the sportiest models that exceptional watchmaker Jochen Benzinger currently has in his program. These are the highlights of the masterpiece in black with orange accents.
Brand new but clearly BENZINGER: the Subscription Black Orange
I would not have thought that a BENZINGER could look SO sporty. So far, I have tested three watches from the Pforzheim based watchmaker Jochen Benzinger for you. The BENZINGER Frosted Barley, the BENZINGER Subscription IV Silver Blue and the BENZINGER Regulateur BlueBlack DLC were all very high quality watches. Still, it always surprises me when a watch brand creates something new while still remaining true to its own values. That’s how you could sum up what BENZINGER has done here with its Subscription Black Orange. Indeed, the approach is sportier and more technical than that of its predecessors I have tested.
Why a wristwatch of BENZINGER can instantly be recognized as such is no question. The timepieces are too unconventional and unusual, immediately catching the eye with their hand-skeletonized and hand-guilloched design. Still, it’s amazing how much impact a different color has to give a model a completely different character. The BENZINGER Subscription IV Silver Blue is basically a sister model. Both watches follow the principle of a subscription. For those who have never heard of this term before: the hour and minute indices are offset on the dial. They are read separately to the seconds. The proportions and arrangements of the individual indices are also the same.
What makes the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange so special?
But that’s it. The BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange is clearly the more extreme watch. At the points of the dial where the Silver Blue could present a hand-guilloched ray-cut pattern in a calm blue tone, I look at the skeletonized interior of the Black Orange now and marvel. The dark-toned and shimmering gears with their playful patterns, the rhodium-plated movement bridges and the pure screws give the impression that the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange is a high-tech gadget to be worn on the wrist.
Playful Roman numerals in blue have given way to straight orange Arabic numerals. The characteristic BENZINGER lettering below 12 is making clear that this is a sporty luxury watch that has not lost its BENZINGER-typical extravagance.
The technical design is described by BENZINGER itself as a “combination between a three-quarter skeleton and a subscription”. But it’s best to find out for ourselves what’s behind the new design. Let me just say in advance: I did not specifically configure the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange. It is identical to the model shown on the homepage. Always keep the following in mind: You can buy this watch as it is, but you don’t have to. There are practically no limits to your wishes when it comes to the production of a BENZINGER timepiece. However, this also applies to the price. This version of the Black Orange costs 9800 Euro, which makes it a luxury watch. But the real luxury, in my opinion, is the possibility to design this watch as a real unique piece. Not everyone wears something like this on their wrist.
Simple and robust: the case
The case of the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange is in contrast to the exciting interior. The focus is entirely on the guillochéd and skeletonized components of the dial and the back. It is therefore hardly surprising that the case is a dark, plain cylinder made of stainless steel. To give the Black Orange that certain touch, BENZINGER has given the case a DLC coating. DLC (Diamond like Carbon) has not only a design aspect, but also a functional one. Carbon is light and extremely resistant. If you ever graze sharp edges while wearing it, you can be sure that this coating counteracts unsightly scratches. In my opinion, such a protective layer is simply a must have for a sporty watch!
With a diameter of 42 millimeters, BENZINGER’s sportiest subscription has a pleasant size. Thus, it makes quite an impression on the wrist without looking too oversized right away. I like this size very much. The crown is quite flat and inconspicuous compared to the other models. This makes it less annoying on the back of the hand in everyday use. Its fluted design offers a better handling.
A watch with two fronts: the reverse side
What the dial is to the front of the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange, the reverse side is to the other side. To be honest, the Black Orange is one of the few watches that has two front sides. After all, the reverse side of the BENZINGER watch is fully glazed! No, not a “viewing window” with a thick frame or anything like that. The watch glass extends all the way to the edge, revealing the entire inner life of the mechanical watch to the wearer. This has almost less to do with craftsmanship but much more with true art. This BENZINGER watch gives me the WOW effect, even if this is the fourth watch!
The freely visible movement is almost completely skeletonized, which is why you can even look through the watch. The fine craftsmanship only gives a hint of the many countless hours Jochen Benzinger spends on a single wristwatch.
Fully skeletonized: the movement
The movement is a Swiss ETA 6498 hand-wound movement. In Jochen Benzinger’s workshop, it receives its conversion for subscription and finally becomes what we can admire. On the pictures, you can see the main plate, which got a black PDV coating and thus contrasts with the lighter gears and movement bridges. The movement bridges are specially rhodium plated, just like the screw balance. The built-in swan-neck regulation is a fine regulation, which ensures a high accuracy of the watch.
To protect both this movement and the dial on the other side adequately, the watch glass is made of sapphire. This noble material is the most resistant material. If you want to wear the watch during sports activities in nature, there’s no way to avoid it. The sapphire crystal lives up to the other materials of the case in every respect. The workmanship is at the very highest level. It doesn’t really get any better than this. But that’s just BENZINGER.
Orange accents on the dial
Not much dial is left after the extreme skeletonization. What’s still there is extremely beautiful. The hour and minute ring is strongly shifted towards 12 o’clock. Thus, the optical emphasis of the dial is further up than usual. With the seconds, the ring overlaps slightly, which gives the dial more dynamics.
The indices printed on it are orange and contain Arabic numerals. This gives the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange an aggressive look. In this sense, the Black Orange is louder than my previous test watches. The two rings are made of genuine sterling silver. They are hand-guilloched and hand-skeletonized. However, due to the black PDV coating, the silver is not visible.
I really like the Breguet steel hands, which stand out from the rest of the dial with their orange “dots”.
Comfortable and luxurious: the bracelet
The name Black Orange also applies to the bracelet. The black leather strap has an orange stitching that matches the dial. It is made of alligator leather. The inside, on the other hand, is lined with light and very soft leather, which is very pleasant to the skin. The BENZINGER logo is also embossed into the leather. Wearing comfort was exceptionally high during my test days. The lugs are screwed in. When you purchase your Black Orange, you can choose whether you want to order the leather strap with a folding clasp or a pin buckle. My model has an uncomplicated folding clasp.
My conclusion about the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange
It is no doubt that the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange is the one with the sportiest design when compared to its quieter sister models. Of course, the term sporty must be seen in the context of BENZINGER’s claim to build a luxury work of art. No one should seriously expect the Black Orange to be a watch they can swim, hike and dive with. The Black Orange is not built for that. On the other hand, it shows how it is still possible to create such a masterpiece by hand, whose artistic perfection outshines every machine – this time in a sporty look.
The workmanship of the watch is at the highest imaginable level. For every watch lover, the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange should be a dream that is coming true. I do not know any other brand that can portray and embody the enthusiasm for mechanics so well.
The extra plus points are provided by the possibilities of changes in the design, which can be made individually and completely according to the customers’ wishes. All this is reflected in the price, which is not exactly cheap at 9800 Euros. In return, however, you get a timepiece that is literally without equal. Because a watch like the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange cannot be offered even by the big luxury brands in this world.