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The BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine is the latest model among the subscriptions that watchmaker Jochen Benzinger artfully handcrafts in his workshop. In addition to the hand-skeletonized BENZINGER-typical design, it is the gray-green color scheme that catches the eye…
Fresh green tones for the Subscription
Jochen Benzinger’s subscriptions are among the most popular models of the watchmaker, who is known for his hand-skeletonized and guilloché masterpieces. A subscription is characterized by the fact that there is not one large dial as usual, but two smaller ones. On one you read the hour and minute, on the other the seconds. Accordingly, the movement has to be modified during production. On BENZINGER’s subscriptions, the main dial with hour and minute is shifted towards 12 o’clock. It thus makes room for the seconds, which can consequently be found above 6 o’clock.
Within the collection, I was already allowed to test the BENZINGER Subscription Black Orange and the BENZINGER Subscription IV Silver Blue for you. And although both belong to the same collection, they couldn’t be more different. While the Silver Blue stands out with its classic, dignified appearance, the Black Orange is probably the sportiest BENZINGER of all, if you leave out the unique pieces. Nevertheless, both models bear Jochen Benzinger’s signature.
This also applies to the latest model in the collection. The BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine is the latest model variant and combines for the first time gray with fresh green tones, which decorate indices, hands and strap seams. In the test I would like to tell you my impressions of the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine and its differences to the sister models!
The first impression
“Another little reinvention” is what I must think when I hold the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine in my hands for the first time. Although the collection has now grown to a considerable number of model variants, Jochen Benzinger manages to create characteristically completely different watches with new colors.
If the Silver Blue is the classic, noble representative and the Black Orange is the sporty edition within the Subscription collection, then BENZINGER has definitely chosen a good middle ground with the Subscription IV Open Grey Engine, even if it looks more like the Black Orange at first glance. As with its sister model, the dial here is radically skeletonized, giving the wearer a stunning view of the watch’s interior. BENZINGER also uses Arabic numerals, which shine in a fresh green on a rhodium-coated background now. As already known from other models, the caseback is also exceedingly open-hearted and presents the artfully guilloché gears, bridges and the main plate. The masterpiece is rounded off by a black alligator leather strap, whose green stitching echoes the new color scheme.
The BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine on the wrist
And how does thies timepiece look on the wrist? It should be said here that the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine is also a special timepiece that attracts attention without exception. A hand-skeletonized and guilloché wristwatch is something unique. So if you want to stand out from the crowd at this point and not wear a ready made luxury watch, you should read on carefully!
A steeled case
Jochen Benzinger’s cases are in contrast to the otherwise playful components of the watch. For example, the case of the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine is basically a cylinder 42 millimeters in diameter with beveled edges on the top of the watch. It has been made of robust stainless steel in the production in Pforzheim, Germany. The surfaces are partly satin, partly polished, which gives the case variety and plasticity. Without a curved transition, the lugs join.
On both the front and the back, BENZINGER installs robust and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which is not curved, but subordinates itself to the strict cylindrical shape of the case. BENZINGER has dispensed with the dark DLC coating that the Black Orange wears. Because the watch is not designed for sportiness, it makes sense at this point.
Compared to its dark sister model, the crown is much more filigree, which can be seen in the finer fluting of the sides. The cross-section of the crown roughly describes a hexagon. In my opinion, the operability was pleasantly simple all the time. It should be said that the crown of the Open Grey Engine performs comparatively few tasks.
The view into the Open Grey Engine
If you now take the watch off and turn it over, you can look with amazement at the „open grey engine”, the fully skeletonized movement, which works inside the artistic timepiece. For those of you like me, who love and want to witness the fascinating mechanics, the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine will be THE marvel of watchmaking art.
As with its sister models, BEZINGER uses an ETA-6498 hand-wound movement as the basis for the movement, which regularly boasts a power reserve of 46 hours. In Jochen Benzinger’s workshop, however, it is elaborately converted to be used as a subscription in the watch. In a precision work that takes many hours, the hand-wound movement is also skeletonized to such an extent that you can see right down to the main plate. The movement bridges are also artfully guilloched and bear the familiar pattern reminiscent of ears of grain. The amazing impression is rounded off by the flame-blued screws, which set accents.
All that remains of the caseback itself is a thin case frame with clean engravings, which is why the focus is always on the inner workings. In my opinion, Jochen Benzinger manages it best with this design to show the old craft and to arouse enthusiasm for the almost forgotten guilloché technique.
The dial actually consists of only two rings, the upper larger one indicating the minute and hour, the lower smaller one the second. Due to the difference in size of the two rings, the visual focus of the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine is rather shifted towards 12 o’clock. The material here is genuine hand-guilloched and hand-skeletonized sterling silver, coated with gray rhodium to visually match the main plate, which you can also see from the preview page.
The Breguet steel hands offer enhanced legibility with their green dots at the ends and match well with the Arabic numerals.
The bracelet – hand-stitched and made of alligator leather.
A timepiece that is already more of a masterpiece than a watch needs a bracelet to match. That of the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine is a black alligator leather strap and, according to BENZINGER, hand-stitched. On the upper side it is shiny and finished with green stitching, on the underside it impresses with a light and very soft leather, which promises particularly pleasant wearing comfort. This was proven true in the course of my test days.
The clasp offers a special feature. A buckle would have been common in the industry, but it would damage the leather over time. Therefore, BENZINGER has opted for a folding clasp made of stainless steel, which ensures a secure hold and is well made.
My conclusion about the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine
BENZINGER has succeeded in expanding the Subscription collection with another masterpiece, which once again scores with the typical values of the manufacturer and brings a breath of fresh air to the series with a new color combination of green and gray. Jochen Benzinger succeeds in creating a design that is more dynamic and playful than the Silver Blue and yet more elegant than the Black Orange. In terms of craftsmanship, there is – and this is no surprise – nothing to criticize about the BENZINGER Subscription IV Open Grey Engine. Both the choice of materials and the workmanship are on a level that can clearly be placed in the luxury segment.
Another advantage of BENZINGER is that you can have the Subscription IV Open Grey Engine manufactured according to your wishes. Thus, the already extraordinary watch becomes a real one-of-a-kind.
The price of the watch is 9800,- Euro and therefore on the same level as its sister models.