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Benarus Worldiver GMT Auto Review

by The Review CrewJuly 18, 2010

A few months ago, we reviewed the Benarus Moray and came away impressed by the style, build, and price. Today we bring you a different type of watch from the same family: the new Benarus Worldiver GMT Auto. The Worldiver is a military style GMT dive watch aimed directly at some of the industry heavy hitters. How does it stack up? Let’s start with the specs:

•45mm Stainless case.
•500m/1,650ft water resistance.
•Sapphire crystal.
•22mm lugs.
•ETA 2893-2 GMT movement.
•15mm thick.
•Choice of blue on black dial, or orange on grey.
•Includes many straps, and an option for a mesh bracelet.
 Given the previous release (and success) of the Worldiver Quartz, this is definitely not Benarus’s first (or even second) attempt at a tool diver. The level of polish on the Worldiver Auto is outstanding; everything fits to an excellent tolerance. The case has a distinct mil-sub shape, sitting 15mm tall on your wrist (which is not bad for a watch that boasts 500m water resistance). While the Worldiver Auto is thin enough to wear with most attire, this is not the first watch I would reach for when wearing a suit. This is, after all, a tool watch.

The screw-down crown is protected by raised crown guards, and the crown itself feels like it is set in concrete with smooth action for setting, winding, and screwing down. The edges of the case are very crisp but not sharp. These are the kinds of details normally seen on well known Swiss brands such as Omega, Breitling, and Tag Heuer. The bezel is a medium flat black with luminous markers and recessed (but unpainted) 24-hour indicies. The action of the bezel is perfectly light and “clicky”; after spending any time with the Worldiver, it’s obvious that is was designed with functionality and accuracy in mind.

The dial design is just that: functional and accurate. The large aviation inspired hands make glancing at the time simple, and the large Italian-style numerals allow for plenty of luminous paint, tying together the tool-diver style with ease. The lume is very bright — probably one of the brightest and longest lasting I have ever used. The bezel is fitted to the dial via a stainless chapter ring, and the blue GMT hand is matched with blue 24-hour markers.

 The Worldiver is powered by the excellent ETA 2893-2 GMT movement. This 21 jewel GMT movement runs at 28,800 vibrations per hour, and has hacking seconds and a date display (seen at 4:30 on the Worldiver Auto). This is a very popular movement for Swiss and German watches and can be found in models from Omega, Breitling, Sinn, and many others. This is the same movement seen in the OCEAN7 G-1 GMT that we recently reviewed, and it is just as accurate in the Benarus, averaging around +4 seconds per day. A GMT complication is a great addition to any watch, and it makes the Worldiver Auto a more practical timepiece, even if you’re not a frequent traveler.

 In typical Benarus fashion, the Worldiver GMT Auto comes well equipped. The review unit came in a green canvas looking pouch that is actually a zippered travel case for up to four watches. Inside the case I found four mounting options: a fantastically soft black leather strap, a very nice Italian rubber strap, a zulu, and a mesh bracelet with oyster style links. The bracelet is optional and adds $100 to the price.

The leather strap is amazing — not too thick, and very soft and comfortable. I wore it that way for about 2 weeks, eventually mounting the Italian rubber strap. The rubber really completes the tool-dive appeal, and is amazingly comfortable (and smells of vanilla). Just the other day, I fitted the watch to the bracelet for some photos and instantly felt that mesh bracelet is the definitive combination. Seeing as I have rather small wrists, I removed all but one of the oyster links and the bracelet fits perfectly. It has a fold-over clasp, and when on your wrist, it makes you feel like you should be in the water with Jacques Cousteau.

The mesh bracelet gives the watch a vintage feel and an old-school diver appeal. If you decide to get the Worldiver, get the bracelet along with the other straps; it is one of the best bracelet of any watch I have reviewed, and most optional bracelets are far more expensive.

The Benarus Worldiver GMT Auto is limited to 50 pieces in the reviewed black dial with blue accents, and 50 more in the alternative gray with orange accents. Either color combo can be ordered with a blasted or brushed finish. The Worldiver Auto sells for $980 (with the bracelet), and Benarus has assembled a well rounded package for that price. Buyers get a beautiful and well made tool dive watch with a bevy of straps and a very nice carrying case. The build quality and movement are on par with far more expensive watches, so as long as you don’t mind wearing a lesser known brand (something that doesn’t bother us in the least), the Worldiver is a very good value. If you are looking for the next step up from entry level automatic divers like the Halios Holotype or Seiko SDBC series, consider the Benarus Worldiver GMT Auto. It won’t let you down.

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The Review Crew
The Review Crew is a group of beat editors, writers, and consultants that have been working together for years. They know just about everything about everything collectively and have published their collective work under the Review Crew brand moniker for almost 20 years.