Grieb & Benzinger Pharos Centurion Imperial Watch

By Harlan Chapman-Green

Black is the new palladium. It’s also the new diamond. In Grieb & Benzinger’s case black is also the new black. You get the idea of this watch. It goes with the theme set by watches such as the Omega Speedmaster Dark Side of the Moon, which is that a watch can be stylish and blend perfectly with the night sky.

Grieb & Benzinger started back in 1890 using movements from Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe and many other high-end companies, in fact, they still do today. The Pharos Centurion Imperial, which I’m simply going to refer to as the Imperial, uses a manually wound which has an anchor plate for the movement that’s been skeletonized and then made, you guessed it, black.

Grieb & Benzinger Pharos Centurion Imperial

Earlier in my jokey introduction paragraph I mentioned that black is the new colour for diamonds. Grieb & Benzinger is leading the charge here but I must feel that they’ve missed the point a little. It’s great to see new innovations like this and it projects the market in years to come for sure. But diamonds are some of the most lustrous and sought after objects on the planet. This is because the way they’re specifically cut means they reflect the most amount of light that falls onto them as possible, giving them that wonderful sparkle. That sparkle is why they’re so very expensive, depending on their carat rating and how much work has gone into them. Making them effectively invisible loses the value that’s gone into them in the first place. Until I read the press information sheet I was unaware that there were diamonds anywhere because they look like the metal bezel had some decorative lines cut in it.

This stealth approach is very cool, however. It sneaks up on it’s opponents and assassinates them silently before slinking back into the night. Or something like that, we’re not sure. We do know that these are very rare indeed and are expensive, being well into the $150,000s mark in price. For more info, please visit

Technical details

Blackened manually wound movement, three-quarter plate fully skeletonized, guilloché and engraved by hand. Solid, completely blackened PD950 palladium case, 43 mm in diameter, black alligator-skin strap, bezel set with 66 black Princess-cut diamonds.


Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor

First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.