J W BENSON 'The Ludgate' London. No I.9238
Good silver half-hunter pocket watch, in original box. Large and heavy silver double-back case with gold olivette and bow, the cover with blue enamelled hour chapter, hallmarked London 1920, casemaker JWBLd (Benson). Benson's top Ludgate quality plain watch movement marked 'BEST LONDON MAKE' jewelled to the 3rd. Single-roller lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Perfect signed enamel dial, original blued-steel hands, the hour of correct half-hunter style. 53 mm diameter. Together with original silk and velvet lined makers box.
James Walter Benson 'to H M the Queen' London's biggest and most energetic watchmaking and watch retailing firm of the second half of the 19th and the first half of 20th centuries. Benson's London made watches were marketed under the names 'The Bank,' 'The Ludgate' and 'The Field,' the latter usually denoting their highest quality. However, even within the same model, quality and detailing differs and this watch shows all the signs of being the best, with its Willis quality dial and nicely detailed case work. Benson's were important enough retailers to insist on their own stamp being used when the case was hallmarked, and various different casemakers were employed, including Frederick Thoms. This watch being a perfect example in proving that not all watches bearing the same name are of the same quality!
The watch showing some signs of use, but the bow still tight and the joints not strained in any way, only the top plate showing some minor stains, which is fairly common for electro-gilding of this date. The box showing minor wear to the edges and top. Cleaned and guaranteed.