J W BENSON 'By Warrant to H M the late Queen Victoria' 25 Old Bond St, London. No 4254


Best quality slim gold hunter pocket watch in original box, with matching chain if wanted.

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Heavy double-back 18ct gold case with 5-knuckle joints, swivel bow and the most stylish shape of olivette, hallmarked London 1902, casemaker FT (Frederick Thoms). Three-quarter plate keyless going-barrel movement, almost certainly supplied by Nicole Nielsen, jewelled to the centre with cap jewels on balance (diamond), lever and escape. Single-roller detached lever escapement, the lever of tuning-fork shape, as associated with best London work of the period. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Perfect off-white enamel dial, original blued-steel hands. 52 mm diameter and only 10.5 mm deep. Together with Benson silk and blue velvet lined box.

James Walter Benson, 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. This is not one of their own make (Field, Bank, Ludgate) and is obviously a special order for which they bought in the best work. The quality and finish suggest Nicole Nielsen, and this watch is a perfect example in proving that not all watches bearing the same name are of the same quality.

At this period certain London makers (Jump. etc) were offering slim very well made watches, a precursor to the 'dress watches' of twenty years later. If you like your watches thinner and less cumbersome, then this is perfect for waistcoat and top pocket wear. NB: I have shown this watch with what I consider a perfect match of size and colour pocket-to pocket gold chain weighing 40 grams. Please enquire if interested - it is not included in the price.

The covers, both with the same Thoms stamp, are hallmarked two years apart, 1902 and 1904, indicating a delay in production, as sometimes happened, and the dome with later presentation engraving, which could be invisibly filled if required. Otherwise, the watch showing few signs of use, the bow still tight and the covers unstrained in any way, and feeling so wonderful in the hand, as the best English watches often do. The box also shows none of the usual wear. Cleaned and guaranteed.