SMITHS, Batch No 609, for J W BENSON. The 'Ludgate'


Stylish all-English watch, complete with Benson box.

More details

3-piece 9ct gold case hallmarked Birmingham 1960, casemaker ALD (Dennison). Smiths classic 12.15 gilded movement, uprated to 12.16 for Benson, with an extra jewel on the centre arbor. Double-roller detached lever escapement with steel escape, the monometallic balance with 'Chronovar' non-magnetic compensating balance-spring. Lovely silvered dial with tower clock-type raised gilt skeleton chapter ring, matching gilt hands. 31.5 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. Together with retailers velvet lined clam-shell box.

James Walter Benson Ltd, then at 25 Old Bond Street, one of London’s premier retailers of good and top quality watches from before the 1880’s. Benson’s catalogue of circa 1952 gives a price of £25 for this 'Ludgate' model, with "polished escape wheel, improved winding mechanism and Factory tested" - Benson was the leading English retailer of Smiths watches for which Smiths supplied some unique designs. For more information about English wristwatches see the short note in my website Glossary, and my illustrated article on ‘English Wristwatches’ in the April 2000 issue of Antique Collecting. 

NB: This case style is not waterproof and all English wristwatches of this date are best kept well away from damp conditions.

All in very good original condition, especially the dial, the case back with still crisp presentation inscription, from Carr & Co Ltd to Thomas A Martin. On contemporary new/old stock brown leather strap with a most unusual and effective way of holding the free end when in wear - instead of sliding rings. Not cleaned by me (and priced accordingly), but winds and appears to be working well.