ROTHERHAMS No 355867, for J W BENSON, London


Rare all-English wristwatch with lovely enamel dial.

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3-piece 9ct gold case of Rotherhams rare 'Octagon' design, with snap-on back and bezel and fixed 'wire' lugs, hallmarked Birmingham 1923, casemaker R&S (Rotherham & Son). Rotherhams smaller sized three quarter-plate movement, with cap jewels on balance and escape. St-line, club-tooth detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Enamel dial with red 12 in perfect condition, blued-steel hands. 29 mm across 'points', not including lugs or button.

James Walter Benson, 62 & 64 Ludgate Hill, one of London's premier retailers of good and top quality watches from before the 1880’s, and makers of their own wristwatches from 1910. They also continued to retail Rotherhams work as well as Swiss made watches.

Rotherham & Son, suppliers of most of the good quality wristwatch movements found in English work. They produced two sizes of movement used in their wristwatches, in two basic qualities, both jewelled to the 3rd (17-jewels). They were expensive when sold and survivors of these all-English made wristwatches are now very rare. NB: Both the lager and smaller sized movements were sold as 'gentleman's wristlet watches,' as can be seen in the page I have reproduced from Rotherham's 1926 catalogue, this octagon model with A Grade movement in 9ct case costing £18/5/-. The firm also produced wristlet watches for women but these cases do not have wire lugs for leather straps, though I am sure that many women will have worn them as, evening wear watches apart, Rotherham's standard designs would be better thought of as unisex.

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.

The button has been replaced at some point otherwise a rare English wristwatch retailed by this interesting London firm and unusual for the dial surviving in such perfect condition - very few have. On pre-worn vintage open-ended black leather strap that is still more than serviceable.  Serviced and guaranteed.