J W BENSON ‘The Field’ London. No I.8973


Gold mounted silver half-hunter pocket watch, in maker's box.

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Large engine-turned silver double-back case with gold furniture, the cover with blue enamelled hour chapter, hallmarked London 1920, sponsor's mark JWBLd (Benson). Benson’s top quality plain watch movement THE FIELD also marked ‘BEST LONDON MAKE’ jewelled to the 3rd. Single-roller lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial in prefect condition, original blued-steel hands, the hour of correct half-hunter style. 53.5 mm diameter. Together with Benson silk and velvet lined box.

James Walter Benson ‘by Warrant to H M the Queen,’ London’s largest 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 of the period, 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.

The watch showing some light wear to the engine-turning and the button lacking its gold shell, but the bow still tight and the joints unstrained in any way - finding a replacement button should be possible. The plates showing some minor discolouration, which is common for electro-gilding of this immediate post-war period, and the box also showing some minor wear. Serviced and guaranteed.