NICOLE NIELSEN, No 8518, for Sir John BENNETT Ltd, 65 & 64 Cheapside, London


Rare 5-minute repeating watch in wonderful original condition, with beautiful dial.

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Heavy 18ct gold hunter case with snap-on back hallmarked 1876, sponsor's mark AN (Adolphe Nicole). Typical NN three-quarter plate movement, jewelled to the 3rd with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape, their distinctive keyless work with 'greyed' finish at this period, the repeating work mounted under the dial and striking on two polished steel gongs. Double-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Snap-on signed enamel dial in perfect condition, with unusual day and date subsidiaries, and original blued-steel hands, all looking to be a lovely Willis and Hood combination. 53mm diameter and weighing 145 grams, gross.

Sir John Bennett Limited 'Founded in the Reign of George II,' one of the leading London retailers in the second half of the 19th century, Bennett himself being one of London's most colourful characters - see his portrait by Spy, done for the magazine Vanity Fair, copies of which are usually available on my website.

Nicole Nielsen & Co, the leading manufactures of top class English watches during the second half of the 19th century, suppliers to Messrs Dent, Frodsham, S Smith & Son, Sir John Bennett and many other retailers. They proudly claimed to be able to supply any form of watch design as requested, this particular example being a most unusual and practical variation.

Case joints and bow still tight and the covers without previous engraving or monogram, the whole watch showing almost no signs of use. As crisp and wearable a repeater as I have handled, and in a fine gold case that I have not had polished, and which retains its patina. A lovely watch, and a rare example of a 5-minute repeater. Serviced and guaranteed.