NICOLE NIELSEN, No 7399, for Sir John BENNETT Ltd, London


Fine gold chronograph with regulator-style dial of unique layout.

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Heavy 18ct gold case with engine-turned snap-on back hallmarked 1873, 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 chronograph work mounted under the dial. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Beautiful signed enamel dial with separate dials for hours, minutes, seconds and the date, with central chronograph seconds hand started, stopped and zeroed by pushing on the pendant, complete with the full set of original blued-steel hands. 50mm diameter and weighing just over 100 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, with shops at 65 Cheapside and 105 Regent Street at this time. Bennett was 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, and is unique as far as I am aware.

Short hair cracks into the edges of the multi-drilled dial, as usual, otherwise the case snaps and bow still very tight and the covers without previous engraving or monogram, the whole watch showing almost no signs of use. A crisp, wearable and most unusual chronograph, in a fine gold case that I have not had polished and which retains its patina. A lovely watch. Serviced and guaranteed.