NICOLE NIELSEN, No 8563, for Sir John BENNETT Ltd, London


Beautiful half-quarter repeating chronograph, in outstanding condition.

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Slim but heavy 18ct gold hunter case with snap-on back, the central chronograph seconds hand started, stopped and zeroed by pushing on the button at 12, the repeat work operated by a slide at 6, hallmarked 1885, sponsor's mark AN (Adolphe Nicole). Typical NN three-quarter plate movement with their distinctive keyless work, jewelled to the 3rd with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape, the chronograph and repeating work mounted under the dial. Double-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Lovely off-white signed enamel dial with minute counter at 12, complete with the full set of original blued-steel hands, no doubt a combination of WILLIS and HOOD. 53mm diameter and weighing just over 140 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 beautiful (my images do not do it justice) and practical variation, and is unique as far as I am aware.

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 unusual repeating chronograph in a fine gold case that I have not had polished and which retains its patina. A lovely watch. Serviced and guaranteed.