Early all-English wristwatch in Benson box, in fine original condition.
3-piece 9ct yellow gold Dennison case hallmarked Birmingham 1955. Smiths 12.15 (12 ligne, 15 jewel) movement, as designed by Rene Lenoir and his team in Cheltenham around 1945/6, upgraded for Benson with added jewel at the centre (12.16). Double-roller detached lever escapement with polished steel escape, the monometallic balance with 'Chronovar' non-magnetic compensating balance-spring. Two-tone silvered 'deco' dial, original blued-steel hands. 31.5 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. Together with velvet lined Benson box.
James Walter Benson, then at 25 Old Bond Street, one of London’s premier retailers of good and top quality watches from before the 1880’s. Benson was the leading English retailer of Smiths watches for which Smiths supplied their better movements and some unique designs. Benson’s catalogue of circa 1958 gives a price of £21/5/- for this 9ct gold 'Ludgate' model. 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.
The Dennison Watch Case Company, set up in Birmingham, England by the great American entrepreneur Aaron L Dennison, who had much to do with the founding of the American Waltham Watch Company. His watch case company became the biggest and most successful English company of its type supplying top quality wristwatch cases from circa 1900 onwards.
Watch in fine original condition showing just a few signs of age, the case back with presentation engraving to H B Cass from Laycock Engineering. The box also in fine condition. On contemporary, and entirely complementary, new/old stock tan leather strap. Presently being serviced and accompanied by my usual guarantee. NB: This case style is not waterproof and all English wristwatches of this date are best kept well away from damp conditions.
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