Leigh Extence
Fine Antique Clocks

J.W. Benson - Watch manufacturer & Retailer

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The firm was originally established in the mid-eighteenth century and by 1840 watchmakers S.S. & J.W. Benson are recorded at  Cornhill, London, before becoming J.W. Benson alone at various numbers on Ludgate Hill, firstly 33, later 58 and 60. By 1879  Royal patronage had been obtained and the company moved to larger premises at 62 and 64 Ludgate Hill. In 1889 Bensons  became part of the prestigious jewellers Hunt & Roskell with the business increasing in 1892 with the opening of the steam  powered factory at Belle Sauvage Yard, Ludgate Hill. Retail premises were now in operation at both Royal Exchange and New  Bond Street. In 1941 during a night of German bombing the factory, along with all records and horological products, was  destroyed. Records suggest that Benson’s not only made complete movements themselves but were also supplied by others including Nicole  Nielson and P. & A. Guye who had a ‘fair sized factory in Farringdon Road to supply firms like Benson’ and who may well have  supplied them with the ‘Benson Railway Guards watch’.  It is also interesting to note that Rotherham’s manager, Mr Gooding, who was so influential within that company, previously worked  with Benson and so may’ve used his influence to supply Benson’s with Rotherham movements with the latter company having  such a large manufacturing capability.  Benson Movements All movements are three-quarter plate Photo proof from the Watches, fig 61, page 111 being the four examples shown here. 1 26464: The Ludgate, To HM The Queen, keywound with block script to the dial signature. 2 N7018: The Bank, Best London Make. 3 99374: The Ludgate, keywound, the frontplate, with an unsigned dial 4 4803: The Bank, the frontplate 1 3 2 4 5 823315: Railway Guards watch (missing parts) 6 D1754: Best London Make, To HM The Queen 7 2370: Best London Make, To HM The LATE Queen 8 F4913: The Bank (missing parts) 9 7755: The Field (missing parts) 10 7824: The Ludgate, To The Queen , (Pat. 4658), Keywound, 11 117911: The Ludgate, To The Queen; (Pat. 4658). Keyless, unusual as the only one in the collection with the New Bond Street address on the backplate as opposed to the normal Ludgate Hill. 12 129202: The Ludgate, To The Late HM Queen Victoria, (Pat. 4658). Keyless, unusual as the only one in this collection that mentions Queen Victoria by name. 13 A small jewelled backplate from a watch which is well engraved J.W. Benson, 62 & 64, Ludgate Hill,  London, By Special Warrents, To H.M. The Queen and H.R.H The Prince of Wales, No. 80313. 14 Three dials signed in script for J.W. Benson showing slight changes in the black Roman numerals between each. 15 Benson keyless movement parts, as in AHS article Winter 1996. 16 W. Finch, Woking, 57052: a movement obviously from the same workshop as 5 above, the Railway Guards watch, with the identical plates and layout, both of which are likely to have come from a different source to the other Benson watches. Dennis Bacon suggests possibly the P & A Guye factory. 16 Dials Plate 13 Frontplates
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