J.W.Benson Cushion Model.79 18ct 1936
The company S.S. & J.W. Benson was founded in 1847 by Samuel Suckley Benson and James William Benson who purchased the premises, and possibly the business interests, of established companies in London at Cornhill and Ludgate Hill, from which they sometimes claimed a date of foundation of 1749. The partnership was dissolved in 1855 and James William Benson continued the business alone. Throughout its history, J.W. Benson Ltd was official watchmaker to the Admiralty & the War Department and also held a number of royal warrants, being watchmakers to Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, the Tsar of Russia, Abu Bakar of Johor and several other royal families.
J.W. Benson was one of the most respected watchmakers in London during the late 19th Century and was one of very few early wristwatch houses that was English, rather than Swiss, owned. The company continued right up until 1973 at which time the name was sold to the Royal jewellers, Garrards and somewhat forgotten. However, In 1994, the JW Benson name came under the control of Mappin & Webb and it is likely that Mappin & Webb still owns the JW Benson trade name today.
Today they are best remembered for their watches and a J.W. Benson timepiece is a very collectable item.
Here we have a wonderful original J.W. Benson gentleman’s dress watch from 1936 with an outstanding original, unrestored and untouched porcelain dial. This is a classic and an excellent 1930s example of some of the outstanding work J.W. Benson created. This watch shows hardly any signs of ageing, which is one of the reasons we have to decided to leave this watch alone, the the other being to retain its originality and charm.
This is a beautifully clean and well balanced white porcelain dial, with bold honey coloured 1 – 12 standard Arabic numerals and matching honey coloured ‘Cathedral’ hands. The dial is completed by the outer minute railtrack and subsidiary seconds dial at 6. Each of these features match the 18ct yellow gold case perfectly.
Porcelain dials do not suffer ageing from sunlight, humidity and pollution in the way more modern dials do, so when found as here, without any cracks, crazing, chips or other damage, they are hugely desirable as they look the same as they did when first produced. Porcelain dials were very difficult and expensive to produce at the time, due to the number needing to be rejected following the firing process.
The dial is simply signed ‘J.W. Benson London’ at the top of the dial below ’12’ with ‘Swiss Made’ at the bottom.
This dial is original and unrestored and has been left untouched by our restoration team due to its superb condition. Usually, we restore the dials of the watches we sell, however we decided in this case to leave it alone, due to its unusually good condition and to retain its originality and charm for those who prefer this. It also helps to contrast with almost all of the other watch dials you see on our website, which have been restored. The hands, likewise, have also been left in their original untouched condition.
Please note, studio lights, professional-grade digital cameras, and macro lenses can be very unkind to an unrestored vintage watch dial. Also the dial here measures less than 1.25 inches across, so the image you’re seeing may be between 5 – 25 times larger than the watch itself. Therefore please keep in mind you are seeing many tiny flaws which cannot be seen, or will be very hard to see with the naked eye, even under close examination. Suffice to say, on the wrist, in natural light, this dial looks much better and carries a great deal more charm than the photographs portray.
The high grade Calibre 79, 15 Jewel hand-wound movement fitted to this watch was one of J.W.Bensons most successful movements, remaining in production for over 20 years.
The Calibre 79 movement is very highly regarded for its accuracy and reliability, making this watch perfectly suited for everyday use as well as evening wear. The movement is in tip-top condition having been overhauled and serviced by our vintage specialist watchmaker which means it has been completely disassembled to all its component parts, carefully inspected under high magnification and replacement where necessary with only genuine parts before careful reassembly and adjustment and calibration. The watch winds, sets and runs perfectly accurately and reliably within +6 seconds per day averaged over 5 positions, which is excellent for any watch of this age and has been confirmed on our electronic watch timegrapher. The movement also has an excellent 36-hour power reserve when fully wound. We are therefore more than confident in offering 12 months’ warranty with this watch movement*.
The movement is correctly signed ‘Swiss Made’ and ‘15 Jewels’, and carries the movement serial number 920236.
*Please note – our 12 months’ warranty is only applicable if the list price is paid.
The totally original, 18ct yellow gold ‘cushion’ case measures 30mm in diameter, excluding the correct signed crown, and 30mm from top to bottom. This may seem like a small watch, but in fact, when measured across the diagonal, including the wonderful lugs, it measures 39mm. Today, given the popularity among ladies to wear gent’s watches, this could easily be considered a suitable watch for a lady.
The case is of a heavy two-piece design with a screw-down case-back and carries attractive triangular lugs. It is solid, elegant and of obvious very high quality. The case has been carefully inspected for fatigue marks and there are none. It is very rigid and the case-back is a nice tight fit. Importantly, it is of full thickness and has never been inscribed.
Inside the screw-down case-back, we find all the markings are correct and as expected, signed with with 18K and 0.750 hallmarks. The case-back also carries the serial number 82925 and the case reference no.79.
Please note – as ever, our standard advice applies: Vintage watches should be kept clean and dry at all times.
The Strap and Buckle
The watch is fitted with a new, high quality brown crocodile strap with a plain gold-plated buckle. We feel this matches the case nicely and lifts the watch. However, if a different colour or style of strap is preferred, please let us know and we will do our best to oblige free of charge. We carry Tan, Conker, Dark Brown and Black in stock and in plain padded leather, or crocodile skin or lizard skin. For a wider selection, please take a look at the wonderful choice of straps offered by our suppliers, Watch Obsession.
Box and Papers
Although there are no original papers with this watch, the reference numbers, markings, signatures and hallmarks are all correct, dating this watch to 1936.
Detailed particulars will be included with our purchase receipt for your interest and security. A separate insurance valuation for the replacement value of this watch will be provided at the time of sale along with our unique ‘Lifetime Authenticity Guarantee’ which states: “If this watch proves to be anything less than 100% genuine, authentic and original, a full refund will be given at any time”.
The matching J.W.Benson presentation box shown in the photographs is included.
If you would like to pay by bank transfer we will be pleased to assist you with this and pass on a 3% saving to you. Paying by bank transfer for a 3% saving will not affect your 12 months warranty. Similarly, if you wish to pay by International SWIFT or Bank Wire Transfer we will provide you with our BIC / Swift number and our IBAN number.
Please check the import duties and any taxes your government may apply, these are different for each country and unfortunately out of our control.
We understand there may be some ‘loopholes’ that may help you avoid these charges, however attempting to use these could impact our ongoing ability to serve our growing international customer base.
For those that happen to visit the UK on occasion we are of course more than happy to store your watch until we can meet you in our offices in Kensington, London, and hand your watch directly to you there.
As with all our watches, this watch will be sold under our 14 days no quibble sale or return policy.
A unique example of a fascinating timepiece which will undoubtedly make an excellent financial investment, as well as be something wonderful to wear, treasure and enjoy! It will make a practical watch for regular or occasional use, as you wish and if it continues to be well cared for and regularly serviced, will provide dependable service for many decades to come.
This watch carries a great deal more style, individuality and panache than a new watch and to buy the same quality today would be difficult, at 4 or 5 times the price.
A word on our prices – We always try our hardest to acquire the very highest quality watches we can find, before restoring them to the highest possible standards. We then offer these at the fairest prices we can, taking into account our pre and post-sales care and service. This approach means we will never be the cheapest, but nor will we be the most expensive. Indeed there are some well-known stores in West London which are highly successful charging between two to three times the price you see here. We, therefore, consider our prices to be fair, given the quality of watches we have to offer.
Please note, we also welcome part exchanges. If you have a watch or a small collection for sale, please contact us as we will be happy to discuss this.
We will also be happy to Service your watch, Repair your watch or Restore your watch, all at ‘sensible’ prices. Please see here.
If you have any questions please call us on 020 7727 7095 or if calling from overseas on +44 207 727 7095.
Please take a look at our other fine vintage gold watches.
- Store Name: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
- Vendor: Vintage Gold Watches London Ltd
96 Kensington High Street
United Kingdom (UK)
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