J W Benson

Andra

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Nov 27, 2020
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Hi,
Total newbie here.
Can anyone tell me anything about this pocket watch. I bought it as part of a scrap silver for remelt and it seems a shame to destroy it. Watch 1.jpg For a start is it worth anything or is it worth just scrap silver value.
Thank you Watch 2.jpg Watch 3.jpg
 

Dr. Jon

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Hie Andra! Welcome to this forum.
Benson was a large firm selling many watches in England. They made lots of grades from barely useful to very fine. YOurs is at the low end but very solidly made. It does not have a lot of collector value.

The case is a good example of hallmarked English silver. It is well made and if it were anything but a watch case it would be a valued example of English silver work.

The "S" is a date letter. It looks to me to be 1881 for when the case was assayed. That makes this watch about 140 years old. The movement looks right for that period. The small marks are notations by the people who serviced it, so this watch looks to have worked for a long tme for its owner(s).

If it runs it is OK to use it on occasion but to put it into real service it shoudl get a cleaning and overhaul. The economics of this are difficult. Such work will cost more than you would be able to sell the watch to recoup but far less than a new watch of similar quality costs.
 

Andrew Wilde

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Feb 18, 2020
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Hi Andra,
Dr Jon is right, is not hugely collectable, but I strongly believe you'd get more than the silver scrap value for it on, for example eBay.
I think he may have misread the hallmark - I'm certain it's 1933.
Cheers ... Andy
 

gmorse

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Hi Andra,

The hallmarks in your watch case show that it was assayed in London in 1933/4; these date letters are changed every year and repeat every 20 years and sometimes the styles of the fonts can look very similar across the different series. In this instance, the sequence beginning in 1856 uses almost the same font as that for 1916, but the shape of the surrounds ('cartouches') is quite different and indicates that yours is in the later series.

By this time in their long business history, JW Benson were retailing imported movements, (mostly from Switzerland), including some of good quality from factories such as Longines, as well as some of more modest pretensions, and I think that yours is one of the latter. They did sell, and indeed make as well as commission, many watches from the UK, but the economics of this became harder to sustain.

Regards,

Graham
 

Audemars

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Aug 6, 2010
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In the 1930s my grandfather and my father sold movements and finished watches to Bensons, indeed they were doing so during and after the war (in the 1950s I used to deliver the pieces to Bensons during my school holidays).
There is no way to distinguish whether this is one of them unless - as they sometimes did - they arranged for "Audemars" to be stencilled on the dial but concealed by the bezel.
The dials were painted by Mr Waters in Clerkenwell. When he was painting dials with luminous numbers he licked his brush - and died very badly.
Paul
 
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