Monday, 15 October 2018

A very unusual Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 1889.

J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate", 11J 1889.
This is a very unusual watch! It is London finished almost certainly from a Prescott ebauché, a Coventry Watch Movement Co ebauché is a slight possibility as they opened in 1889 using a Prescott ebauché as a starting point, but those that I have seen have been rather different. I suspect but can't prove it was finished by quality maker Nicole, Nielson & Co who are known to have supplied Benson.

J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate", 11J 1889.

The face 2 piece plate is typical of Prescott ebauché of the period.
The unusual thing is that the Keyless Ludgate of the period, and I have had examples from the previous year and several from later years, are completely different being made in-house and incorporating Benson's patented dust ring construction also used on "The Field" watch and others. Further the engraving on this watch is identical to the "normal" version including having the Patent number believed to be for the dust ring that continued to be used for some years after this watch was made.

J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 13J 1893
Made in-house with the patented thick dust ring.
J.W. Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 13J half hunter, 1888
Made in-house with the patented thick dust ring.
It can only be assumed that Benson were short of Keyless Ludgate watches and so bought some in but it must have been confusing for customers to see such different watches being sold under the same model name.

More information on the Ludgate can be found in my post Benson "Field", "Ludgate" and "Bank of England" watches. or by selecting "Benson" from the list of tags below right.

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