19th December 2014 

Antique & Vintage Pocket Watches

Blog - Facebook - What I do & don't do
Market Update - News from Facebook - New Stock
Customer Comments - The Makers

I am a specialist UK based restorer selling working pocket watches dating from the mid 19th century onwards, many are ‘true’ antiques dating from before 1915 the rest being “Vintage” and almost entirely pre 1939.

Closed for business until the new year.
Stock is dependent on what I am able to buy in for restoration but a good selection of American, English Going Barrel and Swiss pocket watches is usually available.

After a huge rush on my watches during November and early December stock is at an all time low and I expect it will be February or March before I am able to offer anything like my normal selection, more info under Market Update.
Depending on availability I specialise in watches by J.W. Benson, American Waltham, English keyless designs from companies such as Rotherham, Errington, William Ehrhardt and The Lancashire Watch Company. Also Swiss watches by makers Omega, Longines, Tavannes / Cyma, Büren and Revue Thommen (branded Vertex, Limit, Russell, etc.). I am also doing an increasing number of American Railroad watches such as the Waltham 1892-Vanguard and the 1899 & 1909 Vanguard, Crescent St and Riverside.

Most of the watches I have for sale are in Silver, Rolled / Filled gold or base metal cases, but I sometimes have a few in solid 9 carat gold primarily Swiss made for Benson and by English makers, these are limited in number because of the higher risk involved and the lower margin on a high value item that, if sold in any number, would quickly push me over the VAT registration limit and thus increase the selling price of all my watches.

All are available for sale on-line and selected watches are available from The Brackley Antiques Cellar.

A small stock of antique & vintage silver, rolled gold and base metal chains and watch fob medals are available for sale at The Brackley Antiques Cellar and on-line so that you can buy a complete ensemble.
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As this is a retirement business I keep my turnover below the VAT registration level so that I am not required to charge VAT on sales saving customers inside the EU up to 20% but this does mean that there is no reduction for customers in other countries.

Important information for Customers outside of the UK.
The Royal Mail have withdrawn a key mailing option, please see International shipping options below


News & Blog Postings

News of particularly interesting watches for sale and short posts on horology related subjects are available on my Facebook page (just click “Like” below if you are on Facebook), most of these are also available on my Blog together with some longer articles. Blog posting can be received by e-mail and through various feeds such as RSS by visiting the Blog and registering for the appropriate service.

Oxford Pocket Watches


Selected Pocket Watches are on display at


The Brackley Antiques Cellar, Northamptonshire

    Cabinet 59A
    The Brackley Antiques Cellar
    Drayman’s Walk
    NN13 6BE Map


"The largest purpose-built centre in the Midlands."

Winner: Homes & Antiques Magazine "Antiques Centre of the Year 2013".

Open 10:00 till 17:00 7 days a week (Except Christmas day, Boxing day & New Years day), it is under Waitrose Supermarket and has free parking and a Tea Room.

With high demand through the web site I found I was no longer able to efficiently stock two antiques centres (let alone the three which I used to have), I therefore closed the display cabinet at Wallingford on 6th January 2014.

International Shipping

From 1st April 2014 the recently privatised Royal Mail withdrew their international "AirSure" service, the means that the maximum insurance available through the mail is now £250. At the customers risk I can send worldwide for a flat rate of £14 with this maximum compensation of £250. Alternative methods with full insurance is expensive in the range £50 - £70 for a £500 consignment, when ordering please let me know if you wish to have the fully insured option.

UK customers are unaffected, their watches will continue to be shipped by RM Special Deliver, fully insured.

Market & Stock Update.

The availability of antique and vintage pocket watches remains very difficult with most sources very short of stock. Prices on eBay are very volatile generally driven by inexperienced buyers (judging from their bidding history) pushing some prices to very extravagant levels, particularly for watches in the mid range. Fortunately those bidding at the trade auctions are taking a longer view and prices generally remain within the estimates, the watches on sale at these auctions are generally the more expensive ones in solid gold and I will be offering some more by Benson over the coming months.

Having sold about two and a half months worth of restoration work in 3 weeks stock is now very low and given market conditions it will be sometime before that can be corrected.
Updated 08th December

Lists of watches added in the current and previous month are shown below under New Stock.

Don’t see what you want?

If you are looking for something I don’t have, perhaps one similar to a sold watch shown on the site or from a specific year, town or maker and it is within the general area I deal in e-mail me and if one comes up I’ll let you know – no obligation!

But be warned it could take some time, the record for a successful search is currently 8 months to track down a watch signed by a particular London retailer for a descendent of the then owner. And I have a couple of requests not yet fulfilled that go back well over a year.

On the other hand many of my quality keyless watches such as those by Rotherham and Benson sell within hours to people who are on my wish list and who are therefore alerted when potentially suitable watches go onto the site.

News & Facebook Postings

Oxford Pocket Watches

What I do & don't do

I started by restoring antique and vintage pocket watches for my personal satisfaction, but after a while my collection started to get out of hand so I started selling them, at first largely on e-bay where I have 100% approval rating, universally good feedback and a number of repeat customers from as far afield as Australia and Brazil. When I officially retired I started to sell through antiques markets - at one time three of them - but I am now selling primarily through this website but also through the Brackley Antiques Cellar where prospective customers can see before they buy.

Please note that except for warranty work I do not do repairs or restorations of watches I do not own Also I do not buy in watches via this web site, it has the potential to create agro I do not need and to sell at the prices I do I have to buy cheap and that means at auction.

Recently Added.



  • E529. Errington for Jay's, 16J, English Silver, 1899.

    J.W. Benson

  • S447. J.W. Benson (Revue), 15J, Hunter, Solid 9K Gold, 1932
  • S368. J.W. Benson (Revue), 15J, Rolled gold, c1925
  • E535. J.W. Benson "The Ludgate", 13J, S22, English silver c1895/1918.

    American Waltham

  • W445. Waltham 1908-Riverside, 19J, Half Hunter, Rolled Gold, 1918.
  • W427. Waltham 1908-610, 7J, Hunter, Rolled Gold, 1926/7.
  • W449. Waltham 1899-620, 15J, Filled Gold, 1900.
  • W451. Waltham 1908-610, Hunter, Rolled Gold, 1913.
  • W417. Waltham 1899-Traveler, Hunter, Rolled Gold, 1905.


  • S458. Omega for Rohrberg, 15J, Swiss silver & Gilt, 1905/6.
  • S467. Kay's Keyless "Triumph" (Revue), 15J, English Silver 1919.
  • S459. Revue Thommen for Limit, Stirling Silver, 1919.
  • S457. Limit (Revue), Half Hunter, Rolled Gold, c1932.
  • S470. Limit No 2 (Revue), Rolled Gold, c1925.
  • S472. Büren 15J, English Silver, 1929



  • E520, Rotherham, 19J Half Hunter, English Silver, 1902.
  • E521. William Ehrhardt, for London Manufacturing Goldsmiths, English Silver, 1895
  • E522. Errington for Hargreaves, 9J, Hunter, Rolled Gold, c1905.
  • E524. Rotherham for Russell, 19J, Half Hunter, English Silver, 1903.
  • E525. J.W. Benson "THE BANK", 11J, English Silver, 1909.
  • E527. J.W. Benson "THE BANK", 11J, 9K Gold, 1927.

    American Waltham

  • W420. Waltham 1908-635, 17J Hunter, 17J, Filled Gold, 1918.
  • W437. Waltham 1899-620, 15J Hunter, 15J, Rolled Gold, 1907.
  • W435. Waltham 1899-Vanguard, 23J Railroad Watch, Filled Gold, 1906.
  • W436. Waltham 1908-620, 15J, English Silver, 1924/5.
  • W438. Waltham 1888-AW Co, Filled Gold, 1897.
  • W430. Waltham 1908-Royal, 17J, Rolled Gold, 1911.
  • W439. Waltham 1908-640, 17J, 10K Filled Gold, 1923.


  • S440. Cyma, 15J, English Silver, 1925.
  • S451. Omega by Louis Brandt and Frère, 15J, 14K Filled Gold, 1901.
  • S444. Omega, 15J, 0.800 Silver, 1916.

  • Some Customer Comments

    "Just a quick email to say thank you so so much - the watch and chain arrived earlier this morning - they are both absolutely amazing, and more perfect than I could imagine! Thank you for all of your help with making the final decision and ordering up, you've been really great."

    "Hi John, watch is all you described and more, absolutely love it, thank you"

    "I am delighted with it, as elegant as expected and it is now ticking away nicely. Thanks for your prompt and extremely helpful service as well, it is much appreciated."

    " Watch and chain delivered safely! I love both"... "Thank you for all your invaluable help and for a fantastic service"

    "I really am so pleased with them, they are sat here on the table ticking away and looking beautiful and I can't stop smiling!"

    "..we received the watch today and we are really pleased with it. Many thanks for your help"

    "Very pleased, thank you. I fired her up and she is keeping time safely ensconced in my jacket pocket. […] Thank you for your excellent service."

    "The quality of the items, prompt and kind responses to enquiries, and shipping completed on the very day of payment --- all these combine to make your Website one of the best places to look for good-quality antique pocket watches made and/or retailed in England." [A customer in Japan]

    “The watch arrived this morning safe and sound. I'm very pleased with the look of it. Thank you for a very efficient service."

    The English Makers

    Here are some potted histories of some of the watch makers I specialise in restoring.


    J.W. Benson.

    A prestige London maker, they were primarily a retail jewellers but also had, in English terms, a medium size watch making arm making three grades of watch the "The Field", "The Bank" and "The Ludgate". The Ludgate (at least) first came as key set model then as a keyless. But did they really make them all in house? From my researches I believe "The Bank" was made by P & A Guye as explained in this blog post. Pictured is an example of the "Bank" watch in a 9 carat gold case.

    They also bought in a lot of watches from quality English makers, primarily Rotherham of Coventry and P & A Guye of London and from good Swiss makers including Tavannes, Revue Thommen & Longines.

    Unfortunately all of the company records were destroyed by bombing in 1941 and so it can sometimes be difficult to identify the source of watches not manufactured "in-house" and to date those not in English hallmarked cases.


    Rotherham & Sons, Coventry.

    The company evolved from S Vale who were established in 1747. They used many Wycherley ebauché until the later part of the 19th century when they moved to making their own movements and by 1888 were an important Coventry company with 400-500 workers (plus outside suppliers and out-workers) making 100 movements a week.

    Their 19 Jewel three-quarter plate is a particularly good movement and a favourite of mine.

    Total production between 1880 and 1930 was probably around 600,000 averaging 200 per week. Although very small by American standards they were to my mind the best English volume manufacturer also supplying companies such as Benson. From my researches for Coventry Watch Musum at least 70% of all production of three-quarter plate watches was outwardly signed by other companies with many others being unsigned. However under the dial there is invariably a Rotherham trademark.

    Shown is a Rotherham 19J Half Hunter in silver it has Rotherham hallmarks and trade mark under the dial but is branded "The Time O' Day" by Russell of Liverpool - click the image to see the extensive Russell engraving.

    Rotherham's later diversified into cycle and auto parts with watch manufacturing ceasing in about 1930.


    C.H. Errington & H. Williamson of Coventry.

    Errington was an engraver in 1875 and later had a small factory finishing movements from Berry of Prescot until the business was acquired by Williamson c 1896. He continued as manager of the factory under Williamson and into the 1900's watches were signed under the dial "Errington Watch Factory" and the Errington silver mark "C.H.E" was still in use.

    Before acquiring Errington, Williamson was a Clock maker and general trader and the company subsequently became an important English watch maker also owning the Swiss company Büren for an extended period sourcing components and finished movements from them.

    Shown is a pin set 9J Half Hunter for Kay of Worcester.
    The company continued to produce pocket watches until approximately 1931. Total production in UK was about 750,000 including Errington and government war production.


    William Ehrhardt Ltd & The British Watch Co

    Were based in Birmingham but are usually considered a Coventry maker and were working as manufacturers from 1856 until the 1920's and in the watch trade into the 1930's. Their total production was about 700,000 movements. Their winged arrow trademark is sometimes found on their movements.

    From 1921 this was as a trading name of Ehrhardt’s who were either trying to persuade people to buy British in the face of American and Swiss competition or were trying to disassociate themselves from Germany after the Great War.


    The Lancashire Watch Company, Prescot.

    Formed in 1888 and made close to 900,000 movements before collapsing in 1910 making it the largest British watch company in terms of total production.

    The first large scale attempt in England at standardised factory production or an entire watch.

    Amrican Waltham

    W333mvDuring the last quarter on the 19th century and for the first few years of the 20th America, and in particular Waltham, were the world leaders in good quality volume produced watches.

    The American Watch Company was formed in 1859 from the wreckage of a number of failing companies and was known by a succession of names. In the US they also marketed watches under a wide range of company names depending on the grade of watch for example “The Home Watch Co" and "P. S. Bartlett". So for convenience they are collectively known as “Waltham” watches from the town outside of Boston where they had their factory.

    Further information on size 16 Waltham watches is available on my Blog page here.

    Swiss Makers


    Omega / Louis Brandt and Frère.

    Established in 1848 in La Chaux de Fonds by 1894 Louis Brandt and Frère had moved to Bienne and were producing about 100,000 quality movements a year. Then François Chevillat designed the Omega 19 calibre movement and it became so well known the company name was changed to Omega around 1903.

    Omega watches are frequently found in Nickel, Nickel alloy and Gun metal cases and later in Chromium plated or Stainless Steel - Silver was very much an English choice for a case the Swiss, like the Americans, frequently put very good movements into base metal.

    The Omega movement incorporated a patented setting mechanism shown here that gave additional protection to prevent accidentally changing the time when winding which enabled the higher grades to be used as “Railroad watches” in Austria and some other countries - although not in America where lever setting was mandated.


    Schwob Bros (Tavannes, Cyma, etc.)

    Schwob Bros had many brand names / sister businesses the two main ones being Tavannes which with four factories became the fourth largest watch company in the world and Cyma which had the biggest single workshop in Europe.


    Revue Thommen

    Founded originally in the 1850's the company became Revue Thommen in 1908 and were producing better than average quality watches sold in the UK under the Vertex brand and through distributers such a Limit.



    The history of Büren is a little unclear, from c1899 to c1932 the company was the Swiss operation of H. Williamson of Coventry but was probably supplying them before this date when they were known as Fritz Suter & Cie. After Williamson got into financial trouble Büren was probably purchased by the employees, continuing in business as The Buren Watch Co initially with Rotherham of Coventry as their British agents.

    At some point they were supplying watches marked as "Elgin"(or America) to overseas markets until in 1966 the company was acquired by the Hamilton Watch Company of America with the same watches being supplied under the new name, for instance the Elgin grade 847 became the Hamilton 971. Production stopped in 1972 following the acquisition of Hamilton by SSIH in 1971.