20th October 2018 

English Keyless Watches by Premium Makers Benson, Guye & Rotherham.

Unless otherwise stated all watches have 7 jewels, are working, keep at least reasonable time for their age and wind and set correctly. Lids and bezels are secure, stay closed and where appropriate open when the button or crown is pressed. Any inscriptions, dedications or monograms (other than jewellers and makers marks) and any gold plate worn through to the core will either be shown in the photographs, described in the text or both. Movements carry a 6 or 12 month warranty as described under “Warranty info”.

Click on image for another picture and on "More pictures" for more on Zenfolio. Please remember that hi-res photos are several times life size and will make some tiny flaws, marks, etc. look huge!

English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. S271f


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E260mvs

J.W. Benson English Watches

A prestige London maker now sought after by collectors and I buy all that I can.

At the moment I have far more "Bank" types than I usually do (frequently I have none for long periods).

They were primarily a retail jewellers but also had, in English terms, a medium size watch making arm for more information on the main movements see my Blog post J.W. Benson "Field", "Ludgate" and "Bank of England" watches. . Two recent finds and subsequent analysis have enabled me to further tie down the relationship between Benson & Guye, explained in my post J.W. Benson and P & A Guye two London watchmakers, later effectively one?

They also bought in a lot of watches from other quality English makers primarily Rotherham of Coventry and from good Swiss makers including Tavannes, Revue Thommen & Longines that are shown on this page.

Unfortunately all of the company records were destroyed by bombing in 1941 (not in WWI as sometimes claimed) and so it can sometimes be difficult to identify the source of watches and to date those not in English hallmarked cases.




English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E883f

E833. J.W. Benson Keyless Ludgate, 11J 1889.

An early and rare variant of "The Keyless Ludgate Watch" London made for Benson, possibly by quality maker Nicole, Nielson & Co and probably from a Prescott ebauché. More information in my blog post A very unusual Benson "Keyless Ludgate" 1889.

The pin set, slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance with gold screws and 11 jewels.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

Oxford Pocket Watches: E833 J.W. Benson Keyless Ludgate 11J 1889 &emdash; E833 J.W. Benson Keyless Ludgate 11J 1889 (3)


The movement is engraved:

The Keyless Ludgate Watch
J.W. Benson
Patent No 4658
Best London Make
By warrant to H.M. The Queen, Ludgate Hill, London


The English made double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1889 and the makers mark of J.W. Benson. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

RESERVED It is in final test and should be available from the 22nd October. £600 RESERVED More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E829f

E829. P & A Guye for Clark, 15J Half Hunter, 1900.

The size 16 body, layout and winding / setting system is the same as the second generation "Bank" watch for J.W. Benson and it also has a slow train, but this has 15 jewels rather than 11 and a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance rather than an over-sprung.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The movement and dial is engraved "J.W. Clark 415 Brixton Road S.W." with the movement also engraved "London Made".

E829 P & A Guye for Clark 15J half hunter 1900 (2)

E829 P & A Guye for Clark 15J half hunter 1900 (16)


The heavy double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1900 and the makers mark of John Woodman of Northampton Square, London. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass primary crystal from old stock and a new modern secondary. Note that there is a small bruise on the back of the case, bottom right, what just shows on photos 15 & 16 (above).

STOCK. £640 More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E831f

E831. P & A Guye for Russell, 9J, 1890.

The size 16 body, layout and winding / setting system is the same as the first generation "Bank" watch for J.W. Benson, it also has a slow train, 9 jewels and an over-sprung cut compensating balance.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The movement is signed:

T. Russell,18 Church St, Liverpool
Maker to the admiralty [with the admiralty crest]
Maker to the Queen [with a queen's crown]

E831 P & A Guye for Russell 9J 1890  (8)


The double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1890 and the makers mark of John Woodman of Northampton Square, London. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

STOCK £480 More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E188ud

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, an example from 1900 pictured here, is a particularly good movement, a favourite of mine (and many collectors) and I buy all I can. Some history and examples of the movement can be found on my blog..

Total production between 1880 and 1930 was probably around 600,000 averaging 200 per week. In my view Rotherham were the best English "volume" maker although their production was small in comparison with the large American and Swiss makers - Waltham for instance making about 26 million over the same period (and on occasion making over a million in a year), and Elgin National Watch making almost 32 million.

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




English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E814f

E814. Rotherham for Reid, 19J, 1916.

This excellent size 12 pin set movement is by Rotherham and Sons of Coventry for Reid and Sons of Newcastle upon Tyne. It has a true English Lever escapement with a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance. It is jewelled as for a 15 jewel movement but with the addition of cap jewels on the lever and escape for a total of 19 and has functional Geneva Stop Gear to control mainspring pressure.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

Makers to the
Lords of the Admiralty
Reid & Sons, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

E814 Rotherham for Reid 19J 1916 (6)


The English made double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1916 and the mark of Rotherham Son. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal. The case is 1.9" / 4.8 cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and is 0.66" / 1.7 cm thick.

STOCK £475 More pictures on Zenfolio


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E828f

E828. Rotherham for Russell, 17J, 1894.

A rare early example of a size 16 pin set three-quarter plate movement by Rotherham and Sons of Coventry for Russell's Ltd of Liverpool, it has a true English Lever escapement with a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance. It is jewelled as for a 13 jewel movement but with the addition of cap jewels on the lever and escape giving a total of 17. It is equipped with functional Geneva Stop Gear to control mainspring pressure.

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 month months warranty.

E828 Rotherham for Russell 17J 1894 (8)

The English made double backed case has Birmingham hallmarks for 1894 and the mark of John Rotherham. 4 Spon St Coventry. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

STOCK £425 More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. Next

Recently Sold Watches

Following requests from buyers who are giving watches as presents I no longer show the price of sold watches.

There are more examples of Benson watches, including several rare ones, previously sold in the gallery.



English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E742f

E742. J.W. Benson "The Field Watch", 15J Hunter, 1920.

This is the first intact English made full hunter I have come across by Benson, it is one of the later versions of "The Field" watch and was the most expensive of their three "volume" London made watches. The size 16 "Half Chronometer" (Adjusted) slow train movement has an English Lever escapement with a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance and 15 jewels including a diamond end-stone for the balance. Geneva stop gear was used to control mainspring pressure and thereby improve isochronism. The premium ivory coloured dial is in hard Venetian enamel.

The movement is engraved "The Field, Best London Make, By Warrant to H.M. the Queen, J.W. Benson, Ludgate Hill, London". This is odd as I have only seen this on Benson watches before 1901 but the case is hallmarked 1920 and belongs with the movement as it has the same serial number, there is therefore a strong possibility that the movement is older and was re-cased by the makers, see my blog for more information with links to other relevant posts.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The English double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver 1920, the mark of J.W. Benson and the same serial number as the movement. The bow, joints and mounts are in 18 carat gold, the bow being large enough is hallmarked as such. Being a size 16 rather than the more common size 12 Benson the case is quite substantial, heavy and 2.1" / 5.4 cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc and is 0.6" / 1.5cm thick. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has an excellent mineral glass crystal.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E761f

E761. J.W. Benson, The "Bank" Watch, 11J half hunter, 1904.

A "mid life" version of the "Bank" watch. The pin set, slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance and 11 jewels.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The movement is engraved:

The Bank
Best London Make
J.W. Benson, 62 & 64 Ludgate Hill, LONDON

The English made double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1904 and the makers mark of J.W. Benson. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has two new crystals, the main being mineral glass from old stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E803f

E803. J.W. Benson The "Ludgate" Watch (Key Set), 13J, 1893.

An large example of the key set "Ludgate" watch, setting is from the back so it is much easier to use than a traditional English watch set from the front but like these watches it winds anticlockwise. The three-quarter plate, slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance and 13 jewels.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The movement is engraved:

The "LUDGATE" Watch
J.W. Benson
Patent No 4658
Best London Make
By Warrant to H.M. The Queen, Ludgate Hill, London

The dust cover has a nice dedication to a local policeman for 13 years serving one community and quite a generous one, in todays money it cost over £1k.

Presented to
P. C. Wm. Bomen
by the inhabitants of
St. Clears on his
leaving for LLanelly
after 13 years amongst them.
Feb 1895

The English double backed case has the Benson patented very thick dust ring with integral dust cover, the movement is large and cased up is a tad bigger than a standard size 18 with a bigger dial and is 40-50% heavier than most watches in a size 16 "standard" silver case. It is 2.1" / 5.4cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc and 0.78" /1.9cm thick. It has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1893 and the marks of J.W. Benson. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass crystal from old stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio

Also listed under keyset watches.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E804f

E804. J.W. Benson Keyless Ludgate, 13J, 1893.

An early and rare example of "The Keyless Ludgate Watch", the first restorable open faced version I have had since March 2013. The pin set, slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance and 13 jewels. More information on the Ludgate can be found in this blog post.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The movement is engraved:

The Keyless Ludgate Watch
J.W. Benson
Patent No 4658 [referring to the dust ring]
Best London Make
By warrant to H.M. The Queen, Ludgate Hill, London


The English made double backed case has London hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1893 and the makers mark of J.W. Benson. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E811f

E811. J.W. Benson "Best London", 11J, 1922.

As far as I can see this is the same as a contemporary "Bank" watch from the middle period, I don't know what the difference is, although a higher level of adjustment is possible - the Bank not being adjusted as a half chronometer, or why it is not called a "Bank". The size 14 pin set, slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance and 11 jewels.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.


It is inscribed on the movement:

Best London Make
To H.M. The Queen.
J.W. Benson, Ludgate Hill, London


This is unusual as described in my blog post "A Benson signed for Queen Mary, 1922. ".

The English made double backed case has London hallmarks for 9 carat solid gold, 1922 and the makers mark of J.W. Benson although it would almost certainly been made for them by Benson Bros (no relation) of Liverpool who had the contract to make their cases. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass crystal from old stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E823f

E823. J.W. Benson, 11J Solid Gold Half Hunter, 1901.

Essentially size 12 "Bank" watch but in a solid gold single backed case. The pin set, slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with an over-sprung cut compensating balance and 11 jewels.

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

E823 J.W. Benson 11J solid Gold half Hunter, 1901 (2)

It is inscribed on the movement:

Best London Make
To H.M The Queen
J.W. Benson, Ludgate Hill, London


The heavy English made case has London hallmarks for solid 9 carat gold, 1901. It has the sponsors mark of J.W. Benson but was most likely made by Benson Bros (no relation) of Liverpool. It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has 2 new crystals. The case is 1.9" / 4.8 cm in dimeter excluding the pendant and

Note: Initially photographed without the main crystal which is on order.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E824f

E824. Sir John Bennett (Guye) 15J 1895.

This is a 15 jewel version of the Benson "Bank" watch made for Sir John Bennett, "Maker to the Royal Observatory" and Lord Lieutenant of the City of London, (link to wiki), he was not particularly liked in the industry for putting price pressure on English makers and importing "look alike" Swiss watches when they were cheaper. This one however is London made almost certainly by P & A Guye.

The slow train movement has a true English Lever escapement with a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance .

Ultrasonically cleaned and serviced with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

 E824 Sir John Bennette (Guye) 15J 1895 (10)

The high quality case has London Hallmarks for Sterling Silver, 1895 and a maker's mark of John Woodman of Northampton Square, London . It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new crystal.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.


English Keyless Watches by J.W.  Benson, P & A Guye & Rotherham.. E832f

E832. Rotherham 19J, 9 Caret Gold, 1925.

This excellent size 12 pin set movement is by Rotherham and Sons of Coventry. It has a true English Lever escapement with a Breguet sprung cut compensating balance. It is jewelled as for a 15 jewel movement but with the addition of cap jewels on the lever and escape for a total of 19 and has functional Geneva Stop Gear to control mainspring pressure. Unusually it is signed "Rotherhams Coventry", over 80% of their watches were signed only by the retailer and most of the others are signed "Rotherhams London"

Ultrasonically cleaned, serviced and with a new mainspring it is keeping excellent time. 12 months warranty.

The watch is tightly cased and suitable for use as a "normal" pocket watch or as a "dress watch" to be worn with evening dress. It is 1.84" / 4.7 cm in diameter excluding the pendant etc. and 0.59" / 1.49 cm thick. The body of the watch, back, pendant and bow are all correctly hallmarked for 9 carat / .375 gold, assayed in Birmingham in 1925. The inner dust cover, like the back, has the mark of Rotherham and son, the same serial number and jointers mark (rubbed but readable) but I can't see a gold mark. Like the rest of the case it is fairly thin, more so than is usual for filled or rolled gold but it does look like gold of some type.

It has been ultrasonically cleaned and has a new mineral glass crystal from old stock.

SOLD More pictures on Zenfolio.