Pre war J.W. Benson watches are very collectible, and this one has a very early clamshell gold case.


From the Glasgow import hallmark on the inside of the case back we can accurately date this watch to being assayed in 1938 or early 1939.  The case design carries a Swiss patent that wasn’t granted until 1936, and was put in production in 1938.


J. W. Benson Ltd was official watchmaker to the Admiralty and 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.  Their biggest challenge was actually during the blitz of London, where their factory and tooling was destroyed.  They never made their in house movements again, instead turning to Swiss made movement from copies they had often already worked with.  The movement in this watch is by CYma, who went on to be a key partner after the war.  That movement is a manual wind, fifteen jewel item that is nicely finished and running strongly.  The case was made probably by either Schmitz Frères & Co, who hold the patent (Brevet) 189190 for the clamshell design or Gallet, who famously made their clamshell cases.  A clamshell case just means it is screwed on with four angled screws, but it is far more secure than a basic clip on case back.  The dial has the original radium lume, but the hands have either been swapped or relumed at some point.  The leather strap is new, and could be swapped for a different colour if preferred.

This watch will be supplied with our branded presentation box and our Certificate of Authenticity.

Please see the HD video for more detail.  All photos and videos are part of the description and are of the actual watch unless mentioned.  We do not photoshop any pictures, and the images are copyright of and should not be used without permission.


Width with crown  24.8 mm

Width without crown  22.1 mm

Between lugs  16 mm

Lug to lug length  38.5 mm

Case Thickness  8.3 mm

All sizes are approximate.  The watch is photographed on a wrist of 190mm/7.5 inches.

Included with this watch is a 3 month guarantee and free delivery to UK addresses.  If you live outside the UK we can still deliver to most countries.  Please see our Worldwide Shipping information, or Contact Us.   Payment can be made by most credit or debit cards, bank transfer or PayPal.

From 1st September 2021 we will be planting a tree for every watch we sell, working with the International Tree Foundation (Est 1922) to make this business positive on carbon.  By buying anything pre owned you are effectively reusing what already exists, but this takes it further and makes us feel good.