The Tavannes Watch Company was founded in 1891 by Henri-Frédéric Sandoz and his partners, wealthy fabric merchants. The company was very successful and very soon they were exporting to several countries including Canada, Russia, United States, and the Far East.
By 1905, the company was producing 450,000 watches a year and over the next four years, this rose to three quarters of a million watches a year.
The company was constantly looking at ways to improve and in 1910 they won the Gold Medal at the Grand Prix de Bruxelles.
Cyma was the most popular brand made by the Tavannes Watch Company.
J W Benson originated in 1847, founded by James William Benson and Samuel Suckley Benson. They were regarded as one of Victorian London’s most prestigious retail jewellers and they also manufactured their own watch movements. The company flourished and proudly boasted an elite client base made up of both British and European royalty and a selection of well heeled industrialists and business figures including the King of Siam, the King of Portugal, the King of Denmark, the Emperor of Japan, the Tsar of Russia and the King of Greece. JW Benson also supplied watches to Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales.
As with many watch manufacturers, JW Benson embraced the newly introduced wristwatch during the first World War. Up until this point, the company was still manufacturing its own movements in the UK but after its factory at Belle Sauvage Yard was hit during a bombing raid in 1914, it purchased mechanisms from a number of quality movement producers in Switzerland, including Cyma movements. From a collector’s point of view, both the British and Swiss made JW Benson movements are desirable and comparable in quality.
The watch has a hand-winding movement, Cyma calibre 939, which is working nicely.
The watch measures 49.2mm diameter excluding the winding stem and the loop. The case is silver and there are hallmarks inside the case back and dust cover for London 1932 with a case maker’s mark for J W Benson. the case has light surface maring from use but overall it is in nice condition. The inner dust cover has a indentation to the centre.
The glass lens is in good condition.
The white enamel dial is signed J W Benson, London. It is in lovely condition with blued steel hands, a subsidiary seconds dial and an outer minute track.
The watch will be sent in a new presentation box.
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All of our watches are checked over before listing and are also checked for accuracy which is usually within around +/- two to three minutes over 24 hours (unless otherwise stated), which is considered respectable for a vintage watch.
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With regards to appraisals / valuations, we receive a huge number of information requests each day and unfortunately do not have the manpower to deal with them all individually. Our advice would be to contact a local auctioneer for a full appraisal.