Sir John Bennett, Maker to the Royal Observatory, 65 & 64 Cheapside, London, Case No. 15823, 52 mm, 137 g, circa 1880
A very fine and rare Swiss half hunting case pocket watch with "Grande Sonnerie" and quarter repeater Case: 18k gold, lever to set striking or silence, lever for choosing between "Quarters Only" and "Full Strike". Dial: enamel, off-white. Movm.: bridge movement, 2 hammers / 2 gongs, 2 barrels with tandem winding, gold screw compensation balance.
This half hunting case watch has been extremely well looked after – there are no signs of wear at all.
Sir John Bennett (1814-1897) Bennett came from a watchmaking family and he and his brother took over the family workshop when their father died early. Bennett started his own workshop in 1847 in Cheapside; he was a clever and marketing oriented businessman, who caught the eye of the public during the Great Exhibition of 1851, when he booked the title page of the exhibition catalogue as well as stand no. 1. His shop windows were decorated with pocket watches and modern advertising slogans and when the "Big Ben" clock was installed in 1860, Bennett build a similar clock with an automaton and presented it in his window. The display attracted so many people that the police hat to control the traffic around his shop. The clock was later bought by Henry Ford and is still displayed in the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. Charles Dickens was also one of Bennett's customers. John Bennett was knighted by Queen Victoria in St. Paul's Cathedral in 1871; he was also elected Sheriff of London at a later date.
Estimate 7,500 - 10,000 €
Price Realised 9,100 €
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