J.W. Benson 1950s 'Smiths' Everest Wristwatch

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Model Code: J.W. Benson

A historically significant timepiece from the 1950s. 67 years ago, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay achieved one of humanity's greatest feats in their summit of Mount Everest- the highest point on Earth. The watch to accompany Hillary has long been assumed as the Rolex Explorer displayed in Zurich's Beyer Museum- with Rolex being a primary sponsor for the expedition. However Smiths, a British watchmaking company, supplied watches alongside Rolex for the Everest Summit in 1953. The Smiths watch was documented as having been worn by Hillary upon reaching the summit, giving this example some incredible provenance.

This model has a distinctive 'J.W. Benson' inscription on its dial, while retaining all the typical features of the Smiths watch. J.W. Benson was a London jewellers who sold this Smiths model exclusively, thus signed Benson as opposed to Hillary's Smiths De Luxe. Nonetheless, both this watch and the model worn by Hillary share the same spirit of exploration and adventure as its famous wearer. While the Rolex brand grew exponentially into the world-famous powerhouse we know today, Smiths soon dwindled and faded away despite using Hillary's endorsements in their advertising. The legacy of the Rolex Explorer has carried it to unwavering heights in the 21st Century, yet this underappreciated tool watch represents an immense piece of human history while continually overlooked.

Consequently, this J.W. Benson model is a perfect investment watch. It remains in good condition and is accompanied by its original box. Its manual winding movement is performing perfectly.

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