A 1973 Doxa by Synchron Watch

A 1973 Doxa by Synchron Watch

I made a video about one of my vintage Doxa watches. There’s an interesting story behind this watch — literally behind it, as in on the back of it. There’s an inscription on the case back that speaks of things and practices that are no longer around.

This Doxa was most likely made in 1973, while Synchron S.A. owned the Doxa company, which they did from 1968 to 1978. The case serial number is a possible indicator of the year of manufacture.

Doxa S.A. was founded in 1889 by Georges Ducommun, and began as a maker of dress watches and other timepieces. Over time, they branched out into jewelry and they are now best known for their diving watches.

Like most Swiss watch companies, they were hit hard by the introduction of quartz watches. They put up a good fight but in the end they were sold and then ceased operations in 1980. The company changed hands multiple times. It was part of Synchron S.A. between 1968-1978, and were then acquired by Aubrey Freres S.A., who held them until 1997, when they sold them to the Swiss Jenny family. In August 2002, Doxa re-started its watchmaking operations and they are now producing special editions of their historical watches in limited quantities.

A 1952 J.W. Benson Watch

1952 J.W. Benson Watch

I made a video about my 1952 J.W. Benson watch, which I hope you will enjoy. It has a 15-jewel Smiths movement and a sub-second dial with Arab numerals.

James William Benson (12 April 1826 – 7 October 1878) was an English scientific instrument maker and watchmaker who enjoyed an excellent reputation in London in the late nineteenth century. He was born in Reading, Berkshire, England. He was the son of William Benson and Phoebe Suckley.

J.W. Benson Ltd was a highly regarded London watch/clockmakers and gold/silversmiths who traded between 1847 and 1973. The Benson family had been watchmakers since 1749. A company, trading as S.S. & J.W. Benson, was founded in 1847 by James William Benson (born in 1826 in Reading) and his older brother Samuel Suckley Benson (born in 1822 in London). The partnership was dissolved on 27 January 1855 and James William continued the business under the name, ‘J. W. Benson’.

James William Benson died on 7 October 1878, aged 52, and his sons James, Alfred and Arthur took over the running of the business. Throughout its history, J.W. Benson Ltd was official watchmaker to the Admiralty & the War Department and also held a number of royal warrants, being watchmakers to Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales, the Tsar of Russia and several other royal families. The company’s premises were: Cornhill (1847–64), Ludgate Hill (1854-1937), Old Bond Street (1872-3), Royal Exchange (1892-1937) and their original workshop was at 4-5 Horseshoe Court (at the rear of their Ludgate Hill premises). In 1892 it became a limited company and moved to their new ‘steam’ factory at 38 Belle Sauvage Yard.

During W.W.I. the factory was bombed, destroying thousands of timepieces and from this point on the company no longer manufactured its own watches, but still continued as a retailer. The timepieces bearing the company name used high quality Swiss movements supplied by manufacturers such as, Vertex (Revue), Cyma/Tavannes, Longines and by the English maker, S. Smith & Sons. J. W. Benson Ltd continued until 1973 at which time the name was sold to the Royal jewellers, Garrards.

Cars from the Milhous Collection

Back in 2010, Ligia and I had the privilege of seeing a unique collection of vintage and classic cars in South Florida. It was not open to the public, and although we were allowed to take photos and graciously shown around, we were asked not to mention the name of the collection. Instead, we needed to refer to it as “a private, exclusive South Florida organ and car collection”. I abided by those terms all these years, until now.

It is no longer necessary to do so, because in 2012, the Milhous brothers auctioned off the entire collection. Everything went. The entire collection was auctioned off in February 2012 for a total sale price of $38.3 million USD. Since the collection no longer exists and is now spread among various other collectors located who knows where, and it’s been more than three years since the sale and dissolution, the terms of our agreement no longer apply.

This means you are fortunate enough to see immaculately restored cars that few people have ever seen, cars so rare they sell for millions of dollars and for some models, fewer than five exist in the world altogether.

The car that sold for the most money at the auction was a 1912 Oldsmobile Limited Touring. But there is one car prominently featured in the gallery you see here, a car I fell in love with right away, a car I consider to be the most beautiful in the world, a car so special I had to stand at a distance from it and take it all in before I could approach it and touch it. That car is a butter-white 1934 V-16 Cadillac Fleetwood Roadster. It’s a drop-dead gorgeous example of streamline moderne design and it’s a car that will forever hold a special place in my heart.

I truly hope you’ll enjoy these photos. You don’t get to see stuff like this every day.

A quick intro to the Dacia 1100

Have you ever wondered what one of the first cars made in Romania looks like? It was first made in 1968 and it was called the Dacia 1100. It was a faithful copy of the Renault 8 and it was, in my opinion, a beautiful car. Perhaps it was under-powered, but given its chassis, suspension and brakes, that was a good thing. The production of the Dacia 1100 lasted from 1968-1972, after which it was replaced by the Dacia 1300, itself a copy of the Renault 12.

I always found the design of the 1100 much more handsome than that of the 1300 and since only 44,000 of them were sold, they’re quite the rare sight. There were almost 2,000,000 Dacia 1300 models made but given their age and poor construction, they’ve become a rare thing these days as well.

The Romanian Dacia 1100 Club paid a visit to Medias today and several beautiful Dacia 1100 cars were on display, including a couple of the more powerful 1100S variant. That’s where I took these photos, which I hope you’ll enjoy!

Here’s more info on Dacia cars, on the 1100 model and also on the 1300 model.