1959 Watkins Westminster

1959 Watkins Westminster

(Circa 1959) Watkins Westminster 10 watt tube amp. While originally considered a student/practice amp, this well-engineered compact combo packs quite the punch. Famously used by The Beatles, in their early days at the Star Club, the Watkins Westminster was the introductory amp used by aspiring English rockers the country over. This particular example, serial number 1103T is in very excellent cosmetic condition, and is extremely well preserved. Most definitely worthy of the finest amp collection, I searched for a long time to find an example this nice. It also happens to be in perfect working condition, and it sounds amazing.

The Westminster was the first Watkins amp to be produced in any quantity in 1955, following earlier limited runs of experimental models. The earliest versions were apparently in plain grey coverings, similar to the Clubman amp. Although not having any dateable components, this amp is late 50′s with the blood and custard covering, plexi panel, gold metal grill, and the early versions had black control panels.

This Westminster is the 10 watt version equipped with tremolo. There was a period from around 1959 to 1962, however, when two varieties existed : the usual 10watt single-channel 2-input version, and a 14 watt 2-channel 4-input version with a control panel and chassis very similar to the Dominator. (A version in a V-front cabinet also existed briefly.)

This amp may be small (the cabinet measures 16 7/8″ x 8 1/8″ x 13 3/4″), but it sounds HUGE. The best part about these tiny 10 watt vintage amps is the beautiful overdriven sound you can get without exploding your ear drums, and without overly fatiguing the small 10″ Elac speaker.

The “Red Star” covering (red and white tu-tone with white dots and black stars) is in very excellent original condition. The gold metal grills on the front and back of the amp are super crisp, intact, and beautiful. This amp would be all original if it weren’t for some silicon added around one edge of the cone in effort to preserve the original cone, and some inevitable changed capacitors, as well as, the original power cable being replaced to a more modern three pronged grounded cable. There are two stamps on the speaker. One reads, 10N/49, and the other reads, 1618. Included is the original footswitch also in very nice cosmetic condition and perfect working condition. This amp is currently wired at the transformer at 110v.

These amps are extremely hard to come by, especially in this condition with the original footswitch.

Price: $1,199