Has Anyone Owned Or Heard A Pair Of Watkins WE-1?

The only info I can find is a review in Stereophile from 1983 by J. Gordon Holt.
It just so happens I heard them today. I don't think the stereophile review is too off the mark, but the bass is deep. I was very impressed. I currently own a pair of Hales Revelation 3, but I can get the Watkins for less than I can sell the Hales for. I'm considering it.

Unfortunately, I didn't get a lot of time with the speakers. I bought an Eagle 7a amp from the guy, and it was powering the speakers. One thing that is holding me back is resale - if I ever tried to sell them, who has heard of them? Also, they are huge! 51 1/2 inches high, not including the casters, 32 inches wide, and about 9 inches deep. They move very well on the casters, though. The stereophile review mentioned a verson II - I'm going to call the company and see if an upgrade is available.
I was a dealer for them for a short time back in the 1983 time frame.
As I recall they had the Watkins Dual coil (used by Infinity), drivers. Made in Tennessee, by the gentleman who designed that driver.
They are flat, kind thick, maybe six to eight inches thick; overstuffed with acoustic material, with acoustically padded material, (around the drivers) and sounded pretty good for a speaker from that era. Dipole? Dead brain cells are trying to remember this.
I do remember that that I thought them pleasant. Retailed for about $1800 to $2500. at introduction.
Made in limited qantities.
Ahh, memories. Pretty good sounding, and Mr. Watkins was a truly 'good audio guy'.
Good luck.
I owned a pair of Watkins WE-1's for 18 years and then upgraded them to the WE-1A after buying the parts and schematic from Mr. Watkins for two more years. They never let me down and I finally had to sell them when I moved to PR for several years for my job (they would not have survived the trip by boat in a container to PR). I really did not notice a big change in the bass when I upgraded. the Tweeter range was extended down to 1500hz from 2500hz and the mid's were cut off a 100hz instead of running full range. The 40hz crossover to the sub was removed and all three 8" drivers covered the same frequency.

The other issue I had was replacing the bexetrene 5" mid's when their surrounds rotted out after many years. I will advise you that you need a "BIG" room for them to sound their best. I had them in a 16'x13'x8' room for many years about 4' from the rear wall and 3' from the side wall and they imaged deasantly. However, I will never forget when I had to move them to the garage while my wife got the carpets cleaned. I set them an played them there and and the bass almost knocked the garage door openers off the ceiling. They will play incredibaly loud without strain so watch your ears and keep them away from teenagers trying to impress their friends. They also need a LOT OF POWER since they are acoutstic suspension type speakers--no ports to boost the sounds--so give them about 200watts a side-8ohms but they are more like 4 ohm speakers. I saw a pair on audiogon and I might buy them just for the nostalgia and do the WE-1A upgrade. Good luck, dave
The Watkins speakers and Eagle 7A amp are a very good match. I knew a fellow years ago who had that setup. He also had some ARC amps, I think M300s, that sounded good with them, too, but the Eagle was no slouch. Both companies are long gone, although http://www.eagle-audio.com offers service and upgrades. My memory of the sound is distant at best, and they may not hold up to comparison with some of today's offerings. But if the price is right and you really like them, you might consider buying the speakers. Be aware that replacement drivers may not be available, however. Resale value might not be much.
Long ago, when I worked in the mid to high end audio world from 1988 to 1995, a co-worker and friend had a pair of WE-1's. His name is Rick Walker, and he worked for Watkins back in the day. He was also worked on their design. So outside of Mr. Watkins himself, you might say that Rick was a pretty good authority on them. Rick is an actual engineer and on occasion has designed and built amps and preamps for clients. When we worked together, I was the head of custom installation and he was the head of the repair department for a certain retail store in Charlotte, NC. Rick's system consisted of the Watkins WE-1 speakers, Mark Levinson ML-2 mono amplifiers, Nakamichi CA-5 preamp, Oracle Delphi MK IV turntable, a Rowland modified Sony 707ES CD player, and a mass of MIT cables. I had listened to Rick's system on several occasions and was always blown away by the sound quality. He really knew what worked with those speakers. I have listened to many systems throughout my time in the business, many of them being cost-is-no-object, and still Rick's system ranks at or near the top. Of course Rick had in his closet of spare equipment something I wish I'd bought from him back then- an Infinity Hybrid Class A amplifier. He let me take it home for a couple of months to use. I loved the sound of that amp on my KEF's. I'd pay real money to have it now... oh, well.
Some years ago my job as a sales rep covered eastern Tn. As an audiophile, I had read about the WE-1's. and when passing Watkins Stereo, I had not made any connection but turned around and went into the store. I met Bill Sr. and have to say, he is one of the most interesting and entertaining people in his field. I was asking questions, I now can't even remember what I asked. When Mr. Watkins said. "follow me". I followed him around the sales counter,through what appeared to be a test/repair room, down some steps into a dimly lit, old building basement. He said "look at this" and handed me a woofer. In examining it I noted and said "This is a dual voice coil woofer. He replyed, yes I designed it and pattened it. Then I made the connection and responded, "you are William Watkins". We had a great conversation, which I charish to this day. I asked him about the individual drivers in the WE-1 and ended up purchasing four of these Audax 5 1/4" drivers. I would like to use them in a speaker build and would love to have a crossover schematic. If anyone could help with this it would be most helpful. I emailed the store a few years ago and Bill Jr. returned my inquiry, saying senior came in the store almost daily, as he was getting on in age, but was well. I hope he has not passed. If so, may God bless a man who fulfilled his passion and contributed to a shared passion with others.
After a year of not locating a c/o schematic on the WE-1's. I went back a read the the above tread again, referencing Rick Walker and that he had worked with Bill Watkins and was living in Charlotte NC, near where I now live. I googled Rick's name and found a listing, as he has been doing repairs out of his home. To make a long story short. Rick had been fighting with cancer and passed away this week. Services were held yesterday at 59 years.
Rick Walker was one of my best friends for a very long time.  We were inseparable and started a company together back in the '80s called Audible Perfection, where we designed and built hi-end pre-amps, amps, and had one limited run of very nice speakers that absolutely blew stuff like Rogers LS3-5As away - they were close to the same size.  Bill Sr. helped us a little with the crossover and sourcing the drivers, as we used the same Audax mid-range and tweeters from the WE-1/WE-1A speakers for our design.  As I was in the industry, we sold them mostly to music producers, like Mitch Easter and Don Dixon, etc.  Back in those days, when I wasn't working with Rick and AP, I was engineering and/or producing music, or on tour as a Front-of-House engineer/producer for many bands. 

Eventually, our lives took us apart due to all my traveling.  I only learned of his passing about 1.5 years ago.  I was quite saddened by the news.  He was a good and knowledgeable guy.  I hope Steph and Sam are doing well after losing him.

I too had a pair of WE-1s (actually, mine were 1As) and used Levinson 20.5s to power them (as stated above, Rick used ML-2s.)  After years of ownership, I conducted some crossover updates to modernize it and changed all the internal wiring to much better Levinson cable.  It opened them up significantly more than they already were.  I got Bill Sr.'s approval for the mods but he never actually heard them.  Later, I needed $ to convert my listening room to more of a control room to work on mixes, etc. when not on the road and couldn't afford to have both consumer gear and pro gear in the same space - space-wise or money-wise.  So I ended up selling the my rig consumer to fund the project.  I now wish I had the WE-1As back.  I'd love to own another pair.

On a recent (3/2016) visit to Watkins Stereo, I saw Bill Jr's pair of WE-1s sitting in a room but he won't part with them.  I also saw Bill Sr. himself! He is older now and showing it a fair amount.  He didn't even remember me, but to be fair it's been 20 years since we've seen each other and probably 10 since we last spoke.  I'd only been at the store for about 15-20 minutes speaking with Bill Jr and Barry, and Bill Sr. kicked me outta the store because it was 4pm - closing time.  Yelling to Barry, who works there: "You need to get rid of that guy.... NOW!!"  LOL
Bill Sr. has ALWAYS been quite eccentric and socially challenged.  Often funny, often grouchy, and always determined to have his way.  So this was no different.  I guess that's good - it means he's still himself.  He's a VERY smart man.  Eccentricity often accompanies high intelligence and Bill's a walking example of that.  "Get out y're terlit paper!"  LOL

Bill Jr's also quite a smart guy, yet a little more mellow than his dad. :-)

Anyway, they have a new, small speaker that they've put together and it sounds pretty good.  It's worth checking out and giving a listen.  Check their website for particulars (www.watkinsstereo.com) if interested.

While I wouldn't mind having a pair of the new speakers, I still pine for my WE-1As.  Mine were 4-checkmarks... If you know Bill and the WE-1s that will make sense to you; if not, it means they met Bill Sr's highest standards.  I miss those speakers for pleasurable listening and will continue to hunt for another pair. 
If anyone here has a pair you'd like to sell; please look me up!  My pro speakers (Genelecs) are great for critical listening like tracking or mastering but they are way too clinical and direct for pleasurable listening.  Extremely accurate - actually too accurate for pleasurable listening.  As Bill has always put it, Watkins speakers are "Musical" which bodes very well for enjoying music as opposed to actually making it.  Even by today's standards, the WE-1A is still a fantastic speaker system.  If you can get a listen, do so!!  They do require serious power (ML-2s not withstanding - you could still arc weld with the 2s!) though, so keep that in mind!