This is a vintage 1963 Watkins Dominator guitar amplifier. This Mark 1, Series 2, Blue Panel, Dominator is the best-sounding and rarest version produced. The Mark I Dominator is famous for both its incredibly gorgeous exterior and the monstrous tone it produces. Rivaling the incredible sound of an 18-watt Marshall Baby Bluesbreaker, the Dominator lives up to its title, and when compared to other amps of its size and stature, it literally dominates. Not much can be added to the illustrious praise-filled dialogue that has always showered the Watkins “V-Front” Dominator, so I will keep the superfluous celebratory comments to a minimum, because as of this point, you should know how I feel about it.
This ’63 V-Front Watkins Dominator features: (2) original 10″ Elac speakers, (2) original EL84 power tubes, original Mullard (1) EZ81 and (3) ECC83 tubes, (4) inputs, (2) channels, original Hunts, Plessey, and Mullard “Mustard” capacitors.
While this example is not in perfect, nor mint, cosmetic condition, it still remains on of the finest example of which I’ve been able to locate photographic evidence on the internet. Since the exterior is mostly cream-colored, it appears that it has faded and been slightly dirtied by natural dust. The “pinstripe” grill cloth is in pristine condition, void of rips, tears, and stains. It appears that it was stored for years with the cover on, as the majority of tolex fatigue is located where the cover does not conceal, i.e. the bottom, and near the edge of the bottom. Several of the original knobs are missing their chrome insert tabs. Though it is slightly distracting, the chrome center caps came on most Watkins amp models, and can easily be restored for a very nominal investment. Also, the amp does not come with its tremolo footswitch with an RCA jack, also easily purchased separately if need be. Perhaps the only aspect of this amp that can eclipse the importance of its impressive condition, is the way it sounds. Thankfully, this perfectly preserved (with respect to its internal integrity) example sounds incredible and works perfectly. The speakers are in excellent functional condition, and the amp itself works efficiently. It is loud, full-range, and over-flowing with sweet saturated sustain. When directly compared to a 1966 VOX AC-15, which also features a 2 x 10″ configuration, I felt embarrassed for the nasally squawk of the VOX. Sure, the VOX sounds good, and is still a moderately high standard, but the Watkins blew it out of the water, and was instantly recognized as the champion. When used in conjunction with a Les Paul or any other Gibson-style guitar with humbucking pickups, the amp responds in a fantastically musical manner, and really exhibits its full potential.