SMITHS, No C32208, for Tho RUSSELL & Son


Classic early Smiths wristwatch in good original condition.

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3-part 9ct gold DENNISON case hallmarked Birmingham 1948, case style 12332, case number 186208. Smiths 12.15 movement, as designed by Rene Lenoir and his team (not Jaeger) at their Cheltenham works around 1945/6. Double-roller detached lever escapement with steel escape, the monometallic balance with beryllium balance-spring. Two-tone silvered 'deco' dial with Smiths original blued-steel needle hands. 31 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. 

Thomas Russell & Son, famous Liverpool watchmakers in the late 19th and early 20th century, but by this time retailers only. Among many interesting watches made or sold by them, they have the distinction of being the first company in the world to offer wristwatches to men, pre 1900, before Omega, Cartier or any of the Swiss manufacturers.

A good example of one of Smiths earliest designs for their new top quality wristwatches, from before they were given the DeLuxe name. For more information about Smiths English wristwatches see the short note in my website Glossary, and my illustrated article on Smiths ‘English Wristwatches’ in the April 2003 issue of Antique Collecting. The Horological Journal carries an advert in their August 1949 issue that shows the case (RH.0709) and the dial (RH.0810) as seen in this watch.

NB: This case style is not waterproof and all Smiths wristwatches of this date are best kept well away from damp conditions.

The 'ub' (unbreakable) acrylic crystal is scratched, the dial has some minor age spots and the case shows some of the expected signs of use - gold is relatively soft. Otherwise in much better condition than most  pre-1950 Smiths watches, few of which survive in gold cases from this time. Fitted with new/old stock black leather strap. Not cleaned by me (priced accordingly) but will tick when wound. It would look so much better with a new crystal and the case lightly polished.