SMITHS '12.15' Cheltenham. No A5620


Early Smiths wristwatch (pre-De Luxe) in good original condition.

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9ct gold case hallmarked Birmingham 1946, casemaker ALD (Dennison). Early gilt finished Smiths 12.15 movement with lightly stamped name and number, a rare example of the short lived A-series. Double-roller detached lever escapement with steel escape, the monometallic balance with beryllium balance-spring. Silvered dial with Smiths classic Arabic hour numerals matched with original gilt 'needle' hands and arrow-head seconds. 31 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. 

A very rare gold cased example of one of Smiths earliest designs for their new top quality wristwatches (from before they were given the De Luxe name) first available from early in 1947. Smiths wristwatches are known in cases bearing Birmingham hallmarks for 1946 (covering the period July '46 to June '47 in Birmingham) but none in cases from 1945 or before. My records show that these '46 cases contain pre-prefix, A- and B-prefix movements, and some very early C-prefix examples. This suggests that Smiths ironed out production difficulties during the immediate postwar year of '46 and it was only when they felt that everything was under control that they were cased and advertised for sale, with the mix of early serial numbered examples all being part of this earliest commercial venture. Design and prototype production had begun prior to 1945, but this had been aimed at military, not civilian use.

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. NB: This case style is not waterproof and all Smiths wristwatches of this date are best kept well away from damp conditions. Please also be aware that most Smiths wristwatches that survive show all the signs of much use, often with water damage, particularly to the dial. I do not deal in such watches and offer only those examples that have survived in very good or better condition with original (as here) rather than refinished dials.

A rare chance to obtain a gold cased Smiths English wristwatch from this immediate post-war period - few will have been able to afford the then price of £25. Case, dial and movement in good original condition, especially the dial which, although not perfect, has survived in better condition than just about all I have seen from this earliest date. Note also the unusual seconds which I believe is original. On new dark brown leather strap. Not serviced by me but appears to be working well.