ROTHERHAMS No 263444, for BATTY, Manchester


Rare larger size all-English made wristwatch with good enamel dial.

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3-piece 9ct gold case with jointed back and fixed 'wire' lugs, hallmarked Birmingham 1924, casemaker R&S (Rotherham & Son). Rotherhams larger sized three quarter-plate 'Super Grade' movement nicely engraved for its retailer, the jewels in screw held settings. Single-roller detached lever escapement. Compensation balance, balance-spring with overcoil. Lovely signed enamel dial with red 12, blued-steel hands. 33 mm diameter, not including lugs or button.

William Batty & Sons Ltd ' Makers to the Admiralty' Manchester, also with a shop in Liverpool at this date, retailers.

Rotherham & Son, suppliers of most of the good quality wristwatch movements found in English work. They produced two sizes of movement used in their wristwatches, in two basic qualities, both jewelled to the 3rd (17-jewels). They were expensive when sold and survivors of these all-English made wristwatches are now very rare. NB: Both the lager and smaller sized watches were sold as 'gentleman's wristlet watches,' as can be seen in the page I have reproduced from Rotherham's 1926 catalogue, this model costing no less than £26/5/- in 9ct. The firm also produced wristwatches for women but these cases do not have wire lugs for leather straps, though I am sure that many women will have worn them as, evening wear watches apart, Rotherham's designs at this time are better regarded as unisex.

For more information about English wristwatches see the short note in my website Glossary, and my illustrated article on ‘English Wristwatches’ in the April 2000 issue of Antique Collecting. NB: This case style is not waterproof and all English wristwatches of this date are best kept well away from damp conditions.

The button has been replaced at some point (it is a correct early wristwatch pattern), the hallmarks are rubbed but readable, and the dial with a couple of hair cracks at the edge, between 3 and 4, but mostly hidden under the bezel. Otherwise a rare English wristwatch retailed by this interesting Manchester firm. On new/old stock open-ended brown leather strap. Serviced and guaranteed.