Rare 18ct all-English wristwatch, with provenance.
3-part gold case with jointed back, pin-set, English button and wire lugs, hallmarked London 1928, casemaker R&S (Rotherham & Son). Rotherhams smaller sized three quarter-plate ‘super grade’ movement jewelled to the 3rd, with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape. Single-roller detached lever escapement with ratchet tooth escape. Compensation balance, blued-steel balance-spring with overcoil. Signed enamel dial, blued-steel hands. 31 mm diameter, not including lugs or button.
W H Maton, Queen Street, Cardiff, jewellers.
Rotherham & Sons, 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, the A-grade with 17-jewels, the super grade with extra cap jeweling (19 jewels). They were expensive when sold and survivors of these all-English made wristwatches are now very rare indeed. NB: Both the lager and smaller sized watches were sold as 'Gentlemen's Wristlet Watches,' as can be seen in the page I have reproduced from Rotherham's 1926 catalogue - a similar 'Lentille' model, with super-grade movement and in an 18ct case, is priced at no less than £29/15/-, a fortune at the time.
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. Evening wear wristlet watches apart, Rotherham's standard wire lug models would be better thought of as unisex in design. NB: Rotherhams have the right to be considered the original supplier of wristwatches for men, with surviving wire lug hallmarked examples dating from before 1900 - this was before any Swiss company was doing so.
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.
Gold shell lacking from button (as usual) and the faintest hair crack in the dial edge (near 2), otherwise a very rare 18ct English made wristwatch in very good original condition. The inside of the rear cover with presentation engraving for its first owner Douglas Howard Keatinge dated 1928, the rear of the case with lovely Baird Family coat of arms with VI ET VIRTU (Strength and Valor) motto, one of the finest such engravings I have seen on any wristwatch, and this one shows virtually no signs of wear. Fitted with new/old stock 'MLP for Quality' 10 mm wide leather strap. Serviced and guaranteed.
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