SMITHS 'De Luxe' Cheltenham


Rare example of Smiths largest and best finished model - the English 'calatrava'

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Three-piece 9ct pink gold case with faceted lugs and concave bezel, retaining its original gold button, hallmarked Edinburgh 1960, sponsor's mark SCW (Smiths Clock & Watch Division). Smiths classic 12.15 gilt movement with 'Permalife' unbreakable mainspring upgraded to have 18 jewels, as also noted on the dial. Double-roller detached lever escapement with steel escape, the monometallic balance with beryllium balance-spring having an overcoil, as reserved for Smiths best work. Silvered dial with applied gold faceted batons and dots, gold hands. 35 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. Together with makers velvet lined leather covered box.

These largest sized De Luxe models were rarely advertised by Smiths and one of the few times I have seen this exact model (A.522) is in their 1957 catalogue, page 62. 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 movement unusually does not bear any number, which one occasionally finds in Smiths rather chaotic output. Please also note that 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 wherever possible original, as here, rather than refinished dials.

Some minor signs of the expected wear with a slight overall yellowing of the dial lacquer, otherwise a very good original example of Smiths largest and best finished wristwatch in a gold case that is of such a lovely design - the rear with presentation engraving to C W BURTON...1961. It stands up well in comparison to any 'high end' Swiss wristwatches of the period - I prefer Smiths. NB: The original Smiths 9ct gold buckle has sadly not survived a past strap change, but I have fitted a new contemporary brown leather strap of the best quality - unpadded and instantly comfortable. Cleaned for its previous owner and working correctly.