SMITHS ‘Imperial’ Cheltenham. No 5810


English centre-seconds wristwatch, in wonderful original condition, circa 1960.

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Two-piece gold plated case with snap-on back carrying no marks. Smiths Cal: 0104, 19 jewel, shockproof movement. Double-roller lever escapement with steel escape, the monometallic balance with ‘chronospan’ balance-spring. Silvered dial with a mixture of gilded Arabic numerals and faceted batons, original matching gilt hands the centre-seconds with the usual red tip. 35 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. Together with its original velvet and silk lined Smiths Imperial box and folding certificate/guarantee.

This is a particularly stylish centre-seconds watch with their newly designed movements developed especially by Smiths for their new Imperial models introduced in 1958. I cannot find the model number for this gold plated example but it is similar to the stainless-steel model I.303 that was advertised at the time. 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: 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 rather than refinished dials.

This watch and particularly the dial is in the best condition I have handled, showing almost no signs of wear or age and without any presentation engraving, the plating being so good that one can easily think it solid gold. The light grey Smiths Imperial box also in lovely condition but the guarantee, which has never been filled in, has some light spotting. Fitted with new best quality Hirsch black leather strap. Serviced and guaranteed.