ROTHERHAMS No 353880, for ASHLEY & SIMS, London


£ 695.00

Rare all English wristwatch, by the originators, with later retailers box.

More details

3-part 9ct gold cushion shaped case with jointed back and bezel, pin-set hand setting, English winding button and wire lugs taking a 12 mm strap, hallmarked London 1924, 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 with red 12, with Rotherhams stylish spade hands. 27.5 diameter, not including lugs or button. Together with retailers silk and velvet lined box in lovely condition.

Ashley & Sims 'Watch & Chronometer Manufacturers' 2 Green Terrace Clerkenwell, for whom William (Bill) Gazeley worked, and who ran the firm after the second World War. This firm continued on from Edward F Ashley (1835-1908), a well respected Clerkenwell watch manufacturer who is said to have personally overseen the manufacture of all his watches.

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 (17-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 - this 9ct 'Lentille' model with A-grade movement priced at £17/15/-. 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 wristwatches 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 mens wristwatches, 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.

Worn plating to button (as usual) and a faint hair crack in dial, otherwise a very rare all English made wristwatch in good original condition. Fitted with new/old stock pigskin leather strap. Cleaned for its previous owner and working well, but can be freshly serviced if wanted - my approx cost for this would be £120 plus VAT.