Smiths largest De Luxe model, the English 'calatrava'
2-piece 9ct gold case hallmarked Edinburgh 1953, casemaker BWC (British Watch Cases). Smiths classic 12.15 gilt movement with 'Permalife' unbreakable mainspring, as first designed by Rene Lenoir and his team (not Jaeger) at Cheltenham around 1946. Double-roller detached lever escapement with polished steel escape, the monometallic balance with beryllium balance-spring. Smith most stylish silvered dial with a mixture of square gilt batons and numerals, with original matching gilt hands. 35 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. Together with Smiths original De Luxe leather covered "presentation" box.
This is Smiths A.526 model, shown on page 75 of their 1955 catalogue. Although only used on their 15-jewel as opposed to 18-jewel models, this is my favourite of all Smiths dial designs, the orientation and size of the hour markers being perfect to my eye. 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 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.
The dial showing one minor blemish that shows up in certain lighting (between 4 and 5) and some of the usual tonal ageing to the lacquer. Otherwise a good original example of Smiths largest wristwatch, in its box. Serviced, guaranteed and fitted with a brand new tan leather best quality Hirsch leather strap and a new/old stock Smith winding button.
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