Rare early C-prefix Smiths wristwatch cased in gold, in lovely original condition.
Stylish 9ct gold 3-part Dennison case with 'horned' lugs, hallmarked Birmingham 1947. Smiths 12.15 movement, as originally designed by Rene Lenoir and his team at Bishops Cleeve in Cheltenham around 1945. Double-roller detached lever escapement with polished steel club-tooth escape, the monometallic balance with timing screws and Beryllium balance-spring. Silvered dial in the 'art deco' taste with Smiths lovely earlier style of gilt hands. 31 mm diameter, not including button or lugs.
This is one of the earliest examples I have seen of Smiths new top quality wristwatches cased in gold rather than gilded or chromed. From before they were given the De Luxe name, these stylish watches were first available to the public from early in 1947 but post-war austerity and rationing was the norm and very few will have been able to afford to buy a gold watch (priced at £25) at this period, even fewer will have survived being scrapped. This model is also one of my favourite and most stylish of all Smiths wristwatches.
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 original (as here) rather than refinished dials. 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.
One of the best examples I have handled of this model, the dial showing almost no signs of the usual ageing and the watch is in fine overall condition. Cased in solid gold, it is mentioned but not shown in Smiths early literature, the plated model number being A.302. Gold examples, in this condition, are truly very rare. Supplied on a new/old stock contemporary leather strap (goat skin), a perfect match for the watch. Serviced for its previous owner and working well.
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