Rare square shaped all-English wristwatch, in good original condition.
Heavy 9ct gold case with wire lugs, unusually with jointed back and bezel, hallmarked Birmingham 1929, sponsor's mark R&S (Rotherham & Son). Rotherhams ‘A grade’ three quarter-plate movement jewelled to the 3rd, with cap jewels on balance, lever and escape. Single-roller detached lever escapement with brass club-tooth (divided lift) escape. Compensation balance, blued-steel balance-spring with overcoil. Silvered STEIGER dial with black enamelled figures and a dark blued enamelled 12, original blued-steel hands. 35 mm across corners, not including lugs or button.
Rotherham & Son, by this time the largest and one of the best watch manufactures in the UK, suppliers of most of the good quality wristwatch movements found in English work. Rotherhams produced two basic qualities, both jewelled to the 3rd: 'A' and 'Super' grade. This square shape was Rotherhams most expensive model (in 18ct) and very few are known to have survived. This example is also the only one I have ever seen that has a jointed back and bezel, others are snap-on. See the page I reproduce from Rotherhams catalogue of circa 1926 - it shows this 9ct model cost £19/5/0
The Swiss/German firm of Steiger supplied the best silvered dials of the period in which the numerals were fired rather than painted on. They were only rarely used by Rotherhams I believe, mainly for this square model, not only because they were more expensive that the usual enamel, but I have never seen a square enamel dial. This example is also rare for having a dark blue numeral 12. Most examples I have seen are either red or do not bear a different colour. I should add, however, that the blue on this dial is so dark it is difficult to make out from the rest in black.
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.
Plain case with no previous engravings, just general signs of use and age related marks to the movement and dial, and the present acrylic crystal with some light age related striations. Otherwise one of the rarest of all English wristwatches in generally good condition, and which would benefit from having a new crystal fitted. The present black leather open-ended strap has been worn, but is still usable. The movement has also been recently serviced and comes with my usual guarantee.
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