SMITHS '12.15' Cheltenham. No C40519


£ 495.00

Early example in unusually fine original condition, with original strap, circa 1949.

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Stylish 3-piece steel and chromed case, the mat chromed middle section with horned lugs, a polished steel bezel and a snap-on back, with its original slim, low domed crown. Smiths 12.15 C-series gilded movement, as originally designed by Rene Lenoir and his team around 1945. Double-roller detached lever escapement with steel club-tooth escape, the monometallic balance with timing screws and Beryllium balance-spring. Silvered 'deco' dial with Smiths original slim baton hands. 31 mm diameter, not including button or lugs. 

A good example of one of Smiths earliest 12.15 watches, from before they were given the De Luxe name. This is their 5RG model as described in Smiths earliest advert for their new 'British Made' watches in various 1974 issues of the Horological Journal. 

Smiths wristwatches are known in cases bearing Birmingham hallmarks for 1946 (covering the period July '46 to June '47 in Birmingham) but none in cases from 1945 or before. My records show that these '46 cases mostly contain A- and B-prefix movements, but also some early C-prefix examples. This suggests that Smiths ironed out production difficulties during the immediate postwar year of '46 and it was only when they felt that everything was under control that they were cased and advertised for sale in 1947, with pre-prefix, A-, B- and early C-prefix examples all being part of this earliest commercial venture. Design and prototype production had begun prior to 1945, but this had been aimed at military, not civilian use.

NB: All of this earliest Smiths output shows hand finishing and individual touches and they must rate as among the rarest and most difficult to find in good condition - the cases are not waterproof. This steel and chromed case is almost certainly by Dennison, though it bears no stamps. Please also know that most Smiths watches that are advertised by their sellers as having original straps do in fact have later straps - this original example is also a very rare survivor.

The case in fine unblemished condition showing almost no signs of wear, as does the dial. Only the crystal has a few light scratches but, as it is almost certainly the original, I have decided not to replace it - the shape of modern acrylic crystals is not as good. This most original example even comes with its period Smiths leather strap which, though showing its age, is still useable. I can supply an appropriate new/old stock black leather Sonit strap at no extra charge if wanted - see pic. Serviced, guaranteed, and in lovely original condition, a watch worthy of any serious Smiths collection.