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Thread: **** Let's talk smiths - Here there or everywhere ****

  1. #1
    MWC is that my watch's Avatar
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    **** Let's talk smiths - Here there or everywhere ****



    well the back story of the smiths watches is legendary . S Smith & Sons, watch and clock makers since 1851, who then diversified into motor, aviation and marine instruments. was given a M.O.D contract during the second world war and in fear of being bombed during the war moved to Cheltenham one of the first stealth watch factory (single story with grass roofs) and even under these trying conditions managed to produce, pocket watches, and by the end of WWII, wrist watches.

    Then after the war the prices was very fair for a all English made watch at around £500 by modern standard for auto's and about £250 for hand-winding these are loose sums just to give an idea. something like £24 and £10 old money. Now how to spot where they come from is good to learn as it will seriously affect the price you want to pay as a good smith can be plus a grand for a w10 and some of the other models are plus £300 upwards depend if and when made. but other can be fairly cheap if welsh / swiss ones can be had in fair condition for well under a ton.

    You had three stages of the smiths :

    Cheltenham-made the best a lot of collectors think and I tend to think the same, as they have the highest grade movements and more time was spent on the dials and cases. the dials have various names some might even just have astral. also smiths de luxe (my favourite I have a fairly early one ) smiths Everest, smiths astral, and two that I ant seen much of the smiths imperial and the smiths national. I do believe they was even a dial that says benson with I think an 18 jewelled garrard movement.



    Welsh-made came from the Anglo-Celtic watch company in Ystradgynlais. ( tik tok as the workers called it ) was a part of Smiths Industries Ltd, Dials say Smiths Empire and has Made in Great Britain. seen a lot on the pocket watches and some wrist watches . they had some really funky dial choices,bulleye for one sort after in a way BUT the movements are very basic and are hard to service . so to me they fall under the k.I.C rule for me anyway ( Keep It Cheap ) but fun to own and use and to hunt for some well most seem over price as of the name but when sold tend to be cheap at auction type prices over the buy now prices.



    Swiss-made or Japanese-made These where from the last stages of the company before they closed . The Swiss movements are general lower end swiss movement, they looked pretty good and some do last (had one myself ) even thou it look nice and did the job with out the made in England on the bottom of the dial it just did not do it for me. this being said they did make the plastic Astrolon which has a place of interest to most watch lovers. and the Japanese Hamazawa movements where work horse movements which was all for the good and where pretty fair too lets be honest so nice to own but not in the same league.. so yes another K.I.C . on the good side they tended to be of a much bigger size watch 36mm-38mm.



    quick hint for working out where made :

    ‘Made in England’ on the dial, English early very good think apart from smiths imperials think unmarked on the dial.
    ‘Made in Great Britain’ it means Wales so remember K.I.C .
    "Made in Swiss" mean foreign .. mixed bag of tricks some good some not again K.I.C .

    Also remember we are taking vintage sizes except for some of the Swiss smiths and the pocket watches the size on the British/welsh was anywhere from 31mm up to the max of the 35 mm on some of the military smiths.

    Best one to go for hmmm three spring to mind :

    Smiths W10:

    one of a special breed. The watch was part of a contract that Smiths won to supply the army with a General Service watch, they supplied the watches for the years from 1967 - 1970. The watch has an all stainless steel case and the movement inside is protected from magnetic fields by an iron dial and an iron dust cover which sits inside the case back. The movement of the watch is Smiths 27.CS which has been significantly improved with a Breguet-overcoil balance spring made of steel. The movement also features a device to stop the mechanism when the winding crown is pulled out, this allows the movement to be accurately set to a reference time source and was part of the original military specification.

    The Smiths De Luxe ( know as the Everest watch)

    In its water-resistant case, this was the watch carried by Sir Edmund Hillary on his Everest ascent but their is a thought this may not be the case I know matt has spent some time and effort looking in to this worth finding his threads on this subject well worth a read. impossible to get hold of now for most of use .. Timefactor did two versions on it ages back and have tweaked it again of late and is still available at the moment from eddie.

    YOU also have the A454 and A460 the ‘Antarctic’ models, as supplied to the 1957 British Antarctic expedition that Hillary also took part in. These have a central seconds hand and an outer minute track. which are a little easier to get hold off.

    Thanks for reading I might do a further thread on smiths at some point.

    As always ismy

  2. #2
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    And the clocks. For people of my age, there was probably one of these in the classroom, workplace or railway station -


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    And one of these on the mantelpiece at home -


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    You could easily have thought that there were only two or three clock manufacturers in the world, and that Smiths had the largest share of the market.


    Little-known fact

    You can buy reproductions of old Smiths clocks, made by Lascelles. Lascelles had previously made Smiths clocks under licence from the original Smiths, after Smiths had got out of the watch and clock business. When Eddie Platts acquired the Smiths trademark it included the trademark for clocks. Eddie offered Lascelles a free licence to continue using the trademark for clocks.

    Free. The reproduction clocks are sold all over Britain, and further, via Amazon and the internet.


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  3. #3
    Moderator gnuyork's Avatar
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    Also love to see Smiths instruments in my favorite British roadster:


  4. #4
    Me too




  5. #5
    MWC is that my watch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribe125 View Post

    Little-known fact

    You can buy reproductions of old Smiths clocks, made by Lascelles. Lascelles had previously made Smiths clocks under licence from the original Smiths, after Smiths had got out of the watch and clock business. When Eddie Platts acquired the Smiths trademark it included the trademark for clocks. Eddie offered Lascelles a free licence to continue using the trademark for clocks.

    Free. The reproduction clocks are sold all over Britain, and further, via Amazon and the internet.
    funnily enough was going to touch on clocks and other smiths if I was to do another smiths thread ..but I know some of smiths story mainly from central London to Swiss but don't really know anything of how eddie got the rights to the smiths names or that he had given the rights over for the clocks so that might be a good idea for a thread if you had time or if you wanted you could add it here and I could modify the title to include the smiths rebirth
    Last edited by is that my watch; Oct 6, 2019 at 08:11 AM. Reason: typo

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    Another Member crownpuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt View Post
    Me too


    Didn't know you had a 'Seafire'.
    Some people have opinions - The rest of us have taste.

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    MWC is that my watch's Avatar
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    reminds me I had one too for a while but you knew that
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    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by is that my watch View Post
    but don't really know anything of how eddie got the rights to the smiths names

    From memory, he just kept his eyes open. Smiths Industries, which is still a pretty big concern today, had continued to renew the trademark for clocks and watches, long after they had got out of that business. Then one year they didn’t, and Eddie hopped in and registered it himself. I think he was waiting, poised at his computer, as he had been on previous renewal dates.

    His announcement is probably still on TZ-UK, but it will be buried deep. I remember being surprised by the low-key reaction to his news. It seemed like a big thing, full of possibilities. And then, for whatever reason, he didn’t really exploit it in the way I was expecting. It’s only in recent years that he has done some fairly straight remakes of significant models.

    I might try to find his original telling of the story, but I’m abroad with a mobile phone and a limited data allowance.

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  10. #9
    MWC is that my watch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tribe125 View Post
    From memory, he just kept his eyes open. Smiths Industries, which is still a pretty big concern today, had continued to renew the trademark for clocks and watches, long after they had got out of that business. Then one year they didn’t, and Eddie hopped in and registered it himself. I think he was waiting, poised at his computer, as he had been on previous renewal dates.

    His announcement is probably still on TZ-UK, but it will be buried deep. I remember being surprised by the low-key reaction to his news. It seemed like a big thing, full of possibilities. And then, for whatever reason, he didn’t really exploit it in the way I was expecting. It’s only in recent years that he has done some fairly straight remakes of significant models.

    I might try to find his original telling of the story, but I’m abroad with a mobile phone and a limited data allowance.
    well no rush be fun to add it in at some point .. can understand require a name but how does it go on copying the watch bit confused on that point ..or is it just simple down to creating a watch the same as an old smith and just selling it ? ...

    mean if so yes lots of miss chances bet if he did some of the old 31 mm and like but in 38mm / 40mm /42mm options he would get a load of buyers for them also the de luxe and the like would sell well I would imagine.

  11. #10
    Moderator - Central tribe125's Avatar
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    I’m confused by what you find confusing.

    Eddie’s product planning can look a bit arbitrary - probably because it is. He’s not a conventional businessman, so doesn’t always follow the direction you might expect. He also seems to have some ambivalence about doing straight recreations, but then on other occasions, that’s exactly what he does - of a Seiko. It’s mystifying, but then he’s doing what we might do ourselves, in simply following a fancy. He’s also limited in what he can do, without the cash reserves of a bigger, more conventional company. The good thing about him is that he does things in a straightforward way - make it, put it in the shop, sell it. No ‘pay then wait’.

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