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Thread: Smiths or Rolex - Which One Was the First Watch on Mt. Everest?

  1. #101
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    I don't think meaning or implication of the word 'carry' has changed in 60+ years.
    People used to 'wear' watches 60+ years ago and they do the same today. One carries a fire arm but one wears a watch. Unless ofcourse if it is not worn.
    Not those who started with a pocket watch. So a transition from carry to wear happened at some point. As society didn’t switch to wristwatches overnight chances are the two verbs coexisted for a while, regardless of the type of watch they carried/wore.
    Well, everybody in Casablanca has problems. Yours may work out.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    Of of course I don’t. Did she succesfully swim the channel during her validation swim? Nope. Did Hillary climb Everest? Yup. Incidentally, Did you look at the pictures of the two watches and the higher quality scan rather than the copy of a copy from a book? What do you think of the lugs? Yeager was a brave man doing good science but the fact is that the sabre broke the sound barrier first, the Me262 pilots notes contained descriptionjs of transonic flight and, before Yeager broke the barrier described the smoothness and return of full control the other side and, of course, The X1 project had hit a wall due to control surface separation of airflow causing loss of control until they lied their way into getting the Miles M51 research and changed their approach to control. Visit the old Miles factory at Woodley, which of course is also where Bader crashed...

    Not wishing to get into an arguement however I think you might be missing the point. Mercedes did undertake a massive swim in 1927 and did not break her watch - how many manufacturers could claim the same thing in that era.

    Again with Yeager, the point I think is that during his 60 years of flighing and many adventures (inc X1), he made a personal decision to wear Rolex watches. So clearly he thought, based upon his own experience, their watches were able to cope will all crap he threw at it. A great personal recommendation.

    Perhaps its stories like this which to a certain extend puts the achievement of the Omega Moon watches into perspective. Yes, then when to the moon, however with the exception of the take off and landing it was hardly a hostile environment (for a watch). Where as watch that survived being strapped to a fighter pilot wrist for say 10 years is a better testament to how good it actually was. A bit like the Seiko 6105 that survived 3-4 tours of Vietham strapped to the wrist of Grunt demonstrates how good these watches actually are.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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  3. #103
    Quote Originally Posted by Saint-Just View Post
    Not those who started with a pocket watch. So a transition from carry to wear happened at some point. As society didn’t switch to wristwatches overnight chances are the two verbs coexisted for a while, regardless of the type of watch they carried/wore.
    Fair point but the transition IMO occurred much sooner. At the turn of the century.
    Anyway, it is semantics. As I said numerous times before, there is not enough to make any definite claims. I am just trying to highlight that any claims made with a certainty are suspect. At the end of the day, people believe what they choose to believe considering whatever little and flimsy evidence is there.

  4. #104
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    I don't think meaning or implication of the word 'carry' has changed in 60+ years.
    People used to 'wear' watches 60+ years ago and they do the same today. One carries a fire arm but one wears a watch. Unless ofcourse if it is not worn.

    Well, if it helps put in context for the age, my grandfather always said he carried his watch through the war, he started with pocket watches, wore a wrist watch in the war and finished with a pocket watch that he gave to me. I always found it an interesting way to phrase it. He was a man of a different era though so he used quite a lot of phrasing we do not use today.

    People often judge a phrase or comment by the standards of the current day and this will continue to happen, especially if they do not speak this way or have not heard the terms used themselves.

    I wear a watch, i carry the pocket watch. That is just me.

  5. #105
    Grand Master Saint-Just's Avatar
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    I don’t know how trendy and au fait of the latest terms in vogue in London was rural New Zealand between the wars.
    But I know that it is not uncommon for me to speak of dialling a number.
    Well, everybody in Casablanca has problems. Yours may work out.

  6. #106
    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    How many members are 'carrying' a watch today?
    I am wearing one for the record and is working fine.
    We’re focusing on the wrong part of the sentence. Look at the last three words “to the summit”

    Carried, worn or shoved up his arse a Smiths was the first watch to the top of Everest

  7. #107
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    We’re focusing on the wrong part of the sentence. Look at the last three words “to the summit”

    Carried, worn or shoved up his arse a Smiths was the first watch to the top of Everest
    Possibly,as I stated in my earlier post. Hope it was one of the first two for his sake.
    And again as Matt stated first watch up AND down.

  8. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    We’re focusing on the wrong part of the sentence. Look at the last three words “to the summit”

    Carried, worn or shoved up his arse a Smiths was the first watch to the top of Everest

    But was it the only watch taken.

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
    Friedrich Nietzsche


  9. #109
    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    But was it the only watch taken.
    The only watch we *know* was taken although I believe both men already had Rolexes by that point

  10. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    Not wishing to get into an arguement however I think you might be missing the point. Mercedes did undertake a massive swim in 1927 and did not break her watch - how many manufacturers could claim the same thing in that era.

    Again with Yeager, the point I think is that during his 60 years of flighing and many adventures (inc X1), he made a personal decision to wear Rolex watches. So clearly he thought, based upon his own experience, their watches were able to cope will all crap he threw at it. A great personal recommendation.

    Perhaps its stories like this which to a certain extend puts the achievement of the Omega Moon watches into perspective. Yes, then when to the moon, however with the exception of the take off and landing it was hardly a hostile environment (for a watch). Where as watch that survived being strapped to a fighter pilot wrist for say 10 years is a better testament to how good it actually was. A bit like the Seiko 6105 that survived 3-4 tours of Vietham strapped to the wrist of Grunt demonstrates how good these watches actually are.

    Actually, he was given it by Rolex as were many explorers, test pilots, astronauts and so on once they had a profile and a cool job Rolex were generous... But you make a sound argument for the A17...

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Andyg View Post
    Not wishing to get into an arguement however I think you might be missing the point. Mercedes did undertake a massive swim in 1927 and did not break her watch - how many manufacturers could claim the same thing in that era.

    Again with Yeager, the point I think is that during his 60 years of flighing and many adventures (inc X1), he made a personal decision to wear Rolex watches. So clearly he thought, based upon his own experience, their watches were able to cope will all crap he threw at it. A great personal recommendation.

    Perhaps its stories like this which to a certain extend puts the achievement of the Omega Moon watches into perspective. Yes, then when to the moon, however with the exception of the take off and landing it was hardly a hostile environment (for a watch). Where as watch that survived being strapped to a fighter pilot wrist for say 10 years is a better testament to how good it actually was. A bit like the Seiko 6105 that survived 3-4 tours of Vietham strapped to the wrist of Grunt demonstrates how good these watches actually are.

    Actually, he was given it by Rolex as were many explorers, test pilots, astronauts and so on once they had a profile and a cool job Rolex were generous... But you make a sound argument for the A17...

  11. #111
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackal View Post
    I think you are bang-on with that.

    ”When I was in London - I used to take The Independant”.

    When we all know that means “read”. Lots of pretentious folk - still use the term “take”, but only when they are referring to a broadsheet newspaper.
    "Subscribe" or at least "regularly buy" rather than "read", surely, although obviously that goes hand in hand with it.

    I can't see what's pretentious about it.

  12. #112
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    In Hillary's own words a Smiths was present at the summit, I'm guessing that both watches were there and probably both were on Hillary's person at the time (as well as the Rolex that was almost definitely on Norgay's wrist), which was on Hillary's wrist and which in his pocket / backpack / back passage, we'll never know for sure.
    The big difference is that Rolex made better use of the marketing capital of this feat while Smiths in true British tradition didn't.

  13. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by julian2002 View Post
    In Hillary's own words a Smiths was present at the summit, I'm guessing that both watches were there and probably both were on Hillary's person at the time (as well as the Rolex that was almost definitely on Norgay's wrist), which was on Hillary's wrist and which in his pocket / backpack / back passage, we'll never know for sure.
    The big difference is that Rolex made better use of the marketing capital of this feat while Smiths in true British tradition didn't.
    That's not quite true. Smiths ran a lot of adverts in the years immediately after the ascent and the paperwork that came in the boxes with the watches had photos and quotes and so on. If you were buying a watch in England 1955 you'd be hard pressed not to know about the Smiths=Everest connection.

    What's vexing is the endless Rolex PR machine implying they were there. Witness all the photos of the Hillary et al. and the mountain combined with references to Rolex so that the reader is left to draw his own conclusions. They may have been (probably were, imho, at least on Tenzing's wrist and possibly Hillary's as well) but the only watch we know for sure was there was the one Hillary said he "carried" -- the De Luxe in the museum in London. Rolex know it, hence the carefully-worded adverts and copy.

  14. #114
    From the original papers supplied in the box of a Smiths A409 purchased in Feb 1954





    Eat that, Rolex.

  15. #115
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    Great pictures.

    I note the clarification of the word ‘worn’ in the sentence following ‘carried’.

    Interesting that much of their clothing seems to have appeared on SC in recent years.

  16. #116
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    Quote Originally Posted by alfat33 View Post
    Interesting that much of their clothing seems to have appeared on SC in recent years.


    In my view the Smiths advert quoted above nails it; they wouldn't have made the claim in the public domain if they didn't know it was true.
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  17. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlton-Browne View Post


    In my view the Smiths advert quoted above nails it; they wouldn't have made the claim in the public domain if they didn't know it was true.
    The claim is true, but the evidence given is quite misleading. The first photo is of Bourdillon and Evans, both wearing Rolex 6098. If you look carefully, it’s even obvious that the watch Evans is wearing is a Rolex, again from the lugs. This would be great for Rolex if it wasn’t for the case that they had literally just staggered back half dead from their failed attempt on Everest after the reabreather setup worn by Evans failed, damned nearly killing them both. They didn’t even get as close as The Swiss the year before.

    The next watch, worn by Hunt is unclear in both senses. He spent most of the expedition wearing two watches, typically a Smiths on the right and a Rolex on the left. However by this point he was only wearing one, the only clear ID I’ve got is Rolex.

    Ironically, Norgay, is the only one in these pictures who wore a Smiths - on a steel Bonklip. There are four photos in the RGS collection in which there is a possibility of identification. The worst of these four is the digitised one shown earlier. In all four it is varying degrees of certain that it is a Smiths identical to the one worn by Hillary.

    The team clearly preferred Rolex, because as you identify what each member wore, the most senior and British got the Rolex and or both, while those lower in the pecking order got Smiths. Hillary was popular, but both a relative newcomer (1951) and from New Zealand. Norgay was also popular, but the question of whether he was merely the Sirdar, or actually a climber was largely decided retrospectively. Hunt was a pragmatist who was driven to win and cared about little else. They were his two best climbers on the day and, most other days, climbing on oxygen cylinders largely unchanged since Mallory, making their climb a bit of a folorn hope. (After careful studies the year before Pugh had worked out that earlier climbs had been climbing on about half the oxygen that was most efficient and that the old cylinders were barely worth wearing in terms of weight to oxygenation, hence the rebreathers for the summit. What he didn’t know was complicated - Tenzing wasn’t really a Sherpa, he was from a tribe from Tibet who we now know had some specialist evolutionary advantage that allowed them to acclimatise even faster than sherpas. As such, Hillary had a climbing partner who probably could have climbed unaided.

    Had they not been ‘colonials’ they’d have been the A team. As it was, the oxygen cylinders cached by both the Swiss and by Evans and Tenzing’s heritage gave them the extra oxygen they needed.

    Wearing Smiths.
    Last edited by M4tt; 25th February 2019 at 20:13.

  18. #118
    Thanks, Matt. That is a fine comment and you are a wealth of information. Hard. It to enjoy your posts even I may not
    100% agree with your conclusions.

  19. #119
    This is on Rolex's website:


    "CONQUERING EVEREST
    Expedition WatchesCONQUERING EVEREST
    On 29 May 1953, two men fired with extraordinary determination were the first to reach Mount Everest’s 8,848-metre summit. Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, members of a British expedition led by Sir John Hunt, achieved the goal that dozens of other earlier expeditions had tried to reach: to stand on the top of the world."

    https://www.rolex.com/world-of-rolex...and-poles.html

    The implication is clear . . . . Weasel words!

    Pretty poor, it's not like they make bad watches or have no real history so why do they feel the need to do this?

  20. #120
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    Because if you say it often enough you can make it the truth.

  21. #121
    Quote Originally Posted by Carl.1 View Post
    Because if you say it often enough you can make it the truth.
    Yes. They imply, we infer, job done.

    "History is written by the victors" and Rolex are still making watches but this really is a claim that belongs to Smiths -- and therefore, arguably, to Eddie as the brand owner.

    I love Rolexes but this vexes me.

  22. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Yes. They imply, we infer, job done.

    "History is written by the victors" and Rolex are still making watches but this really is a claim that belongs to Smiths -- and therefore, arguably, to Eddie as the brand owner.

    I love Rolexes but this vexes me.
    I am suprised they bother, their watches really do stand any scrutiny and they do not need to stoop this way.
    Funny though, i had saved money for an explorer and when the time came spent it elsewhere and bought a 29am instead. I sort of had an epiphany about what a watch meant to me and it was not some-thing that cost that when others do exactly the same job and look great on the wrist and have a bit of a back story too.
    Still like Rolex but happy not bothering with them now.

  23. #123
    Some pics.

    It seems that with the possible exception of Norgay (something on a Bonklip at one point -- on the way to the summit, it seems -- and something on a leather strap in another photo) the team had two sorts of watches.Both had light coloured dials, both similar sizes but the tell is the lugs

    From this book:



    I see the following:

    Evans and Bourdillon (not sure which is which) but pretty clearly a Rolex





    Norgay and Hillary, the former wearing something on a Bonklip-type bracelet (in other pics it looks too small to be a Smiths) and the latter wearing a Smiths



    Evans (far left) and Band (far right). Hard to identify the watches; B's is possibly a Smiths?





    from this book



    I see

    Wylie wearing what looks like a Rolex



    (there's another photo where Lowe is testing a radio and also seems to be wearing a Smiths -- looks to me like a slab-sided Dennison case rather the curved midcase of the Oyster)

    Lowe with a Smiths (??)



    Close up



    Those two again on their way up to the summit (I suspect Norgay is wearing his Rolex; Hillary has his Smiths -- other pictures show he is not wearing a second watch on his other wrist)



    Band and Hillary. Hard to tell what they are wearing but H's looks like a Smiths



    EDITED: I'd had the same book cover in twice! Now corrected
    Last edited by Rev-O; 1st March 2019 at 11:43.

  24. #124
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    I suspect Norgay is wearing his Rolex;
    That’s a helpful series of photos and I agree with your analysis of most of them. However, I stand by my assertion that Tenzing only wears one watch on the expedition, a steel or chrome one on a steel pull through Bonklip. Certainly the watch on the South Col is of this nature. We’ve already seen the picture in which this watch has lugs that are clearly Smiths style lugs. I also have several that are even clearer directly from my research at the RGS that I can’t post without paying a fortune in royalties to them.

    The only Rolex Tenzing had at that point was the Datejust given to him by Rolex after the ‘52 Lambert expedition. Is this the one you have in mind? Because that watch is solid gold and the watch in the colour pictures you have posted is clearly not. The two colour shots featuring Norgay and Hillary that you have posted were taken during the very last stages of the preperations to leave the South Col for their final assault.

    While they were supported in this by Alfred Gregory (Rolex), George Lower (Smiths) and Sherpa Ang Nyima (nothing) who all climbed up to a final overnight camp at 27,900, this photo was taken (by Evans) in the death zone and carrying anything superfluous was rigorously discouraged by Hunt, who, to be fair, had already descended, leaving the best he had left and showing what a fine leader he was.

    In short, there’s a very strong case that any equipment used here was what was used on the summit. That night was spent on an ice ledge cut into the side of the mountain and abandoned in the morning. The earlier assualt left directly from the South Col due to the more efficient rebreather setups that didn’t need the extra oxygen carried to 27,900 by Gregory and Evans, allowing the assault to start fresh from 27,900 with two full tanks.

    I have been slowly writing an extended history up here:

    www.intlwatchleague.com/showthread.php?29079-Watches-on-Everest&p=425114#post425114

    I”m rather getting ahead of myself here...
    Last edited by M4tt; 1st March 2019 at 08:22.

  25. #125
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    Loving this thread!!

  26. #126
    Quote Originally Posted by M4tt View Post
    That’s a helpful series of photos and I agree with your analysis of most of them. However, I stand by my assertion that Tenzing only wears one watch on the expedition, a steel or chrome one on a steel pull through Bonklip.

    The only Rolex Tenzing had at that point was the Datejust given to him by Rolex after the ‘52 Lambert expedition. Is this the one you have in mind?

    Because that watch is solid gold and the watch in the colour pictures you have posted is clearly not. I’m also unclear about which photo on the expedition has him wearing a watch with a black strap
    I've been a fool!

    I woke up in the night with a sudden realisation that in the early '50s Rolexes were fitted with "ladder"or "bamboo" style bracelets. These are visually almost identical to a Bonklip but made by the Swiss company Gay Freres, who made bracelets for Rolex and other watch companies. (Rolex eventually bought them out. Inevitably.)

    https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/ro...l-perspectives

    Good overview here:

    http://corvuswatch.blogspot.com/2011...lip-watch.html

    I have an early '50s Gay Freres ladder / bamboo and a British-made Bonlkip of about the same date and they are almost identical. (I could take and post some pics but frankly the ones in the links here are better.)

    So when we see Norgay with a Bonklip it means (to my mind) that he is wearing a Rolex with the standard GF bracelet; we know that the watches supplied to the team -- both Smiths and Rolex -- were fitted with leather straps so Norgay's seems to me to be a Rolex from outside of the issued set.

    However, Norgay's watch looks to be stainless steel (presumably an OP bubbleback of one reference or another) rather than that gold DateJust (which seems to have come on a gold rivet expanding bracelet -- ref. 6635 or 6636). So it doesn't look like he's wearing the watch he was given for his participation in the earlier Swiss expedition.

    Still, I'm pretty sure that what looks like a Bonklip is in fact the Swiss copy made by Gay Freres and fitted to Rolexes until about 1953 or 4 (when the rivet bracelets were introduced). The watch also looks like a chunky bubbleback by the way it hangs.

    But I want you to think on this: I woke up in the night with a sudden realisation about the design and manufacture of early 1950s watch bracelets.

    I need help.
    Last edited by Rev-O; 1st March 2019 at 08:40.

  27. #127
    PS Matt if you want those two books in my earlier post then they're yours for the cost of postage but both are massive full-colour hard backs and very heavy. (Hunt wouldn't have approved of them going any higher than base camp!)

  28. #128
    I also have a first edition of "South Col" by Wilfrid [sic] Noyce

    He write every very well (to the point of being slightly pretentious, but it's a fault I find easy to forgive) and goes into tiny technical detail on the equipment they used: "boots specially made for us made for us in Nottingham" (followed by a lengthy description of their appearance and construction), "duralumin ladders" and the food ("Grape-Nuts", "Ovaltine", "Frubix", "Pemmican")

    But no mention of watches.

    Some good pictures, though: one shows the author seemingly wearing a Smiths (you can clearly see the square lugs, slab-sided Dennison case and the whole thing flatter than a bubbleback) another shows Tom Stobart seemingly wearing a Rolex (higher profile on the wrist as befits an automatic with the gracious curves of a Oyster case and more pointed lugs).

    Finally, he says that Norgay arrived with a lot of his own equipment: "His every garment, and the axe that Raymond Lambert had given him, reminded you that he had served with expeditions." He was older (39 years old at the time) than the other sherpas and was a "sirdar" -- a chief or leader of the younger Nepalese bearers. So it's not impossible that his watch on a "Bonklip" is indeed a Rolex on a Gay Freres ladder / bamboo bracelet that Norgay acquired on one of his previous expeditions.

  29. #129
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    PS Matt if you want those two books in my earlier post then they're yours for the cost of postage but both are massive full-colour hard backs and very heavy. (Hunt wouldn't have approved of them going any higher than base camp!)
    That's incredibly generous and yes, of course I'd love them if you are sure. Let me know the postage and any other costs.

    Thank you .

    Matt

  30. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    I've been a fool!

    I woke up in the night with a sudden realisation that in the early '50s Rolexes were fitted with "ladder"or "bamboo" style bracelets. These are visually almost identical to a Bonklip but made by the Swiss company Gay Freres, who made bracelets for Rolex and other watch companies. (Rolex eventually bought them out. Inevitably.)

    https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/ro...l-perspectives

    Good overview here:

    http://corvuswatch.blogspot.com/2011...lip-watch.html

    I have an early '50s Gay Freres ladder / bamboo and a British-made Bonlkip of about the same date and they are almost identical. (I could take and post some pics but frankly the ones in the links here are better.)

    So when we see Norgay with a Bonklip it means (to my mind) that he is wearing a Rolex with the standard GF bracelet; we know that the watches supplied to the team -- both Smiths and Rolex -- were fitted with leather straps so Norgay's seems to me to be a Rolex from outside of the issued set.

    However, Norgay's watch looks to be stainless steel (presumably an OP bubbleback of one reference or another) rather than that gold DateJust (which seems to have come on a gold rivet expanding bracelet -- ref. 6635 or 6636). So it doesn't look like he's wearing the watch he was given for his participation in the earlier Swiss expedition.

    Still, I'm pretty sure that what looks like a Bonklip is in fact the Swiss copy made by Gay Freres and fitted to Rolexes until about 1953 or 4 (when the rivet bracelets were introduced). The watch also looks like a chunky bubbleback by the way it hangs.

    But I want you to think on this: I woke up in the night with a sudden realisation about the design and manufacture of early 1950s watch bracelets.

    I need help.
    Ha! I do that sort of thing all the time, I'm fully aware I'm well beyond help, and to demonstrate that all too conclusively, I think I have the precise make he's got that Smiths A409 on:

    Exhibit A, cropped and upscaled from the Getty Images collection of RGS images:



    Notice the pronounced flap five 'rungs' down from the lugs. If this was a Rolex strap, as your fine source points out, then it would have a folding clasp underneath. This is, as I pointed out earlier, a 'pull through' strap.

    You are quite right that it isn't a Bonklip though, it is in fact a standard West End Watch strap, fitted to their 'Sowar' range, that were standard issue to the Indian Army from the thirties onwards. Tenzing served in the British Indian Army's Mountain artillery during WWII (as a batman). While West End are largely unheard of in the West that is precisely because they focussed on the East.

    Here's exactly that strap, from a forties Sowar, fitted to a Smiths A409:



    The forties version of the Sowar (Hindi for Lancer) used a thinner adapted version of the Taubert 'Decagon' waterproof case that, ironically, looks a lot like the watch that Hillary wore in 1951!

    However, I've tried to get a slightly degraded image to get it closer to the quality of the original image. I don't think I've got the angle quite right, but it's close enough to make the point about the bracelet, if tno the watch. Taking the picture against the screen was daft too, I'll have another go later.

  31. #131
    There's a rather good letter from RA Winter, Director of the Rolex Watch Co., Ltd, in which he recognises that Hillary was only wearing one watch at the summit, "and that a Smiths watch." He goes on to congratulate Smiths "on the fact that their Smiths de Luxe ordinary wind wrist watch reached the summit with Sir Edmund Hillary."

  32. #132
    Good thinking Matt.

    That's not a A409 by the way, it's an A404.

    Confusingly Hillary's actual watch isn't a 409 either.

    There's some confusion about it as it's a unique model: it says De Luxe on the dial, which was introduced in 1952. So it presumably dates to that year. The layout is a rare type: I know of about a dozen examples that are the same but none of them says De Luxe. They are however cased in the 12''' Dennison Aquatite so they presumably date to 1951.

    My own guess is that Hillary's watch (and presumably the others', too) are either transition models: the older, rare dial with the De Luxe script added.

    The paperwork that details the delivery of the A409 watches is dates after the ascent (24/7/53).

    So it looks like Smiths loaned the Hunt team some especially prepared watches (not least Winterised with low temperature oils) and then gifted the party with some standard retail A409 models. The Everest watches were to be returned Cheltenham to see how they'd held up (although Hillary et al. seemed pleased with their performance) so the others were for the team to keep.

    Against that is the information label (plate? plaque? board?) alongside the actual watch in museum, which says it was "Presented by Sir Edmund Hillary" (i.e. not by Smiths) implying it was retained rather than returned. So why the gift of the A409 (and, note, alarm clocks!) after the successful summiting I do not know.

    Another explanation is that after Hillary and Norgay summitted Smiths realised they'd backed the right horse but had lost their betting slip so they hastily regularised their affairs with this pro forma invoice. They could (I would) have backdated it and they should not, really, have called the watches A409s (they weren't). But Smiths wanted to something to show that they had supplied the successful expedition with watches (and alarm clocks. Don't forget the alarm clocks!)

    More info here: https://www.mwrforum.net/forums/show...miths-and-mine

  33. #133
    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    There's a rather good letter from RA Winter, Director of the Rolex Watch Co., Ltd, in which he recognises that Hillary was only wearing one watch at the summit, "and that a Smiths watch." He goes on to congratulate Smiths "on the fact that their Smiths de Luxe ordinary wind wrist watch reached the summit with Sir Edmund Hillary."
    Wow. Do you have a source? Can you post or link to a scan?

    PS I love the "ordinary wind wrist watch". "You won. You're still crap but you just happened to win. Well done."

  34. #134
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Wow. Do you have a source? Can you post or link to a scan?

    PS I love the "ordinary wind wrist watch". "You won. You're still crap but you just happened to win. Well done."
    It's in the BHI's Horological Journal from October '53 (p651). I have a hard copy somewhere, but you can also read *and search* them online if you're a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society.

    I'm writing an article on it at the moment, as I thought it was rather interesting (although the last time I shared it online, nobody seemed to care).

    Images courtesy of the AHS and BHI.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Broussard; 2nd March 2019 at 15:57.

  35. #135
    Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    Bloody hell, that's got to be case closed (although I'm sure it will still not be enough in some quarters...)

  36. #136
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    after Hillary and Norgay summitted Smiths realised they'd backed the right horse but had lost their betting slip so they hastily regularised their affairs with this pro forma invoice. They could (I would) have backdated it and they should not, really, have called the watches A409s (they weren't). But Smiths wanted to something to show that they had supplied the successful expedition with watches (and alarm clocks. Don't forget the alarm clocks!)

    More info here: https://www.mwrforum.net/forums/show...miths-and-mine
    Answering my own question with this:



    Source:

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/vint...nt-t23723.html

  37. #137
    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    It's in the BHI's Horological Journal from October '53 (p651). I have a hard copy somewhere, but you can also read *and search* them online if you're a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society.

    I'm writing an article on it at the moment, as I thought it was rather interesting (although the last time I shared it online, nobody seemed to care).

    Images courtesy of the AHS and BHI.
    Bloody hell. thanks!

  38. #138
    Craftsman
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    Wow - great information.

    Am I the only one that finds it slightly ironic that the current Smith's Everest is designed as a homage to the Rolex Explorer?

    Perhaps what's needed is a homage to the actual watch worn by Hillary - call it the Summit - or something like that?

  39. #139
    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    It's in the BHI's Horological Journal from October '53 (p651). I have a hard copy somewhere, but you can also read *and search* them online if you're a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society.

    I'm writing an article on it at the moment, as I thought it was rather interesting (although the last time I shared it online, nobody seemed to care).

    Images courtesy of the AHS and BHI.
    Images uploaded and copyright / ownership duly noted (AHS and BHI)





    THANKS Broussard. I love you!

  40. #140
    Craftsman gerard's Avatar
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    Slam dunk!

    I wonder if Jake will now rewrite the nonsense on his blog.

  41. #141
    Grand Master Dave+63's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    Images uploaded and copyright / ownership duly noted (AHS and BHI)





    THANKS Broussard. I love you!
    He wasn’t bitter! Oh no, not bitter at all!

    I’m really enjoying this thread, a big thank you to everyone contributing.

  42. #142
    Journeyman
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    ....There was a sharp intake of breath, the crowd started to rise.....and applause slowly, nervously broke out and spread through the gathered onlookers. A Green baseball cap with a strange crown like logo on it was seen quietly leaving the building.

    It's very nice when things work out how you would like them to occasionally.

  43. #143
    Quote Originally Posted by gerard View Post
    Slam dunk!

    I wonder if Jake will now rewrite the nonsense on his blog.
    And Philipp Stahl's blog now looks even more like the uncritical biased fanboy rubbish it is.

    http://rolexpassionreport.com/10685/...charles-evans/

    "The real deal, Everest ’53 Evans Rolex next to wannabes.."

    Some people are too invested to change their mind.

  44. #144
    Craftsman gerard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    And Philipp Stahl's blog now looks even more like the uncritical biased fanboy rubbish it is.

    http://rolexpassionreport.com/10685/...charles-evans/

    "The real deal, Everest ’53 Evans Rolex next to wannabes.."

    Some people are too invested to change their mind.
    I hadn't seen that before. Unbelievable! To be honest I've got so fed up of the "R" hype I don't even wear mine, nor taken them out in years (GTG in Norwich a few years ago).
    I think I remember Philipp from VRG ...... die hard is an understatement. Haven't visited there either in years.

  45. #145
    The full series of letters are fascinating. The readers of the HJ got quite annoyed with both sides’ claims, it seems.

    Plus ça change.

  46. #146
    Quote Originally Posted by Broussard View Post
    The full series of letters are fascinating. The readers of the HJ got quite annoyed with both sides’ claims, it seems.

    Plus ça change.
    ooh do tell! More, more! We want more! Encore!

  47. #147
    Who is Mr Barrett? Why was his letter so convincing?

    And I believe Mr Winter is wrong in at least one respect: Rolex did not issue watches to all the members of the Hunt party, but seemingly only to those who hadn't already had one for the Cho Oyu expedition the previous year (which included Hillary).

  48. #148
    Master animalone's Avatar
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    Fantastic thread, thank you to everyone who has taken part

  49. #149
    Quote Originally Posted by animalone View Post
    Fantastic thread, thank you to everyone who has taken part
    some others here:

    Some threads:

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/vint...or-t17051.html

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/vint...am-t17040.html

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/vint...on-t16942.html

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/vint...nt-t23723.html

    https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/vint...t-t250648.html

    And from elsewhere:

    https://www.rolexforums.com/showthre...=1#post9398853

    https://www.mwrforum.net/forums/show...miths-and-mine

    There are others, too.

    And tempers runs pretty high in some of the posts.

    From everything I've read it seems that Hillary wore only one watch to the top that was a Smiths De Luxe (15 jewel manual wind in a Dennison Aquatite case).

    Norgay *may* have worn a Rolex but that's less certain.

  50. #150
    D W Barrett, Director and General Manager of Smiths English Clocks, Ltd.

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