closing tag is in template navbar
timefactors watches



TZ-UK Fundraiser
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Smiths "Mk X" made in Cheltenham in WW2 for the RAF

  1. #1

    Smiths "Mk X" made in Cheltenham in WW2 for the RAF

    Thought you lovely people might appreciate a rare view of two Smiths "Mk X" made in Cheltenham in WW2 for the RAF

    Case is a Dennison 13322, fixed bars

    Movement is a forerunner of the Smiths "1215" (12''' and 15 jewels) with a 13''' baseplate and hole for centre seconds (as was the original intention)

    I believe that 11 of these are known to exist: 9 subseconds, 2 centre seconds. Two are marked (i.e. issue engravings, 6B 1942)

    More info here: http://www.mwrforum.net/forums/showt...dy-Smiths-Mk-X







    Cheers!

  2. #2
    Classy, classic watches. Thank you for sharing.

  3. #3
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Up a creek
    Posts
    29,953
    A rare pair indeed! Ta for sharing. Has the example on the leather strap had the dial cleaned/restored?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    Has the example on the leather strap had the dial cleaned/restored?
    No -- but a good question. That one is a real anomaly: the rest of these have plain nickel movements but that one, uniquely, is fully gilded and the plates have Geneva stripes as well; it's also on what appears to be its original Air Ministry pigskin strap, unworn. My own person guess is that that is the factory sample or display model. It's practically mint / NOS.

    Interestingly about half of the extant example have come directly from Cheltenham (I bought my example, the non-mint one in the pics, from the family of a former Smiths employee who still live in the town) suggesting that this was something of an abortive project and they were retained in-house.

  5. #5
    Master
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Location
    London
    Posts
    4,229
    I remember reading your original posts on MWR with fascination. What an incredible find, or rather a discovery, as it must have taken a little bit of Indiana Jones to to turn up.

  6. #6
    Grand Master magirus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Up a creek
    Posts
    29,953
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev-O View Post
    No -- but a good question. That one is a real anomaly: the rest of these have plain nickel movements but that one, uniquely, is fully gilded and the plates have Geneva stripes as well; it's also on what appears to be its original Air Ministry pigskin strap, unworn. My own person guess is that that is the factory sample or display model. It's practically mint / NOS.

    Interestingly about half of the extant example have come directly from Cheltenham (I bought my example, the non-mint one in the pics, from the family of a former Smiths employee who still live in the town) suggesting that this was something of an abortive project and they were retained in-house.
    I found the threads over on MWR very interesting. Do you know what the chap did at Smiths ?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by magirus View Post
    I found the threads over on MWR very interesting. Do you know what the chap did at Smiths ?
    Quote Originally Posted by alfat33 View Post
    I remember reading your original posts on MWR with fascination. What an incredible find, or rather a discovery, as it must have taken a little bit of Indiana Jones to to turn up.

    It was all bit odd. About two years ago (early 2017) I got a text out of the blue from an old friend in Cheltenham (I used to live there, and he's still in the same house a few doors down)


    It was a picture of a watch:




    followed by the three word message "this any good?"

    My friend is a piano tuner in Cheltenham and it turns out he'd taken in part-exchange (to the value of 40) from a widow of a former Smiths employee. It had been his watch and she didn't want it.

    I was surprised to see it and also very keen to get it for myself, which I might have managed had the lady's daughters not asked for her dad's watch back . . . .

    Fast forward the best part of 18 months to last summer (mid 2018) and after some badgering from me she's willing to sell.

    The price wasn't cheap (not helped by my pestering -- should have played it cool but as a Smiths collector how could I? I simply had to have it)

    And so I got it -- by the old combination of patience, persistence and paying over the odds!

    The small twist to the tale is that the family in question are very private people and didn't want their identity disclosed so I paid a third party who then passed the money on to them.

    A bit odd but very English!

    The dial clearly shows the influence of LeCoultre and head man at Smiths Robert Lenoir worked for JLC before joining Smiths.

    Incidentally, the jewels were smuggled in from Switzerland via Lisbon in a specially made suit as we had no manufacturing capacity for them in the UK; the rest was all made in Cheltenham including the springs (hair and main); case is Dennison so made in Birmingham.

    After the fall of France in mid 1940 and before America entered the war at the end of 1941 there was an 18 month period of severe shortage of wristwatches; the RAF needed accurate ones so Smiths set about trying to sale down their 19 linge GSTP pocket watches to 13''' wristlets. Early ones were centre second but it seemed that something or other failed so they were switched to sub seconds (there's a hole in the top plate for the fourth wheel tensioning spring. You can see a cs version in the Science Museum.)

    http://www.mwrforum.net/forums/showt...in-the-wild%29

  8. #8
    Craftsman WhopperSenior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Herts UK
    Posts
    335
    Great thread Revo. Thanks for sharing.

  9. #9
    Journeyman
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Location
    Prague, Czech Republic
    Posts
    50
    Very interesting reading, thank you !

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •