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Thread: Vintage Smiths and military issue LeCoultre

  1. #1
    Journeyman
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    Vintage Smiths and military issue LeCoultre

    I just received two of my grandfather's old watches, and am hoping people here might have a little more information on them, and also for some advice.

    The first is a military issue LeCoultre. From my web research, I think it's a 1943 RAF issue. There were 4000 issued, and lot of them were redialled with a black dial by the MOD after the war, but as best I can tell, this one is all original (possibly not the crown?). Other than it not running, quite a bit of the chrome plating being rubbed off, and a little of the bluing on the hour hand having come off, it's in very good condition. I plan to get it serviced and running again (although I tinker with watches, I only play around with cheaper vintage stuff and don't want to risk damaging it!).



    My question on this one - I'm thinking of having the hour hand blued again, and was wondering what people think on having the case re-chromed?

    The second watch is a Smiths, and has sadly lost its hour and second hands at some point. It does not run, and the mechanism appears jammed as the hand won't move. At this point I'd just like to find out more about it, as I've not had much luck browsing online. The dial is quite faded, and the crystal is cracked. The dial is marked 'Made in Britain', so I presume this means the Welsh factory, rather than the Cheltenham(?) one. Any information anyone can give me on this one is very much appreciated. In terms of getting this one up and running again, is it worth it?


  2. #2
    Craftsman gerard's Avatar
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    Very nice pair.
    What are the markings on the back of the the Le Coultre? 6b/159?

    Sent from my BBF100-1 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Journeyman
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    Completely forgot to post the caseback shot of the LeCoultre...

    Last edited by Hammer2016; 17th November 2019 at 15:59.

  4. #4
    Master
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    What a fantastic bit of history,looking forward to see it up and running.

  5. #5
    Craftsman gerard's Avatar
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    Here is mine. Issued to a family member. 1942. There is a thread on here about these.








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  6. #6
    Journeyman
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    Lovely watch, and nice to have the bit of history with it. Will have a look for that thread!

  7. #7
    Craftsman
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    Love that LeCoultre. My opinion, for what it's worth, would be to just get the movement serviced, and not worry about the cosmetic stuff. Feel it should look it's age.

  8. #8
    Master bobbee's Avatar
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    Do not have it rechromed! Very nice and sought after military watch.
    The hand is an easy fix for a trained horologist, as is the movement. Several chap's here could sort you out.
    The Smiths is not a high grade model, but the personal family value makes this worth fixing, or could be just left as is.

  9. #9
    Journeyman
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    I think you're right - rechroming is a bit much. It'll be nice to get the hands evenly blued though. I'll talk with the watchmaker later today and see what's to be done with them!

  10. #10
    There is actually a link between the two watches in the person of M. Robert Lenoir, who worked at JLC and then helped Smiths set up their own wristwatch manufacturing.

    Very early Smiths look a lot like that LC!

    The Smiths "Empire" was made in Wales (they usually say "Britain" on the dial, rather than "England") and is a cheap pin-pallet jobbie; the best Smiths were made in Cheltenham and from c.1952 onwards say "De Luxe" or "Astral" on the dial.

    For details about the LC just pop a post on mwr -- they know everything about mil watches.

    https://www.mwrforum.net/forums/foru...p?2-Main-Forum

    Cheers

  11. #11
    Journeyman
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    Thanks, I found some useful info over there! Going to get the watchmaker to take a look at it too, and see what can be done.

  12. #12
    Apprentice
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    The le coultre is a beauty and worth a few quid, definitely worth getting up and running and if you want a modern watch of a similar style as an everyday watch have a look at the Smiths 29A over at Timefactorss, they are out of stock but I believe Eddie Platts the owner has more on the way. https://www.timefactors.com/prs29new.htm


    Sent from my iPhone using TZ-UK mobile app

  13. #13
    Craftsman
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    These are both beautiful watches. I think given the personal history it would be worth getting both running well but leaving the cosmetic stuff alone.


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  14. #14
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crowsfoot View Post
    The le coultre is a beauty and worth a few quid, ...
    What he said, so don't rush into doing anything. Take some time to find what you have, what you want to do with it, and the best way to get there.
    A fully wound watch smells like Switzerland.

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