Smiths De Luxe Ref. A526 gold vintage wristwatch, hallmarked 1955
A 9ct yellow gold manually wound wristwatch
Research carried out by Barrie Smith for his book “Smiths Watches,” shows that the De Luxe Ref. A526 was listed in Smiths’ catalogues for the years 1953-1955 and 1957-1958. The 1955 Smiths catalogue illustrates this model with an identical case and dial design to that found on the present watch. Larger than the average Smiths watch, the A526 was manufactured with a 35mm diameter case. In good original condition this watch has a silvered dial with combination raised Arabic and square indexes. The watch is powered by the calibre 400 which was manufactured in England by Smiths at their Cheltenham factory.
Formed in the early 20th century, the English firm of S. Smith & Sons initially retailed both Swiss and English watches and clocks. During the Second World War, the company manufactured their own watches for the military but, from the mid 1940s, Smiths began to produce higher grade wristwatches which led to a transformation of their in-house production. In 1953, Smiths performed a marketing coup by supplying Edmund Hillary with a watch for his ascent of Everest. Seizing on the advertising opportunities, Smiths launched a campaign picturing a Smiths de Luxe watch on top of Everest with a quote from Hillary beneath stating: “I carried your watch to the summit. It worked perfectly.”
[M] Smiths calibre 400 frosted gilded manually wound movement, lever escapement, 15 jewels, compensation balance, 18,000 BPH [D] silvered dial, raised gilded Arabic and square indexes, black outer minute track, engine-turned subsidiary seconds, slim dauphine hands [C] 9ct yellow gold two-piece case, chamfered bezel, down-turned lugs, plain polished back [S] movement and dial signed
Diameter excluding winding crown: 35mm
Length including lugs: 44mm
Depth to centre of crystal: 9mm
Strap width/lug gauge: 16mm
This watch has been fully serviced and overhauled and is sold with a one year guarantee and detailed Black Bough certificate.