This is a rare English-made wristwatch from the 1920s, it was made by Rotherham & Sons in Coventry and is signed on the dial for the Manchester retailer James Wadsworth. English-made wristwatches from before WW2 are rare for a number of reasons - primarily because the wristwatch, as opposed to the pocket watch, was a Swiss invention. The English watchmaking industry was deeply conservative and clung to their traditions of making a small quantity of very high quality pocket watches for a wealthy customer base.
This inability to update their practices was one of the reasons for the decline of the English watchmaking industry. Rotherham and Sons who produced this watch were one of the few factories who were large enough to produce movements and cases for wristwatches. It’s fair to say that they didn’t produce a wrist-watch movement from scratch, but rather repurposed their smallest size fob watch movement. This isn’t to say that this watch was converted from a fob watch, it was conceived and produced as a wristwatch - Rotherham supplied a good number of English retail jewellers with watches and, as was the custom, had the dial and movement signed with their name.
The case of this watch is an interesting point in the evolution of the wristwatch, it is an evolution from the earliest wristwatches which had a simple piece of wire soldered on to hold a strap. This watch has a elegant lugs, which are integrated with the overall case design. The time is set by depressing the button below the winding crown - a hangover from the pocket watch and I guess another indication of an English industry desperately trying to hold onto their traditions!
In the early days of wristwatches there was a fashion for small watches for gentlemen, I guess to differentiate them as much as possible from the bulky pocket watches of the older generation. This watch is certainly a man’s watch, although at 30mm diameter is small by contemporary standards.
The watch has a beautiful enamel dial and overall is in really wonderful condition and a joy to wear. It has been fully serviced and the time keeping is good at for a watch of this age, keeping time to within about a minute per day. The case has been ultrasonically cleaned, but as with all out vintage watches we have left it unpolished. The crystal has been replaced and the watch has been fitted with a new leather strap. The watch comes with our standard 12 month guarantee.
Please see vintage watch care advice here.
Case diameter: 30mm
Case material: 9 carat gold, hallmarked in London for 1929
Strap width: 16mm
Time keeping: grade B