Smiths A404

£ 950
This is a lovely example of one of the iconic Smiths models - the A404. The design is somehow perfectly of it's time - this particular example dates from around 1955. It has Smiths workhorse 1215 movement, without shock protection.

It's in the Dennison Aquatite case, which is chrome plated with a screw on stainless steel back. The plating is in top condition, which is really rather rare for this model. Dial has developed a lovely warm champagne colour over the years and the overall impression is very elegant.

This model was advertised by Smiths as having been carried on the famed first ascent of Everest, although the actual watches carried by Hilary and co were slightly different.

Fully serviced with a new crystal and strap, the watch is ready to be worn and enjoyed by a new owner.


Specifications:
Case diameter (excluding winding crown): 33mm
Case material: chrome plated brass
strap width: 17mm (11/16")
time keeping: grade A


Smiths watches

Smiths were the last English producers of quality watches. Their watches aren't very well known today because it's over 30 years since they stopped production, but the quality of their watches bears comparison with anything the Swiss were producing. Smiths produced a variety of styles of watch for both ladies and gentlemen in chrome, steel, silver and gold cases. The gold cased watches were particularly popular as long-service presentation gifts and the casebacks are often engraved with a presentation inscription. We don't remove these inscriptions as we feel they are an important part of the story of each watch. They developed an automatic movement watch and also were contracted by the British army to produce a wristwatch for general service use (the automatic and the military Smiths are amongst the most sought after and command high prices).

These days we associate the Swiss with high end mechanical watches, but in the 19th century it was English watches that occupied this prestigious position. The Swiss began to compete with the English watchmakers by producing low cost watches. The English were slow to adapt to this new competitor, they took great pride in the relatively small volume of high-quality hand made watches that were produced in England. The Swiss gradually swamped the watch market - beginning with low cost watches, later they produced watches of a comparable quality to the English hand-made watch, but at a lower price. The Swiss developed machine production of watches, this meant that the quality could be kept consistent and replacement parts were interchangeable. Ultimately the English industry couldn't compete and by the early 1930s pretty much all watches were imported.

In the run up to the second world war, the government became concerned that there was no indigenous watch industry left. They turned to S. Smith & Sons who were a long established a watch and clock producer and underwrote the development of a new factory in Cheltenham. Precise timing mechanisms were important for the war in things like bomb timers, as well as more traditional time pieces.

After the second world war, Smiths switched over to civilian production with the first of their watches coming onto the market in 1947. They continued production up until the late 1970s, when they rather suddenly split up the watch and clock division of the company. By this time Smiths Industries was more focussed on civil and military avionics and probably felt that the watches were part of their past. It seems odd that nobody else sought to take over the business as they were clearly profitable, possibly the impact of quartz watches was a factor in their decision to end the business

We aim to dispatch all orders placed before 12pm (GMT), on the same day working day. Where this isn't possible, we will try to inform you via email as soon as possible.

When your order is dispatched you will be emailed the tracking details.

Please allow extra processing time for watches with a customised engraving or strap, during busy sales periods this can take an extra 3-7 working days.

If you are in a hurry for your watch, please email us.

Shipping guide for watches:

UK: FREE next working day delivery with DPD
United States & Canada: FREE Fedex shipping, 1-2 working days

Click here to see the full shipping guide for watches

Clocks, straps, bags (unless purchased with a watch): 

Free Royal Mail shipping, 5-14 working days (depending on location)

Please note, during busy sale periods dispatch may take a little longer (this is quite rare). These delivery times are a guide based on the DPD, Fedex and Royal Mail terms of service, products may, in some unusual cases take longer to arrive. If this happens, please get in touch. 

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