Display Watch

EW45 front
watch index 74
country British  
piece name (title): S Smith and Sons Kew A Grade
plate three quarter
plate finish gilt
date 1894
long comment class A certification from Kew Observatory, Watch Maker to the Admiralty, free sprung
case style
case material silver
serial number 19311
maker Samuel Smith worked at 12 Newington Causeway, SE London from 1850. S Smith & Sons operated at 9 Strand from 1.875-1918, and also in Trafalgar Square from 1911-1926. The company was both a maker and retailer, and bought many movements from Nicole Nielsen. They sponsored very many watches and chronometers submitted to the Kew Observatory for testing
movement 3/4 plate, stem-wound pin-set, English lever fusee, freesprung. The top plate signed 'S Smith & Sons, 9 Strand, London' and 'No 193-11'. The raised barrel cover engraved 'Watchmakers to the Admiralty, Class 'A' Certificate Kew Observatory'. The movement plate pattern is a Nicole Nielsen design, and it is very probable that NN made the movement complete. NN are reputed as one of the finest movement makers in Britain in the late 19th century.
escapement Freesprung with overcoil hairspring (not blued steel so perhaps palladium - see Remarks Section). The balance wheel has a diamond endstone and is cut and compensated with gold screws and some platinum screws (later replacements).
case Open face with hinged back and cuvette and snap-on bezel.

Sterling silver, gold hinges, gilt stem crown.

Plain polished throughout.
case marks The inside back cover marked with a lion for Sterling silver, leopard's head for London, T for 1894, and PW incused for Philp Woodman, Clerkenwell, London, registered in 1871. The inside cuvette partially marked with lion and T.
dial and hands The white enamelled dial has a Roman hour chapter, closed minute ring to the outside, and a sunk subsidiary seconds dial at 6 o'clock with closed chapter and Arabic numerals at 10 second intervals.

The dial signed 'S Smith & Sons 193-11' above, "Class 'A' certificate Kew Observatory" through the centre, 'Non-magnetic' above the seconds dial.

Gold spade and whip hands and a gold seconds hand straight with small tail.
notes This watch is actually the one submitted to Kew Observatory for testing, and which was granted an 'A' Certificate. A copy of the ledger entries for this watch can be purchased from The Royal Maritime Museum, and those entries may confirm Nicole Nielsen as the movement maker, and will confirm the date of manufacture.

The term "non-magnetic" on the dial indicates that the balance wheel and hairspring are made of non-magnetic materials such as palladium.

The external diameter of the watch is 52mm and the gross weight 124 grams.
valuation This is a high quality timepiece, the movement made by one of the finest makers and the whole watch cased and finished by a highly reputed firm of chronometer and pocket watch makers and retailers.

The value is derived first from the movement maker (Nicole Nielsen who are highly prized by collectors), second from the Kew Certificate, and lastly from the general reputation of S Smith.
copyright © 2017 Graham Morse and Martin Rosen
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