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Thread: SMITHS civilian and military movement/case serial number database

  1. #1

    Default SMITHS civilian and military movement/case serial number database

    Smiths movement/case serial/batch numbers

    I have researched the many Smiths Group activities (and other quite unrelated companies) over the years. Being an enthusiast of Smiths' high-grade watches, and in the absence of company records (and no one else doing so), I am more than happy to collate the serial and batch numbers of Smiths movements and military case backs to try and resolve the many ambiguities which exist in this complex and highly confusing area.

    In its most simplistic analysis, Smiths produced four hand-assembled 'mens' wristlet movements for civilian and military use:
    - sub-second 12.15
    - centre-second 27.CS based on the 12.15
    - fully chamfered ‘Slimline’ including the 'budget' National made on semi-automated lines using batch numbers; these evolved into the later Astral/W10 movement - with or without 'hack-set' stop-balance motion
    - 19 jewel Imperial/21J Automatic

    Alas, not all movements have serial numbers. Contract-made movements for Benson, ICI, BR, Military often have a simple but unfathomable 'batch number' doubtless tied to a contract number. Serial number systems are often intentionally made confusing to the outsider!

    To make head or tail of all this, I need at least 100 sets of data from both civilian and military models from yourselves: the more accurate your input the more accurate the output:

    - centre-second or sub-second
    - hack-set, calendar etc, 15, 16, 17 or 18 Jewel
    - nickel or 'gilt' gold finish
    - flat of shallow grooved 'Geneve' finish to plate (1940s models)
    - signed – Smiths, Benson etc
    - serial number: eg 1234, B5678, C9100.. to circa C450000
    - 'batch number’ usually 2 or 3 digit instead of serial number
    - movement type; for example 60466E as stamped

    - military codes
    - Smiths model number if known: eg A409 Everest, A460 Antarctic, T509 etc

    - if known, especially if certificated. Note that watch dial designs often covered many years or were reintroduced. Hallmarked cases do not necessarily tally with movement dates

    'Data protection':
    The above will be collated on a stand-alone DOS based PC so there is no direct internet link or risk of hacking. The spreadsheet will not hold any details of the watches’ owners - so your security is not at risk. Nor will it be given to others without very good reason.

    What next?
    If you are happy with the above PRIVATE MESSAGE me with the details. If you need to send a photo, make sure it is an attachment of no more than 1Mb – a 500Kb legible .JPG thumbnail is all that’s needed! Honest!

    Time scale:
    Impossible to say! Experience from similar models suggests about a year before reliable assessments begin to become possible as there will always be some duff inputs and anomalies!

    Treading on other’s toes!
    If someone is already working on such a project, please drop me a line and l'll happily withdraw.


  2. #2
    Moderator Revo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014


    Barry, it might be worth posting this at tz-uk as well, there's a few Smiths fans over there. Just be sure to say "old" Smiths not the Time Factors' reissues. Also, do you just mean English Smiths ("Made In England" on the dial) or the Welsh ones ("Great Britain" on the dial). James Merrens might help you too.
    "Early this year I saw ex-army watches exhibited in a showcase at a little under £4 each. A week or two later I succeeded in buying one of them for £5. Recently their price seems to have risen to £8." (George Orwell, "As I Please", Tribune, 29th November 1946)

  3. #3
    Administrator ianp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by Brenellic2000 View Post
    The above will be collated on a stand-alone DOS based PC so there is no direct internet link or risk of hacking.
    Using computer equipment of the period also. Like it!

    Order of the Invisible Ethereal Electron with Crossed Wizard's Wands

  4. #4


    I am in good contact with James but even though I have over 120 listed there are far, far too many anomalies to make head or tail of these anomalies! So hence another 100+ at least needed! Bear in mind many watches have clearly been recased so their association is not trustworthy. I don't expect many replies....!

    Re batch numbers. Your calendar theory appears to 'work' with 60xxxx Astral military movements - but there are flaws; especially with civilian movements which were produced at the same time for there are many 5xx, 6xx and 6xxx batch numbers for both 1215 and 27CS movements. It could be the 5, 6 or 60 prefix is a contract code... but again it is not foolproof by any means.

    I'm only interested in Smiths high-grade movements from Cheltenham, not the Ystradgynlais Ingersol/Smiths models... and no I am not on other watch forums.

    Yes Ian, I use a 486 and DOS for all my serious work. I can write 'War and Peace' on it before my internet/XP has booted up... and crashed and my little 486 never crashes! Progress


  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013



    Are you still wanting Smiths military wristwatch details ?


  6. #6


    Yes please, both the movement number and the case back numbers.

  7. #7
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2015


    Would enjoy hepling you with this if I can.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2017


    Hi Barry, are you still working on this DB?

  9. #9

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