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Thread: Sir Edmund Hillary's "Everest" Smiths -- and mine

  1. #41
    Moderator Revo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post

    here's another gratuitous photograph of your old JW Benson; I love it.
    Yeah, about that -- can I have it back now? :-)
    "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)

  2. #42
    Member simonk's Avatar
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    Gratuitous pics of my Deluxe and Everest




  3. #43
    Member simonk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by workahol View Post
    I like the background in Ollie's Smiths advert. Where can I get a necktie in that pattern?!

    - Matt
    Quote Originally Posted by Burgs View Post
    That would make a totally excellent tie - I'd buy several in different colors.
    Can't help you with a tie, but this French company do something similar in scarves

    http://www.a-piece-of-chic.com/


  4. #44
    Member Mr Curta's Avatar
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    This is the closest that I can find, although currently sold out.



    http://www.mostlycufflinks.com/colle...inted-silk-tie

  5. #45
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by workahol View Post
    I like the background in Ollie's Smiths advert. Where can I get a necktie in that pattern?!...



    quite a selection here if you really don't fancy the pink one:

    http://www.zazzle.com/airplane+ties



    eh, is this still the military watch forum?...

  6. #46

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    I wonder if anybody ever bought the tie with the big paper airplanes all over it???

    The sold out Spitfire tie is very nice, as is the pattern on the French scarf.. Vintage is nice. The Cessnas and airliners not so much - especially in pink.
    Cordially,
    ~Burgs


    I've been up early my whole life, and all that ever did was increase the amount of time during the day that something could go wrong... - Inspector O

  7. #47
    Senior Member Seiji's Avatar
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    Nah... this is the real Everest watch ref 6098 bubbleback.
    Plus, Hillary and Norgay never confessed who was the first on top.



    Full disclosure. My 1952 ref 6098 bubbleback.

  8. #48
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    ^^^ oooh that's fightin' talk!

    I refer you to posts #3 & #11 in this thread.

    Incidentally, believe Tenzing confessed that Hillary was the first to the summit? Of course, he may be lying or mistaken . . . .

    There is absolutely no evidence that Hillary wore a Rolex on the Hunt expedition (although he did on others and may have on this one) but he did say he'd "carried" the Smiths right up to summit. Rolex have done their best to imply it over the years but the only watch that Hillary claimed to have taken to the top was the Smiths. If you can find photos or documentation in support of the the Rolex "claim" I'd be very interested to see it.

    But kudos for not repeating the common mistake of saying Hillary wore an "Explorer" to the top of Everest. That really winds me up (in an automatic, semi-bubbleback butterfly-rotor sort of way).
    "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)

  9. #49
    Senior Member Seiji's Avatar
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    Makes for interesting read
    https://www.hodinkee.com/articles/fo...e-pics-details

    rolexpassionreport.com/10685/the-historical-1953-mt-everest-rolex-of-dr-charles-evans-key-member-of-the-british-everest-expeditions

    So others can decide.

  10. #50

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    "It's not at all hyperbole to call this one of the most important wristwatches of all time "

    Ohh I don't know, I'd say that was probably just shading it into hyperbole (gotta love Hodinkee!)

  11. #51
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    Yes, those are two of the best examples of inference, supposition and biased extrapolation out here. The bottom line is that Hillary said he'd carried the Smiths to the summit. If he'd said the same thing about the Rolex we'd never have heard the end of it (the Rolex advertising dept would have made the most of it, you can be sure of that. Cf. Omega and the moon.)

    I'm not a Rolex hater (I'm wearing one as I type this) but I'm not a Rolex fanboy, either. Facts is facts, and in this case it's a Smiths what done it. Hodinkee? Hoodwinkee.

    edit: I guess the fairest thing that could be said is that *maybe* Hillary and/or Tenzing wore a Rolex to the summit of Everest. But Hillary certainly carried his Smiths there.
    "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)

  12. #52
    Senior Member Seiji's Avatar
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    Well, don't know anything about watches... But, from this person's page as well as the Beyer Museum, seems likely that there were plenty of Rolexes on that expedition.
    Now, if it was me on that rock, I'd have worn the better built watch as my main watch and another well built watch as a backup.

    http://rolexpassionreport.com/11164/...n-on-may-29th/


    Where is James Dowling? Missing out on all the fun here.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seiji View Post

    Now, if it was me on that rock, I'd have worn the better built watch as my main watch and another well built watch as a backup.
    Well, me too. I love Smiths but they're no Rolex (no screw-down crown, and the need to wind the watch would mean taking gloves off in those conditions etc.) But we've only got what the man said. And the man said he took his Smiths to the summit. And Rolex know it. Hell, everyone knows it. But people think what they want to think, selectively seeing evidence that supports their claims and disregarding anything that goes against it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Seiji View Post

    Where is James Dowling? Missing out on all the fun here.
    Yeah, I miss James. He's not been around for a while. :-(

    OK, re that link above: "Dr. Charles Evans & his Everest Rolex he wore up to 50 meter from Mt.Everest top on May 26th 1953." And: "a very early Pre-Explorer Ref 6150 without explorer stamp on the dial & 52 engraving in the case back and the 1953 British Everest Rolex who made it almost to the top on the arm of Dr Charles Evans." (Emphasis mine)

    "Almost"! So close! But only Smiths actually went there.

    But the RPR link you put in the earlier post is worse. Spot the glaring non sequitur here:

    "So 1953 Evans Everest Rolex is No.29. Sir Edmund Hillary’s Everest Rolex in Zurich Beyer museum has the proto number 28!. So Evans No.29 almost made did it to the top already 26th, then Hillary made his step May 29th, same day of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II wearing his No.28"

    Umm . . .so because Evans wore his "issued" Rolex when he failed to reach the top (fact), then therefore Hillary was also wearing his "issued" Rolex when he did actually get there? Umm . . . I hope whoever wrote that never serves on a jury or indeed has to think logically about anything, ever.

    But this part actually made me angry: "The real deal, Everest ’53 Evans Rolex next to wannabes. [picture of an old Smiths advert]"

    No, incredible as it might sound the humble Smiths De Luxe is the real deal. You can buy-in (literally) to the Rolex dream and believe what you want about the brand but don't diss the watch that actually made it to the summit. That's just stupid.

    Poor old Hans Wilsdorf, first backing the '52 expedition and then having his watch on Evans' wrist just short of the summit. But it wasn't a watch from the Alps that went to the top of the Himalayas. It was a watch from the Cotswold hills.

    Allow me to repeat what I said earlier (I think it bear repeating) --

    My understanding is that Rolex had used the "Everest" name on the dials of their watches since the 1930s and had sponsored (i.e. supplied watches for) several unsuccessful attempts on the summit. It must have galled them to have missed out on the actual ascent to the summit.

    It seems Hillary did indeed have a Rolex issued to him for the Hunt expedition but he never made any claim to having taken it to the summit of Everest. That accolade rests with Smiths alone ("I carried your watch to the summit" -- a claim he never made for Rolex, although he did say he took a Rolex up as high as 22,000 feet -- which in itself is a pretty telling detail as it is somewhat short of Everest's 29,000).

    Tenzing, who did go to the top along with Hilary, seems (from several photos) to have worn TWO watches: presumably the Rolex he already had and the Smiths he was given specially for this trip. So, yes, quite possibly a Rolex did go all the way to the summit of Everest but Tenzing was the second man there (after Hilary) and he was wearing two watches, only one of which -- the Smiths -- was officially gifted or issued to the Expedition. So it was more by chance rather than design that a Rolex happened to get there (if indeed it did -- i.e. assuming that Tenzing's second watch was his Rolex.)

    Again: it was Smiffs wot dun it -- and no amount of slick Rolex PR "suggesting" something otherwise or wishful thinking by the brand fanboys is going to change history.
    "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)

  14. #54

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    " I love Smiths but they're no Rolex"... hang on boy!! Such blasphemy!! I was told by a respected watch-repairer that the Smiths Astral Divers watch was "the British Rolex"... :-)

    I'm intrigued by your insistence that "... but Tenzing was the second man there (after Hilary) and he was wearing two watches, only one of which -- the Smiths -- was officially gifted or issued to the Expedition...." Where is your documented evidence that this was 'officially gifted or supplied to the expedition'. It is very fair bet that it was, but there is little actual written proof and of how many were supplied pre-conquest. And though he (or Tenzing) may well have taken it to the summit all advertisements need to be read with circumspection... after all the Smiths' adverts don't display Hillary's watch but a later civilian model whereas the Antarctic adverts better reflect such!

    TTFN

  15. #55
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    Well . . . the 1968-70 Smiths Astral diver is "just" a cal. 60465E (same as the W10's 60466E but with the calendar complication) in the Seiko 62MAS case. They're fine watches (I've had several myself and John Senior collects them) but they're not Subs. Not even nearly. Sellers talk them up. (I know -- can you believe such a thing?!) I love Smiths but in the early 1950s Rolex's "solid" (i.e. not plated) Oyster case, superior shockproofing, screw-down crown and automatic movement made them a far better choice for expeditions than the Smiths De Luxe. The prices at the time reflect this. As time went on Rolex continued get better (triplock crowns? massive WR depth ratings?) while Smiths evolved much more slowly so the gap between them widened further still. By the late 1960s the gap was very wide (even with the Astral diver being one of the best civilian Smiths ever made).

    Re my claims about Tenzing: yes, I think you're right. I believe he had a Rolex from an earlier expedition which he wore on the Hunt '53 climb; whether he also got one of the Smiths is an open question and I was wrong to say he had one, although there are pictures of both Tenzing and Hillary wearing two watches -- although whether either or both of them wore two to the top is unknown. Again, my mistake.

    All I do know is that Hillary wore a Smiths to the summit; he said so. He never said that about Rolex or any other watch brand. All the claims that Hillary and/or Tenzing wore a Rolex as well as or instead of a Smiths at the summit are pure conjecture. In fact, I would go further and say they are wishful thinking. Rolex Passion Report -- hardly an unbiased source, the clue is in the name -- is adamant that Smiths are mere "wannabes" and that the Evans -- the Evans? -- watch is the "real deal" (??). Now, I'm always open to change my mind (and I mean that) so I asked RPR if there is any evidence that a Rolex went to the summit with Hillary and/or Tenzing. Alas, instead of producing proof I was subjected to a quite unwarranted ad hominem attack. *sigh* How dare I question the preeminence of Rolex in all things horological? And who the hell are Smiths anyway? Best of all, the quote by Hillary ("I carried your watch to summit") is, apparently, no more than advertising b.s. (Unlike all the Rolex adverts that imply it!) Hey ho.

    Hope that helps, apologies for my inaccurate comments. As I said, I'm always open to change my mind .

    Thanks for keeping me in check -- it's good to accurate and I strive after truth.

    So far that seem limited to Hillary's own words as to which watch he wore for the final stage of the ascent: a Smiths.
    "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)

  16. #56

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    I'll let you off!!... and I'll correct my misunderstanding that the Rolex (or Tudor?) 'Explorer' was in fact an Oyster. This raises the issue of did it become a Rolex 'Explorer' to capitalise on to the Everest association?

    After all, the 'Everest' brand was never applied by Smiths until the 1960s and even then on watches - from ladies' to director's - which were never designed to endure an expedition beyond the Alpine ski resorts! Smiths at first only referred, post-1953, to an 'Everest' range of ruggedised, water-proof cased DeLuxe models... which probably was also modelled on the short lived Benson 'Tropical' range. Alas we still know so little about Smiths...

    Barry

  17. #57
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    nit-picking here chaps:

    I carried your watch to the summit...
    but doesn't that imply that the Smiths was in a pocket or a rucksack?

    strange use of our language; why not say wore?

    food for thought...





    interesting thread.

  18. #58
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    Yes, 'carried' is an odd verb but it seems that's what the man said.

    Maybe 'carried' was uppermost in his mind with all the heavy and bulky equipment they (and/or their sherpas) lugged up there? Maybe the watch was indeed in a pocket or pack? Also, if you were a copywriter for an agency you'd have worded it better; the very eccentricity of the word smacks of authenticity.

    It was certainly a quote that Smiths used in at least two adverts so I guess didn't Hillary see fit to correct or change it. It's the killer "money" quote and Rolex (and their fans) would have loved to have had the same or its equivalent.

    But no, they just had things like the four adverts on this page http://rolexblog.blogspot.co.uk/1998...onquering.html

    (Can't post pics, photobucket is down for maintenance)
    "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)

  19. #59
    Senior Member Seiji's Avatar
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    For B...2000


  20. #60
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    Just to clarify a couple of points: it seems Hillary got his Rolex on the earlier 1952 Cho Oyu expedition and therefore wasn't issued with one for the Hunt expedition.

    http://rolexpassionreport.com/907/my...edition-quest/

    And Evans' unsuccessful attempt was three days before Hillary's conquest of the summit -- not one day as I said:

    http://rolexpassionreport.com/10685/...t-expeditions/
    "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)

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