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Thread: Astral divers - auction images

  1. #1
    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    Default Astral divers - auction images


    VINTAGE SMITHS ASTRAL MENS WRIST WATCH - DIVERS - SUBMARINER CM4501

    Winning bid: £1,550.00 GBP - 32 bids









































    VINTAGE SMITHS ASTRAL MENS WRIST WATCH - DIVERS - SUBMARINER

    Winning bid: £1,366.00 GBP - 14 bids


































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    Default auction images


    Genuine Smiths Astral Vintage Divers Watch, Fully Serviced

    Winning bid: £1,300.00 GBP - 25 bids





































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    Very poor example for thirteen hundred quid.
    "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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    Mind you, it was regarded as a "British Rolex" (with apologies to Rolex) and remains a proud watch to own and wear. Those serrated bezels are not very kind to shirt cuffs!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brenellic2000 View Post
    Mind you, it was regarded as a "British Rolex" (with apologies to Rolex)
    By whom? No disrespect to you or Smiths but this is just a hand-winding cal.60465E movement in a bought-in generic case (with a printed bezel), very dated dial layout and an ugly handset. These were made at the tail-end of Smiths' in-house production as a desperate and belated attempt to cash-in on the late '60s dive watch craze.

    This example in that condition should be a £350 watch, £450 tops. Not three or four times that.

    These Astral divers have a certain charm but they are not a Rolex and not even Smiths' best watches.

    (Smiths' best watches are, imho, the W10, the 25j Automatics and the 1950's Aquatite cased models. Even they should only very seldom nudge a thousand pounds in my opinion.)

    If you're paying four figures for a Smiths then it had better be a rare model in exceptional condition with original box and papers. Oh, and a recent service -- which at least this one did have. But no shots of the movement, which I would want if I was paying that much.)
    "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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    Woaha boy!! Rein-in!!!

    I know they are only a bog standard, common or garden lesser spotted Astrals 'worth' £350, but the fact is people perceive it to be a 'British Rolex divers watch' and happily pay over the odds for the rarity value! No Swiss, Smiths auto and especially 'Hillary type' models are 'worth' £1000!

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    Those divers are just pug-ugly in my opinion. If I wanted a real late-60's design then I'd take an Omega from the same era.

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    Super Moderator dave's Avatar
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    Question unusual dial configuration


    A RARE VINTAGE SMITHS ASTRAL CHELTENHAM DIVERS WRISTWATCH 120 60465E CIRCA 1968

    Winning bid: £699.00 GBP - 1 bid
























    Last edited by dave; 09-30-2017 at 16:04. Reason: clarification.

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    VINTAGE Rare Smiths Astral Made In England Diver's Military watch 200m/660 feet

    Sold for: $1,700.00 USD -Approximately £1,267.10 - Buy It Now

































    Last edited by dave; 09-30-2017 at 16:03.

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    Senior Member foilguy's Avatar
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    Well they are consistently a £1300 watch. In that case the previous one without bezel, was a steal. Bezels can be had easily by buying a £200 donor watch.

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    The one without the bezel has a hack spring and is among the very last movements made at Cheltenham (date code December 1970).

    Still, I agree with Roddy about the aesthetics.
    "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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    Surely all serious divers watches are pug-ugly; they are designed to be read in the dark, murky muddy waters! They are not designed as a pretty dress-watch /bling... albeit that's what most people buy divers watches for!

    I like these pukka Astral divers... and I am unanimous in that! As to the 1-jewel Boys 'splash proof' divers that followed, fetching £425! - double yeuk!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brenellic2000 View Post
    As to the 1-jewel Boys 'splash proof' divers that followed, fetching £425! - double yeuk!




































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    Quote Originally Posted by Brenellic2000 View Post
    Surely all serious divers watches are pug-ugly; they are designed to be read in the dark, murky muddy waters! They are not designed as a pretty dress-watch /bling... albeit that's what most people buy divers watches for!
    No! From that same period (1968-70) you could have a SM300 or 5513 with golden tritium lume and proper bezel inserts that are absolute design classics.

    And inside them there's a chronometer-rated automatic movement (although to be fair to Smiths I've had W10s that were +/- 2 secs a week, so these are capable of great time keeping).

    I love Smiths watches but these are simply not £1,300 worth of watch.
    "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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    Ah yes, Oliver, but how much was an SM300 compared to an Astral diver when new?! I totally agree with you over the £1,300 sale-price.... rampant auction fever gone mad. As for £3,000+ for a W^D DeLuxe.... Crazy!

    Thanks Dave for the images of the naff boy's divers watch. I see the vendor was too embarrassed to open the back! So, that's £25 for the watch and £400 for the box and papers? 'tis a funny old world!

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    Senior Member foilguy's Avatar
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    Since when has quality indexed with money come into it. It's about scarcity, brand name, cool factor, type of tool watch, association, etc. I've a lovely chronometer rated Eterna matic centenaire, with 9 carat gold disc on the back. Produced in 1959. It's a £250 watch.

    There are 3 things that make the Smiths Astral diver cool. 1. It still looks good. 2. It has a great dial (too cool for school) and handset combo with date feature (even though the handset is not unique), 3. It's got a lovely 60465E Hacking Smiths movement in it. Sure its the same as dozens of other generic divers at a glance from the era, but they ain't driven by that movement, or have that dial. 5 years ago the smiths Astral was a £600 watch, its no surprise it's a £1300 watch now.

    There's a look to the Smiths Astral diver dial, that pretty much none of the other generic makers mastered. It succeeds in having a look of Britishness to it.

    I get where you are coming from Ollie, but you know the gig.

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    Fair enough but I think it's ugly. The movement is the best part of it -- and a fine thing it is too -- but I think it looks very far from the British ideals of reserve and restraint.
    "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)

  18. #18

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    Us old codgers saw the "British ideals of reserve and restraint" disappear in the "Swinging 60s" in a puff of £sd (or was LSD?) to be replaced by 70s tat!

    I agree with Foilguys' sentiments; the £1300 reflects avarice ... not the watch. Now there's a subject for next Sunday's lesson!

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    Quote Originally Posted by foilguy View Post
    Since when has quality indexed with money come into it. It's about scarcity, brand name, cool factor, type of tool watch, association, etc.
    Granted, it ticks a lot of those boxes: "Made In England" + "dive watch" are two cool things in one, it's just a shame the execution is so crappy. It could have been a tasteful and and well-made classic (imagine the Smiths 25j automatic movement behind a simple and subtle dial design) but, no, it's looks dated and derivative.

    By comparison, the "Made In England" + "issued mil watch" double cachet of the W10 are combined into thing of beauty: the size, shape, proportions, layout etc. (Mind you, I still think a W10 should be a £350 watch, £450 tops, simply given the fact that they are so common and recent.) Kudos to the MoD for their Def Stan mil spec being so tasteful and timeless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brenellic2000 View Post
    Us old codgers saw the "British ideals of reserve and restraint" disappear in the "Swinging 60s" in a puff of £sd (or was LSD?) to be replaced by 70s tat!
    Yes, l live in a town that lost its charming, if chaotic, centre (parts of which were mediaeval) to the concrete brutalism of the late 1960s. This has aged badly, both subjectively (aesthetically) and objectively (poor material, poor workmanship, poor design -- and when I say "poor" I mean "bad"). The old photos are enough to make me weep.
    "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)

  20. #20

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    To be fair the examples shown here are not the best. A really top class example that is all correct with unmarked bezel and original finish on the case is a really nice watch. Also, being a massive fan of vintage divers watches, I think the dial is superb and really like nothing else.

    I have owned 6 of these over the years and sold a nice Astral diver 2 years ago for £750, so I don't think prices are unreasonable. A rough one seems to start at £1300 ish but a really nice one will cost more. The fact they have generic cases is no big deal as most divers watches from this period did. The movements are nice quality and dials are just beautiful to me.

    I can think of loads of vintage watches, military or otherwise, that are feel overpriced compared to what they used to cost before the days of IG and hodinkee etc. The Smiths Astral diver costs what it does because it's a nice looking diver and a decent size but more importantly it's rare and hard to find a really nice original example. The black date discs are virtually impossible to find and frustrate the hell out of people who try to cobble one together from NOS cases and dials using similar movements.

    I know a few collectors who also love these watches and refuse to part with them (John Senior being one). I'm wearing mine today for the first time in a while and looking at the dial in the sun just puts a smile on my face.

    Each to their own and all but give me one of these over a Smiths W10 any day of the week.

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