Smiths De Luxe GS British Military Watch c.1960
The end of the Second World War by no means brought about total peace for Britain who became involved in conflicts all over the world. Such conflicts in Palestine, Malaya and Korea were fought with the equipment left over from WW2, which in watch terms was primarily the W.W.W’s.
In the 1950s, prior to the production of the Smiths W10, Smiths were commissioned by the British Government to produce a “General Service” (GS) wristwatch which was to be used across all branches of the UK armed forces and was to be manufactured to a precise Ministry of Defence (MoD) specification.
An order was subsequently placed for 300 pre-production examples, the first of which was issued to the RAF in the mid-1950s. The watch for sale was issued in 1960 and would have been supplied to various Government agencies overseas such as members of the Foreign and Commonwealth.
Following the first 300 examples being produced it would appear that the MoD had no further requirement for any additional watches and no more orders were made. This was until 1961 when around 600 examples were produced and issued to the Royal Australian Air Force. Due to the small number of watches manufactured, the cost to Smiths to produce each watch was extremely expensive.
Smiths has a grand history in the UK as watch, clock and instrument makers. They are famed for having produced watches for the British military and Smiths watches even accompanied members of the first Mount Everest Expedition. Sadly, Smiths produced their last military wristwatches in the early 1970s.
The Smiths De Luxe GS is extremely rare and is considered by many military watch collectors to be something of a “grail” watch. This is mainly due to the small number of these watches being produced and the very few examples that are known to exist.
As such, the watch for sale represents a rare opportunity to acquire a special piece of British military horological history.