Smiths De Luxe 6B/542 British Military Wristwatch c.1956

Smiths De Luxe 6B/542 British Military Wristwatch c.1956


Stock Number: W0433 Category:

Smiths De Luxe GS 6B/542 RAF Wristwatch c.1956

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 for the British Army 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 the precise specification of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

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 to the RAF in 1955 and carries the same 6B/542 designation as the more common Omega “53” pilots’ wristwatches.

Following the first 300 examples being produced it would appear the MoD had no further requirement for any other 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 have 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 6B/542 is an extremely rare find and is considered by many military watch collectors as something of a “grail” watch. This is mainly due to the small number of these watches that were 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.

The watch for sale is featured in our journal entitled, The Secret Watch Collector’s Hoard, a link to which can be found below:

The Secret Watch Collector’s Hoard

The Smiths De Luxe GS 6B/542 is in excellent overall condition having been serviced by our highly skilled and experienced horologist.
The dial is in good condition with no obvious flaws or blemishes. There are some small dabs of white paint which appear to have been added over the Smiths logo. We have seen this with other examples.
The hands and crown are all correct to the original specification of the watch.
As expected, there are several fairly minor scratches and marks to the outer casing of the watch which are commensurate with age.
The 27CS calibre movement is running well and keeping good time and retains its original dust cover.

The watch comes with a free six-month warranty, two new NATO straps and a bespoke presentation watch box.

Diameter: 36 mm (ex crown)