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Smalltimeguy

New to vintage watches - need help with Smiths deluxe on the bay

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I'm new to watch collecting and won't be buying a lot, but I'm interested in a Smiths because I recently started a job at Smiths Medical which it turns out is one of the divisions of what used to be Smiths Watches. Funny how time changes things. But I thought I should have a company watch. 

I'm watching a couple on eBay, a DeLuxe  from a watch retailer, Hour Vintage Watch Shop, and two from an individual, an English Astral in very Good shape and a DeLuxe in average shape. The first is serviced and looks great, 1953 vintage. Price is £140 (about $180 USD) 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Gents-vintage-watch-Smiths-deluxe-England-serviced-15-jewels-c400-1953-A-409/312578428855?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20180213162448%26meid%3D90f864bcbc8643dab9ee46ec302ef909%26pid%3D100930%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D382841597898%26itm%3D312578428855&_trksid=p2349624.c100930.m5375

The other two are running but of unknown accuracy, unserviced, and have no bands. But they're only $50. Advice please! 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SMITHS-DE-LUXE-WATCH-GOLD-PLATED-DATE-15J-MADE-IN-ENGLAND/192894886343?_trkparms=aid%3D222007%26algo%3DSIM.MBE%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D20180213162448%26meid%3D5138807d93214c81b501ad6dc2ac876b%26pid%3D100930%26rk%3D5%26rkt%3D8%26sd%3D192894890309%26itm%3D192894886343&_trksid=p2349624.c100930.m5375

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I've got nothing relevant to add, beyond saying Smith's is an excellent choice - lots of heritage there, and the job connection resonates with me - I always try to buy myself a watch to mark milestones like that :)

Vintage can be a minefield though, so definitely worth seeking advice!

For the sake of stating the obvious, modern Smith's is not the same company as Old Smiths too.

Edited by ry ry
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I wouldn't go for one on ebay (personally) just because it's so uncertain as to the condition of the watch, and then the after sales service can be dodgy (been stung a few too many times) not that ebay doesn't have it's place.

There are a couple of dedicated websites that sell excellent examples and reconditioned ones, that are easy to find if you google it. They do seem to start at around £450 though.

There is a great site for vintage that is run by one of our members @scottswatches that I know has offered Smiths in the past and you can trust them to be honest about what you're getting. Happy hunting whatever you decide, they are great watches in my opinion but bear in mind that they are all vintage size ie. 33mm... but that's standard for the period.

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Ask the usual questions about condition and time keeping and buy the seller based on their answers and feedback. My Smiths Imperial ran, but time keeping was all over the place. It turned out the baLance staff was broken and this proved very difficult to source, as there are limited supplies and limited people willing to work on them and guarantee their work. A new balance staff, service and crown was £150 and an 8 week wait. Be prepared that theRe may be additional costs after initial purchase. You may fall lucky and not have any, you may not be so lucky.

Once fixed it keeps great time and is a great watch to wear. :thumbsup:

 

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55 minutes ago, Littlelegs said:

It turned out the baLance staff was broken

Definitely make sure the watch has shock protection - I have a couple of Russian watches that I like very much, but without shock protection it is always that bit of a worry when wearing them that you'll give them a crack and break the balance staff - I tend to wear the newer ones much more, even though they are not as interesting!

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I would agree with @Autonomous Buy the best you can afford from a respected and trusted source, serviced and with a guarantee.

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Well, so I went ahead and blundered into an auction. I sniped my way into a Smiths Astral English made for about £50. He's a watch dealer with good feedback so for the money - about $85 US with shipping - I felt OK about it. I'll see when it gets here I guess. I'll try to get sone decent pics of too. 

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always bear in mind that they will likely as not need a service, like a used car. 

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In case you didn't know, modern re-issues of Smiths watches are being sold by timefactors.com, although they don't have anything to do with the original company bar the right to use the name and logo. 

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I've seen timefactors. Are they any good or just capitalizing on the name? 

 

As far as service, a competent guy, a watch repair guy (horologist?) told me if it's ticking within 2 minutes per day don't get it serviced. I was pretty taken aback but when he quoted me $200 - 300 I figured for a watch worth £50 I would wear it til it really needs it. Maybe he's way out of whack on his price. What's fair in your eyes? 

I have seen watches at $100 being offered on ebay as "fully serviced", can that be for real? 

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The watch forum's resident repairer/servicer.... Is @simon2 ..... and is very reasonable .... Are you in the U.S. @Smalltimeguy ? The way it works is you post the watch to him @ essexclockandwatch and he will give you a quote..... (If only a service and no parts required.... Usually about £60 or £70 + postage)... Still would be a lot cheaper than $200-$300.... He is very well respected on here .... I have had a couple of small repairs done by him at a very reasonable price 

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