S. Smith & Son, 9 Strand, London, Makers to the admiralty & the Indian government, Movement No. 192-255, Case No. 192-255, 59 mm, 188 g, circa 1905
A heavy deck watch with 52,5 min. carousel according to Bahne Bonniksen and formerly with Kew Class A certificate "Especially good Class A 84,0 Marks"
Case: silver, tiered, polished, case maker's punch mark "SS", gold crown, hinge and shackle. Dial: enamel, off-white (Willis), radial Roman hours, auxiliary seconds, signed, blued spade hands. Movm.: 3/4 plate movement, raised barrel engraved with honour cyphers, frosted, gilt, signed, carousel revolving in 52,5 minutes, chatoned centre wheel, English lever escapement, gold screw compensation balance, freesprung balance spring, chatoned diamond endstone on balance.
"Carousel" watches are a design by the Danish watchmaker B. Bonniksen, who registered the patent in 1892 in England. His intention was to create a compromise between the "expensive" tourbillon and a normal chronometer - and he actually achieved better results with his carousel than some of the tourbillons. In 1899 Richard Lange improved the design and received a protection of utility patents D.R.G.M 121267 for it. The escapement in a carousel with auxiliary seconds turns around itself in 52,5 minutes, and thus avoids the variation caused by gravity. The model shown here is the 12th carousel watch made by Lange & Soehne.
Lit.: Detailed description and illustration in Reinhard Meis "A. Lange & Söhne" Callwey Verlag, page 222
S. Smith & Son
A leading firm in London for high quality and complicated watches at the turn of the century, S. Smith & Son was founded in 1851 by the jeweller and watchmaker Samuel Smith. In addition to the wide range of watches and clocks for private customers, Smith's also built reliable chronometers which made the firm a supplier to the Admiralty. Under the management of Herbert S.A. Smith the firm developed into a large manufacturing company that had its own research laboratories; in the next generation Sir Alan Herbert Smith extended the company product range further and began with the production of automobile and aircraft instruments. Around this time a period of general decline for British horology began; even so, a few British watchmakers created magnificent, ultra-complicated watches, as if to prove to the world that they were still the best. Some of these watches were made in collaboration with the most renowned Swiss watch companies. Charles Frodsham, Edward John Dent, and Samuel Smith were the London watchmakers best known for this, as well as J. W. Player in Coventry . Even among all the British Grand Complication watches of the 20th century this watch stands out. Its dial was made by the famous British maker Willis, whose dials are always outstanding. The movement is equally exceptional. It is large and has a very cleverly designed mechanism; it often utilizes the same arbor in the cadrature for two functions and is finished with extreme attention to detail. Some of the solutions, although not new, employ innovative ideas. Thus is the mechanism that disengages the striking while setting the watch planned in a simple and yet very secure manner.
Dial: very good
Movm.: very good, capable of running