Certainly a very grey area in Smiths collecting is the Railway presentation watch. This small gold watch started off as a Deluxe for up to 43 ? or more years service, later coming the Astral signed models.
In general the Railway Deluxe found with the cream or white dials with gilt and blue hands and markers and the bark finished ones I like to fancifully call "tiger striped" are the watches I am drawing attention to.
Although it seems that the majority of these Deluxe signed watches given by the Railways for long service have full or part Astral grade escapements, not the Deluxe parts as the name would suggest, some of the earlier ones in particular still have the full Deluxe grade movement as they were entitled to and were not as the majority apparently were, built to a price.
This watch that was recently in the workshop didn't seem to have ever been worked on before much, if at all, or if so very carefully so presumably a good example for investigation as an original piece.
This excellent example was awarded for long service which included war time employment and started off with service on the steam trains. I can only hope the recipient's faithful service was reflected in the excellence of the watch he received.
The watch dates from around 1959/60 and is a shock-proof movement, in excellent all round condition with a surprisingly modern looking light engraving on the back.
Parts required during the service were the bare minimum, u/b crystal, d/p crown, setting lever spring, or bolt spring in Smiths parlance, and a mainspring as a matter of routine. No undue wear detected in any part of the watch, which was fitted with a flexible bracelet which the relative who now owns the watch is still using.
The escapement was as well finished as any Deluxe I have seen, with a high degree of polish. Unusually all the wheels were running perfectly parallel still, and the movement was easily adjusted to excellent timekeeping standards, or as well as possible without a fine adjustment regulator. There were none of the positional errors often encountered in the Astral smooth balance version.
What a delight to see a Deluxe grade watch performing as Smiths originally intended, and hopefully looking forward to the next 60 years of its life.