The Smiths Deluxe and Sir Edmund Hillary

From Chronopedia

The Smiths Deluxe and Sir Edmund Hillary


The '53 Hunt Everest expedition was supplied with both Rolex and Smiths watches. The definitive example is that actually confirmed worn by Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit, illustrated in the George White account of The clockmakers of London (Worshipful Company of Clockmakers collection) to whom Hillary presented the watch in autumn 1953.

The 13 Smiths De Luxe watches were described by the manufacturer after the event as being a model A409, a non-dress wristwatch with large diameter subsidiary seconds dial and a Dennison Aquatite case with chromed top and steel screw in back. The A409 differs significantly from Hillary's and were more likely presented as keepsake commemorative watches; Hillary's watch being a transitional 'RG' to De Luxe design. The subsidiary seconds track has no outer ring, and 'Made in England' is above the minute track. The almost exact replica is found in watches signed J.W Benson. The actual watches were signed Smiths De Luxe. This Benson pattern may therefore be the most desirable Smiths watch made.

From 1953 onwards many different models were advertised by Smiths in a new 'Everest' waterproof range, some mischievously as being worn on Everest, but not until 1964 did 'Everest' appear on dials. Oddly the closest to the 'true Everest' is the 1954/5 A404 Lyngen Arctic model.