|This is my grandfather's watch and chain given to me by
my father around 1970. Now nearly seventy years old, the watch still
works, although it doesn't keep time now and the
glass is yellowed. The watch is a
Ingersoll Triumph manufactured sometime in the 1950's by the
Anglo-Celtic Watch Company Limited at their Gurnos Works at Ystradgynlais,
near Swansea in Wales. The company started up after the Second World War
as a joint venture between Ingersoll Limited, Smiths Industries and
Vickers Armstrong. Vickers sold their shares leaving the largest
European watch manufacturer in the hands of Ingersoll and Smiths. The
factory started production in 1947 and continued right up to June 1980.
Ingersoll watches were apparently very popular among miners and other
workmen due to their robustness and seeing how Grandfather's watch has
survived for getting on for seventy years I can agree with that.
My grandfather, a very smart and handsome young man was known for wearing his watch and chain from his jacket lapel as you can see in the photograph. However, the chain in the photograph is of a 'rope' type, whereas the watch chain given to me has links. There are hallmarks on the cross-piece but whereas there should be four marks - manufacturer, silver content, assay office and date letter, the cross-piece only has three - it is missing the assay office. Depending on how you interpret the date letter it could be either Birmingham 1898 or Chester 1924. The Chester Assay Office closed in 1961 but the Birmingham Assay Office is still operating and its web site has a searchable database of makers marks. If the chain does originate from Birmingham then the makers could be;- Edwards Belts & Son, George Bower & Son (registered mark 9th June 1824) or John Bannister & Dalton Stephenson (registered mark 8th October 1845). However, none of these companies appear to be in existence after 1885, so either the chain is at least one hundred and seventy-four years old or it dates to 1924.