Today Smiths Group is an engineering giant, but their watch division, the last English watchmakers, closed in the late seventies. It wasn’t always that way. In the fifties, Smiths’ Watches, Clocks and Instruments, were ubiquitous. One of Smiths' "De Luxe" wristwatches was even worn by Edmund Hillary on his successful ascent of Mount Everest (Rolex also supplied watches but the only watch worn to the summit was a Smiths).
Smiths was one of very few companies in the world capable of watch/clock production from scratch. In 1932 Smiths purchased a company called "English Clock and Watch Manufacturers Ltd" of Coventry and thus acquired the famous trade names Astral and Empire which they subsequently used extensively in producing high-quality watches from their factory in Cheltenham.
From the 1950s until the company was closed in the 1970s, Smiths supplied watches to the Ministry of Defense. The W10 aviators' watches are the most iconic of these, being issued from the late 60s until the company closed.