As most of would know from the time of the first world war many countries had high import duties on complete watches which led to many manufacturers exporting bare movements to be cased up at their destination.
Australia was one of those and probably Australia's largest case maker was J W Handley in Melbourne
Established in Victoria St Abbotsford in the mid 1920's they moved from the corner of Church St to 655 Victoria st in 1929 into a new purpose built factory.
Other businesses they ran out of these premises were Aluminium & Plate P/L, Pyramid Plate & Aluminium, and Crusader Plate P/L. These companies produced a
variety of hollow and flat ware.
In 1928 Mr Tilley went to Switzerland to source "the most modern" machinery for watch case manufacturing. From press reports of the day his visit was far from well regarded by the Swiss watchmakers and threatened anyone who supplied him with machinery with sanctions. They even approached police to have this "undesirable trader" deported ( which had previously happened to two Canadians).
The machinery was subsequently purchased and contacts obtained to produce cases for brands such as rolex.
In 1929 100 staff were engaged in watch case manufacture.
For whatever reason Handley and Tilley parted ways on 3/3/1934, with Tilley signing an agreement not to work in the industry for a given time.
In December of the same year all the assets of Handley & Tilley were sold to J W Handley P/L.
Up to this point the trademark had been an open hand with the text HANTILY.
Subsequent to the split the text was changed to HANDLEY.
(the Handley and Tilley company was officially deregistered on 11/4/1935)
In 1935 Handley launched legal action against Tilley for breach of the 1934 covenant when Tilley set up a company in his wife’s name and starting making cases and trying to poach customers from J W Handley P/L. Handley won the case and received 1000 Pounds in damages.
J W Handley went on until the 1960’s and made a great variety of products- during WWII they produced such things as compass cases and gun sights for the military.
They eventually ceased production in the 1960’s while the Crusader Enterprises business continued making hollow and flat ware up to the 1980’s.