Roger W.Smith

Roger W.Smith
Pushing the boundaries of watches made in the UK

Roger W. Smith

Roger W. Smith’s journey has seen him go from practicing the 34 skills of the Daniels Method in his parents’ garage to today being widely viewed as the flag-bearer of British high horology. From his workshop on the Isle of Man, Smith produces fewer than 18 watches a year, each one made entirely in-house and finished in a tradition informed as much by classical English watchmaking as it is by the method championed by his mentor Dr George Daniels.

Even in the world of independents and their small output of pieces, simply handling a Roger W. Smith is a rare pleasure, while owning one is a privilege even fewer enjoy. His steadfast commitment to producing watches of an English style – in the storied tradition of the likes of Thomas Tompion, George Graham and John Arnold – is as evident on the dial as it is on the finishing of the movement. This historical fidelity stands him apart in modern watchmaking.

While closely tied to Daniels’ legacy, Smith has charted his own path and is today viewed as one of finest modern watchmakers, not just in Britain but anywhere in the world. If Daniels reinvigorated curiosity in the country’s rich horological past, Smith’s watches have sustained that interest.

With a wait time of five years for a finished watch, and Smith currently not allocating new pieces, collectors are looking at the watchmaker’s past work with renewed interest.

It would be no exaggeration to say that Smith, in collaboration with Daniels, birthed the modern, finely crafted British wristwatch. He has since furthered that tradition, whether it is with the continued development of the co-axial escapement, experimentation with complications or his evolution of the English watchmaking aesthetic itself. While the 18 watches he now creates annually benefit from the distillation of his unique perspective, the pieces he has created under his own name since 2003 offer a rich study in his progression as a watchmaker.

As a London-based organisation, A Collected Man’s interest in Roger W. Smith is perhaps obvious. Over the last eight years we have spent a significant amount of time studying Smith’s philosophy and dedication to championing British watchmaking, speaking with the watchmaker and visiting his workshop. This has afforded us a position of knowledge from which to advise those looking to sell and buy the more than 15 pre-owned of his pieces we have handled so far.

It is worth noting the historical significance of some of these watches in Smith’s catalogue of work. It includes the Grande Date Flying Tourbillon No. 1, Tourbillon No. 3 with Date, an open-dial Series 2 bearing the No. 00-OD as well as the only stainless-steel Series 2 ever made. This is in addition to the unique Series 1, with a dial customised by A Collected Man, which fetched a world record price.

The Designs

Roger W. Smith

Series 1, Unique Piece, White Gold, Auction

Here is a one-of-a-kind Series 1, a rare watch of which only 18 examples exist, with a closed waiting list. The watch features a dial with customisations proposed by A Collected Man, with a view to creating a minimal interpretation of Smith’s immediately recognisable aesthetic. The 38mm case is crafted from white gold and is paired with a silver dial. The Roman numeral hour markers typically found on all Roger W. Smith watches have been replaced by simple baton markers. Twenty per cent of the profits from this sale will be donated to the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers.

Auction Ended 25/11/2022
Sold For £660,000
See Details

Roger W. Smith at A Collected Man


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