Roger W. Smith Series 2, Unique Piece, Stainless Steel


This unique stainless steel Roger W. Smith Series 2* is an especially early piece that represents a special chapter in the watchmaker's journey, as the only Roger W. Smith watch to have been made from stainless steel. The watch has a number of intriguing characteristics, such as the Mark 1-style case and it being the first Smith watch to feature a "blue ink" dial. It also features the first iteration of the Series 2 movement, integrating the original two-wheel version of the Co-Axial escapement. Additionally, the engravings on the dial and movement were applied by one of Britain's last master horological engravers, who also worked on George Daniels' watches.

The flag-bearer of British horology

Roger W. Smith’s journey has seen him go from practicing the 34 methods 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 15 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 style championed by his mentor Dr George Daniels. This unique stainless steel Series 2 marks an intriguing period in Smith's early watchmaking career, making it a particularly sought-after piece.

The stainless steel case was created in the Mark 1 style, which possesses rounded edges and shorter lugs compared to his current pieces and indeed, even with later pieces of the Series 2, which have a slimmer, more curved form. The case is fitted with sapphire glass on the front and back, with the "SERIES 2" and "No. 06-C" hand engraved on the reverse, along with both traditional and maker's hallmarks.

The dial has an outer chapter of engraved, blue minute markers, which marked Smith's first use of blue ink on his dials. This chapter ring has a trench separating it from a second chapter of a polished silver circle and blue inked Roman numerals. All parts are hand-crafted from beginning to end, including the slender, blued steel hour and minute hands, tipped with spades. The cartouche's engraving is also rendered in blue.

A cartouche at twelve o'clock references "R. W. SMITH", in blue engraving. The early Series 2 pieces were all hand engraved on both the dial and movement by the celebrated horological engraver Charles Scarr, who also engraved Daniels' watches. Notably, the engravings are done directly on the movement. More recent Smith pieces have integrated the engravings differently, in a demonstration of how the watchmaker's style has evolved through the years.

Horology isn’t about standing still and accepting things as they are. It’s about pushing things forward and making small improvements wherever we can.

From the Bench, August 2017

The Evolution