There are not many watchmakers who create timepieces like in the old days; everything hand-made. One of the best examples is Roger Smith who recently finished another commissioned timepiece with a tourbillon.
Here on Monochrome we wrote more about Roger Smith, because Roger Smith is all about the true watchmaker’s art. We could try to introduce him to you, but he did this himself in the best possible way. For this spectrum of the horological world, you don’t simply go to a boutique and buy one. No, this takes time and appreciation of this fine craft of hand-making timepieces.
Because of this Roger Smith makes less than 12 pieces in one year. Everything is hand-made, engineered and produced in-house. Many brands use the same terminology, however an in-house produced watch from most brands means something completely different.
The piece comes in a (hand-made) 42mm case of 18-carat red gold and the case is made of strip gold. Three strips are used for the case back, case middle and bezel and they are first formed into a ring, soldered, driven and tapered and formed. This labor intensive process is necessary for such a one-off piece and takes about two weeks.
The dial is made of silver that is engined turned by hand. The chapter ring is also made of silver, with hand-engraved numerals and lettering. Even the hands are hand-made and frame around the date aperture are hand-made of red gold.
This timepiece displays hours and minutes and the seconds are shown via the sub dial at 6 o’clock. All indicator hands are made of 18-carat red gold; shaped, carved, filed and polished by hand. The date, shown at 3 o’clock, has an 18-carat red gold framed aperture surrounding the hand engraved date numerals. The Up & Down indicator dial radiates from the 10 o’clock position, showing the state of power reserve in the winding barrel.
The classic one-minute tourbillon construction with free-sprung balance and four platinum timing weights utilises the Daniels co-axial escapement located at the back of the movement, its rotation directly driving the sub dial seconds hand on the dial side. The movement shows the typical English three-quarter plate, which by the way is also typical for certain German watch brands. The English three-quarter plate however features a different finishing.
Roger W. Smith is the world’s only bespoke handmade watchmaking company to employ the George Daniels co-axial escapement, which is seen by many as the greatest development in watchmaking for 250 years. The mechanism delivers unequalled chronometric performance and longevity. The video below shows how this escapement works.
Timepieces from Roger W. Smith are no mass products and the skilled artistry comes at a price – upwards of £72,500 (+ VAT). For this the customer will be involved in the process from commission to completion and become the owner of a precision work of art.
Smith says he will never compromise standards to reduce the waiting list for one of his pieces. He explains: “Every component is bespoke. Most clients’ expectations are conditioned by experience of mass produced Swiss watches. The Roger W. Smith experience is very different; it’s collaboration between me and the client that begins with my enlightening the customer about the process of true craftsmanship, gaining their confidence and sharing with them the complexity and the painstaking hours, weeks and months involved in creating a handmade watch. Only once a client has reached that level of understanding can he or she fully appreciate that commissioning and owning a Roger W. Smith wristwatch is an experience and investment on a scale very different from that of buying a mainstream high-end timepiece.”
If you have 8 minutes to spare… check out the two videos where Roger Smith explains about this unique timepiece.