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Watchmaking Wizardry of Roger W. Smith

Posted: November 5th 2019, 5:26pm
by koimaster
Once an apprentice to the revered George Daniels, Roger W. Smith is considered the greatest British watchmaker today. In this profile from our sister magazine, WatchTime Middle East, editor Nitin Nair finds out what makes him tick.

A protégé of the esteemed George Daniels, Roger W. Smith has assumed the mantle of Britain’s preeminent watchmaker for close to a decade now following the passing of his mentor. Awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) this year for his services to British watchmaking, Smith is renowned for producing watches by hand in the splendid isolation of the Isle of Man using the traditional methods espoused by Daniels.

At a time when it feels like mainstream brands are running out of ideas to reel in new buyers, clients have to wait close to three years to get their hands on a Roger W. Smith wristwatch, which may cost them in excess of $150,000. These timepieces produced by Smith and his team follow “The Daniels Method” – every component is made from raw materials in the Isle of Man studio without the use of repetitive or automatic tools. In what is an antithesis to the assembly line production that is the norm in the mainstream industry, a watchmaker must master 32 of the 34 skills requisite in handcrafting a watch to be able to follow The Daniels Method. Smith set up his own studio in 2001 “with our unswerving ethos to only craft watches by hand.” It takes the studio about 12 months to complete a watch; it can take weeks just to engine-turn the dial of a Series 2 wristwatch.

“As a result, production will always be low – we only make 10 pieces a year,” says Smith when we caught up with the soft-spoken watchmaker during the Horology Forum hosted by Dubai Watch Week and Christie’s in London last September. “The new workshop will let us take on some extra staff and extra pieces of equipment. We might increase production to about 13 pieces a year spread across the range of five models.”

https://www.watchtime.com/featured/grea ... 728bd6f117