When I think of Roger Smith, I think of uncompromising regard for the details, a near virtuosic technical mastery, and a direct link to the great George Daniels.*
In a recent post to his website, Smith talks about his very first production watch, the rectangular, unnumbered Series 1, which the watchmaker created in 2001.*
Smith is exhibiting the Series 1 in Geneva from May 9th to 12th at Independents' Day, a non-selling exhibition of independent watchmaking coinciding with the Phillips Geneva Watch Auction: Nine at the Hôtel La Réserve. The example that Smith is showing will be sold in the near future by his very first collector.
Around the time Smith commenced work on the Series 1, he and his famous mentor Daniels had been discussing what "life after Daniels" might look like for the young apprentice. Smith addresses his decision to make his first solo horological work a wristwatch rather than a pocket watch as well as his desire to establish an approach that was distinctive from that of Daniels. With the original Series 1, Smith indeed established his own style of crafting dials from multiple components, in contrast to Daniels's preferred method of making them from a single component.
In the post, Smith also discusses how his initial plan was to build his watch around a Swiss movement that he had bought, but the thought didn't sit well with him, and in the end, he decided to design completely new movement plates for the Series 1.
"When I hold this Series 1, it is with an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I listened to my gut," Smith says. "This watch really does occupy a rightful place as the first step towards everything that has come since. If I'd stuck with that original movement, at the least it would have been something of a false-start for my studio; or, if I'd been happy to use a bought-in movement, I might have turned out to be an entirely different type of watchmaker."
Check out the full article on rwsmithwatch.com.
You can also get a first-hand look inside Smith's workshop from our 2016 visit to the Isle of Man here; and you can re-watch Smith's Talking Watches episode here.