Watch Spotting: What’s On Roger Smith’s Wrist?

By Cole Pennington

The great independent watchmaker Roger Smith has produced just over 100 pieces in his 20-year career. Before striking out on his own, Smith was the apprentice of one of the all-time greats, George Daniels, the father of the coaxial escapement. Smith’s work has long been appreciated by in-the-know collectors, but recently his horological genius has been recognized by a much wider audience. Last May, his Series 1 “Onely Theo Fennell” piece unique shattered all expectations at auction and brought in CHF541,800 without buyer’s premium – blasting past the initial CHF 80,000 estimate.

Smith is no stranger to the HODINKEE audience. We’ve talked watches with him, we’ve reported on his unique (in the true sense of the word unique) watches, and we’ve even been a fly on the wall of his hallowed workshop on the Isle of Man. While most watchmakers seek to expand their business and come up with new product offerings, Smith’s operation is founded on the exact opposite principles. He’s focused on technical innovation and honing his craft with a very small number of models. Right now, he’s technically not taking any more work.

Roger at bench

During Smith’s 2018 Talking Watches episode, you may have noticed an “Ed White” Speedmaster in his collection with a caliber 321 inside. It’s a fitting watch for a man who’s more concerned with what’s inside than outside, as the caliber 321 is a “world class chronograph movement, and just the way it’s been designed you can tell that the people who designed that movement were watchmakers. They really understood what they were doing,” to use Smith’s words.

Just the other day, Smith posted something to Instagram that serves as an interesting follow-up to his initial praise of the Omega Speedmaster.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


six + 3 =