Selling online: an ultra-rare Roger Smith Series 2 – Salon qp

Some great photos in this piece from the Salon QP website

Something we’ve almost never seen is a watch made by Roger W Smith  for sale online. And it can be yours for… £115,000. Pictures from WatchXchange

Ownership of a Roger W Smith timepiece represents the ultimate horological ambition of many, many serious collectors around the world. But given the tiny numbers of watches that emerge each year from Smith’s Isle of Man studio, and the lengthy waiting list involved, very few people will ever get their hands on one.

Which makes the appearance of one for sale online a rather interesting occurrence – in fact, we thought it may be an internet first, though a comment from the PuristsPro here suggests a bit of precedent (well, if anyone should know…). This Roger W Smith Series 2 has just shown up at the recently launched (and evidently well-connected) online seller WatchXchange, whose founder we profiled in QP magazine in November (read it here). It is priced on the website at an undoubtedly hefty £115,000.

© WatchXchange

The Series 2 is Smith’s “production watch” (he also creates unique pieces on a bespoke basis), but don’t imagine series production amounts to volume: such is the painstaking nature of the work in Smith’s studio, fewer than 10 models emerge each year. It’s one of the rarest watches in the world.

Smith began planning the Series 2 in 2002. At that time he had been working under the guidance of his mentor, the great Dr George Daniels, for several years, slowly mastering the 32 watchmaking skills required to make a watch according to the “Daniels Method”. His ambition was to translate these skills into the creation of a “modern, skill-based, high grade British wrist watch”, but it would be four years before a finished model would be created, with a prototype produced in early 2006. The model for sale here is dated December 2006, according to the engraving on its movement plate, making it one of the earliest Series 2 models to have been created.

© WatchXchange

That movement represents so much of what makes a Roger W Smith watch special. Smith took his inspiration from the pocket watches produced in the great age of British horology, by the likes of Tompion, Graham and Arnold. It demonstrates what Smith describes as a quintessentially British style of watchmaking, characterized by the strong three-quarter plate that occupies much of the view, by the depth of the mechanism’s architecture, and by the understated frosted finish, contrasting with black polished steel parts.

© WatchXchange

© WatchXchangeAnd, of course, there’s the small matter of the Daniels Co-Axial Escapement. George Daniels invented the Co-Axial Escapement as a longer-lasting, lubricant-free alternative to the Swiss lever escapement, eventually selling it to Omega, where it now forms the brand’s most important technical pillar. Only Smith is allowed to employ the system outside Omega. In 2010 he delivered his improvement upon Daniels’ design, the Single Wheel Co-Axial, now found in the Series 2 – though as an older watch, this model contains the first generation version.

The case and dial further demonstrate the extreme hand-worked skills of the Daniels/Smith style of watchmaking: a variety of engine-turned dial patterns, and every element cut, engraved or sculpted by hand.

© WatchXchange

This is simply one of the finest watches in the world, embodying the very rarest horological qualities. And a hell of an opportunity for someone with extremely deep pockets. Though whether it’s really worth the readies WatchXchange is asking… well, the market will determine.

The watch is listed on WatchXchange here, and is offered with original box and paperwork. It can be viewed by appointment in central London.

Bremont – Kingsman Special Edition

Being a British male brought up on endless Bond films I felt obliged to go and see this film. I had also heard about Bremont’s involvement so I wanted to see how “natural” their placements appeared. The film as I expected was a little far-fetched but enjoyable entertainment. However, it did seem odd that every watch you saw was a Bremont.

Bremont Watch Company confirms that the Special Edition Kingsman watch range, developed for acclaimed director Matthew Vaughn’s new film Kingsman: The Secret Service, comprises three new models that are featured throughout the film. The film, due to be released February 2015, from 20th Century Fox, stars Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine and emerging actor Taron Egerton. The agents from the super-secret British spy organisation, including Nick English, Co-Founder Bremont, who makes a cameo appearance as one of the Kingsmen, can be seen exclusively wearing these custom made Bremont timepieces.

Here is a trailer

http://www.bremont.com/kingsman

Hoptroff “No 16” – Hodinkee Review

The well renowned watch blog from New York has done a great piece on the crazy looking Hoptroff “No 16”. See the link below.

http://www.hodinkee.com/blog/richard-hoptroffs-atomic-watch-prototype-combines

Bremont ALT1-B Review from Worn&Wound

Bremont is one of those brands I just like. I like the way they do things, I like the people who run it, and, of course, I like their watches. Now, this presents a challenge for me as their watches are also out of the typical worn&wound price range, mostly being above $5k. While I think for watches that price, compared to their competitors, they offer much more watch for your dollar in terms of design, build and engineering… they still are expensive and that can’t be overlooked. But, for the sake of my own and hopefully your general love of rugged timepieces, I am going to break the rules today and go hands-on with the ALT1-B.

BREMONT_ALT1-B_DIAL3

The ALT1-B is a bit of an oddball in the Bremont line-up, with a blacked-out design punctuated by moments of bright red. It’s a bit less polite and clean than its various brothers, but what it lacks in friendliness it makes up for in attitude. This is an intense watch that while discreet in some sense, has a severe look backed by functionality in the form of chronograph and GMT complications as well as an internal pilot’s bezel. That said, the ALT1-B wasn’t just created to add a more aggressive watch to the collection, rather it’s based on a watch specially created for the pilots of the B2 Stealth Bombers… perhaps the fiercest thing to fly. With that in mind, the aesthetic of the ALT1-B clicks into place.

Before I get into it, though this isn’t a new watch for the brand, as luck would have it, its does have relevance right now, with Bremont’s recent announcement of their Kingsman Special Edition. For the new Matthew Vaughn film Kingsman (which seems to be about a sort of organization of Bond-like super soldiers in bespoke suits… that I am really excited for), Bremont was asked to produce 3 special edition watches, all of which have the same basic design as the ALT1-B, and all of which appear on the wrists of the actors throughout the film. There is a model in Rose Gold, a model in steel and the an blacked out model (for the trainees) that is very similar to the ALT1-B, save a few dial details.

BREMONT_ALT1-B_DIAL7

The ALT1-B utilizes the same case design as most of the Bremont line up, with their unique Trip-Tick® construction, and beefy 43mm size. As I noted when I reviewed the MB2, the multi-piece case construction is something to behold, something that sets Bremont apart. Aesthetically, it’s quite attractive, utilizing a separate barrel that has textured sides, and beautifully sculpted lugs. On the ALT1-B, everything is DLC black, utilizing the curves for its stealthy intent. Looks aside, it’s also super tough, with a steel bezel and case back hardened to 2,000 vickers for high scratch resistance.

Also like the MB2, the ALT1-B is fitted with Bremont’s Roto-Click® internal bezel mechanism, controlled by the crown at 8. Essentially, this gives tactile feedback when turning the internal bezel, letting you know when it’s aligned. It’s one of those mechanisms that just makes sense, making you wonder why more brands don’t do something similar.

BREMONT_ALT1-B_CASE1

Where the ALT1-B really differs is in its dial design. The surface is matte black, on which a medley of black, cool grey and red markers emerge for a dial that is dark, yet surprisingly legible. The hour index is presented in large black lume numerals in a blocky type. At 12, 6 and 9, the numbers are cut off by large sub-dials and at 3 by the date. It is quite discrete, receding into the background, seeming more like texture than a primary index. This was a good design choice as there is a lot going on in the dial and had the numerals stood out too much, it would have gotten too busy.

The large sub-dials at 12, 6 and 9 are the 30-minute counter, 12-hr counter and and active seconds respectively. Each sub-dial features circular graining, which gives them a greasy sheen, and grey indexes. The grey, which is present throughout the dial, was a well chosen tone. It’s a cool grey that is light enough to stand out against the black, yet dark enough to keep with the stealth aesthetic.

BREMONT_ALT1-B_DIAL6

Around the hour index is a 24-hour index in the same grey, which is used with the GMT hand. The area this is printed on actually sits slightly below the central surface, which visually separates the information. Around this is a angled internal bezel, which doubles as a minute and chrono-seconds index. Here, once again, you have grey lines and numerals, as well as small red squares every 5 minutes/seconds and a lumed red triangle at 0/60. While there is red in the hands, this is the only red on the dial, giving it added significance.

Thanks to the chronograph and GMT, the ALT1-B packs 7-hands. The hour and minute are both matte black straight swords with lume filling, for a clean and modern look. The GMT hand is a matte black stick with a red triangular tip, that almost appears to float over the dial. The chrono-seconds is also matte black, but has more mass than the GMT, standing out more for it. It has a red tip and a red lined lumed circle at its end as well. All of the sub-dials have small stick hands with red tips, the only difference being that the active seconds hand is white while the others are matte black, separating out the functions. While I understand the logic there, the white hand is a bit distracting amidst all the black and grey.

BREMONT_ALT1-B_MOVE1

Powering the ALT1-B is what Bremont refers to as a modified caliber BE-54AE, which is likely a modified and rebranded ETA/Valjoux 7754. It’s an automatic GMT chronograph with 25-jewels, hand winding, hacking, date, a 42-hr power reserve and a frequency of 28,800 bph. Like all of Bremont’s timepieces, this is chronometer certified by the COSC, meaning it is regulated and 99% accurate. Looking at it through the case, you can see that it is beautifully decorated with perlage, blued screws and a custom Bremont rotor. Because of the stealth aesthetic, Bremont went with an all black rotor with red lettering, which I have to say is really cool looking.

On the wrist, this watch is a mean looking beast. It’s on the large the side coming in at 43 x 51 x 16mm, at times feeling a bit too big my for my 7” wrist, but didn’t look as big as it felt thanks to the all black coating. The Trip-Tick case has beautiful curves that are stylized by the DLC, paying proper tribute to the B2’s the watch draws upon. The dial then appears like a matte black surface from a distance, revealing it’s texture and nuance up close. My problem with many all black watches is that they are hard to actually read at-a-glance, but the ALT1-B is clear as day. The glints of red, and the subtle but visible grey make the information pop-out.

BREMONT_ALT1-B_WRIST2

The ALT1-B is unapologetically a tool watch. It’s tough and rugged with a distinct military feel. As such, this isn’t a pilot’s watch that can masquerade as a dress watch, nor is it meant to. It’s a watch to be used and actually worn (part of what I like so much about Bremont’s watches). It’s a watch best matched with similarly rugged clothing and materials. Think dark and earthy colors, denim, leather, etc…

So, I like the Bremont ALT1-B quite a bit. It’s a fun watch to wear that is exceptionally well made, that I imagine if you have the need for tough-as-nails GMT chronograph, and the around $6,400 to spare, would perfectly suit your uses. What I personally draw from it, since I’m not close to spending that on a watch right now, is more an appreciation for how a blacked out watch can be done right. Many forget that in the end of the day, the watch still needs to be useful. The ALT1-B balances the sleek and aggressive elements of the blacked-out design with legibility, for something stylish and functional.

8 things you need to know about Hoptroff’s No. 16 Atomic Wristwatch

A nice short Hoptroff feature from SalonQP

Hoptroff-no.16


London-based watch designer, bluetooth engineer and mad genius Richard Hoptroff amazed the watch world three years ago with the first atomic pocket watch. Now, he has translated its technology to the wrist, in the form of this double dial oddity

  1. The physics unit at the heart of the No 16’s its atomic clock was developed by the US Department of Defense, to avoid GPS jamming in cruise missiles.
  2. The unit contains an oven to heat Caesium to 130ºC, a laser to excite the atoms and a microwave resonator.
  3. This extracts a transition frequency of 4.5 billion beats per second. That’s compared to, say, the 36,000 beats per hour of a “high frequency” Zenith El Primero.
  4. It won’t explode and it can’t give you radiation, because it’s neither atomic-powered (atomic refers to its atomic ‘pendulum’, not its power source), nor radioactive – Caesium 137 is a stable isotope.
  5. Hoptroff-No.16-Atomic-Watch
    The right hand dial, with mean solar time, sidereal time and equation of time counters, is an homage to Dr George Daniels’ Space Traveller pocket watch.
  6. The left hand dial, with its Art Nouveau pattern, is intended to evoke the trails visible in a cloud chamber – a device used in particle physics to study the movement of atoms.
  7. The faces between the two dials are inspired by Picasso’s drawings, and are rendered in Rhodium plating by master goldsmiths Elliot Fitzpatrick of London.
  8. Designer Richard Hoptroff is a founding member of the Atomic Watchmakers’ Club – current membership: two.

Bremont Boeing Model 1 Review

Here is a very comprehensive review from Timeless Luxury Watches of Texas.

Bremont has been making aviation-inspired watches since the very beginning, but 2014 marked the first time that Bremont and legendary aeronautics company Boeing collaborated on piece.  Being able to design watches with and for Boeing is a major privilege for the English watchmaker and was never seen as an opportunity for a mere rebranding.  Bremont could have taken one of their popular designs, like the Solo, and put some Boeing logos on it and a different color scheme and called it a day.  Instead, not only are these not limited edition watches, but aside from the chronometer-grade movements, which they share with many other Bremonts, the watch is entirely new.  What we see here, the Bremont Boeing Model 1, is the result of that thoughtful collaboration.

The Introduction

There are currently only two models of Bremont Boeing watches available today, the Model 1, which we are looking at today, and the chronograph variant, the Model 247.  Each of those is available with two options:  your choice of dial color, white or black, and your choice of case material and that’s perhaps the big story here.  Boeing models can be had in either a proprietary Boeing steel alloy, 465, which is engineered to have excellent hardness and resistance to corrosion, or you can choose the super light, aviation grade Ti-64 titanium.  I believe that this is the first use of either of these materials in the world of horology, and for the foreseeable future, only Bremont Boeing models will have these materials available.

The particular Bremont we have today, the Model 1 in black, has the 465 steel case, which is my preference.  I like a little heft to my watches, especially when there’s no bracelet, and while Ti-64 should be very hard for titanium, it won’t be anywhere near as hard as this special stainless steel, so I appreciate the scratch resistance.  The Model 1 features a bidirectional rotating bezel and screw down crown, but my favorite feature of this watch is the cool, propeller-esque crown guard at 4:00.  I also appreciate the relatively austere dial which is not a major departure from other popular Bremonts like the Solo.  But perhaps most of all, I enjoy how subtle the Boeing branding is.  I’m not in aviation, so I admit upfront I may not appreciate the branding as much as some people who are, but I’m glad Bremont took this as an opportunity to collaborate on a watch, not really as a marketing vessel for the two brands.  Indeed, you won’t see a single written reference to Boeing at all when worn on the wrist–it’s only on the caseback.

Like virtually all Bremont 3 handers, the BE-36AE is used, Bremont’s adaptation of the popular ETA 2836-2.  It is, of course, chronometer grade, for guaranteed high accuracy, but more noteworthy is the amazing decoration that Bremont uses.  It’s easily one of the prettiest ETA movements I’ve ever seen, to the degree you almost don’t even recognize it.   Also worth paying attention is to the anti-shock mount that surrounds the movement.  This helps insulate the movement from trauma, which not only reduces the chance of breakage but may even increase the accuracy by mitigating the effect of vibration throughout your daily life.

The Face

Just to be straightforward, I think the Boeing Model 1, in either dial color, is the best looking production watch Bremont has ever made.  It really elegantly captures what Bremont is all about.

I particularly like the bi-directional sapphire crystal bezel.  Like every Bremont I’ve tried, it has really solid and clear detents but it’s a little lower effort than their divers, which is a subtle, but positive, change in my opinion.  The pip is lumed, but I would have loved to see all the markers lumed–that would have given a brilliant display at night.  I also like how narrow the bezel it is.  The dial is maximized at the cost of bezel space, but I think that’s a good tradeoff.

The black dial (as well as the white) is of the matte variety and is an excellent proving ground for Bremont’s bilateral anti-reflective coating.  Black dials pose all sorts of additional concerns for photography because the glare is normally so bad.  I usually compensate by using a black canopy which can have its own negative side effects.  In this case, not only did the AR coating lack the blue hue associated with some AR coatings, but it was so good I didn’t use a specialized canopy at all, which is why you can see a little bit of the white ceiling reflecting back.  Very impressive.

The watch is extremely high legibility, even more so than the white dial.  The blue lume is white in decent lighting and it, along with the white Arabic numerals and lumed markers, stand in stark contrast to the matte black dial.

The blue lume is pretty bright as well, although don’t expect diver-esque portions.  It’s more than adequate, however.

Again, the Model 1 is actually an exercise in subtlety, and not just in the sense of being versatile.  Notice that there is not a single mention of the Boeing collaboration anywhere on the face of the watch.  The only hint is the subtle tip of the seconds hand, derived from the Boeing logo.  The whole effort just feels more sincere to me than many other collaborations within the watch industry where a logo is thrown onto the dial and maybe a special color is used for the hands and that’s the whole effort.

The Case

The biggest story in the Model 1 is the case, or more specifically, what it’s made of.  For the first time ever, as far as I can tell anyway, Boeing’s proprietary 465 stainless steel is used, which is supposed to be both harder and more corrosion resistant than other steels on the market.  For those who prefer a lighter watch, Ti-64 aviation grade titanium will be available.  For my money, I prefer this still, but it’s nice to have two unique options.

In addition to good metallurgy, I really love the crown guard on the Model 1 (sadly, due to the chronograph pushers, not available on the 247).  In terms of shape, it reminds me of their propeller logo and just looks really cool.  I also like how the off-centered crown looks on this watch–no particular reason, I just think it works here.

Also of note is the Trip-Tick construction which allows Bremont to choose three different elements to construct each case.  In this instance, the black barrel is a cool, eye catching addition.

My only criticism of the crown guard is that, as you can see, it’s sealed from the top, meaning that when you set the watch, you actually have to grab the crown from below which can be a bit awkward.

Still, worth it to have this cool little sculpture that is actually molded from the lug of the watch and meets an additional component halfway.

Aside from the cool crown guard and narrow bidirectional rotating bezel, the 43mm Model 1 is not a major departure from other Bremont watches, which is probably a good thing since Bremont is one of the most respected case makers and designers around.  For me personally, a man of 5 feet 10 inches, I might prefer it to be a hair smaller, maybe 41mm, but the size difference wouldn’t keep me away from it, particularly since this is a dedicated sports watch.

The Movement

I normally don’t do a movement section for watches with ETA movements, not because they’re inferior, but because there’s such a wealth of information about them already that I’m not really contributing much.  Bremont does primarily use ETA movements but puts their own spin on them.  Many Bremonts have solid case backs so you can’t appreciate their contribution, but here it’s all on display.

As you can see, there is an extremely thorough and beautiful perlage across almost every available piece of the movement.  At first glance, you won’t even recognize this as an ETA movement.

That impressive decoration, as well as the Bremont-made skeletonized rotor, unique to Boeing models, transform the ETA 2836-2 into the BE-36AE you see here.  Virtually all Bremont movements are chronometer grade, and this is no exception, so the performance ought to be on par with most other Swiss chronometers and well within the +6/-4 seconds per day rating.

I also want to point out the anti-shock mount that surrounds the movement.  This helps to insulate the delicate movement from shocks and trauma which not only makes the movement more durable against impacts, but may even help prevent timekeeping instability caused by everyday vibrations (through your steering wheel, your shopping cart and so on).

The Video

Check out the Bremont Model 1 in high-definition with our newest video.

The Conclusion

I have a new favorite from the Bremont collection–the Model 1.  Without a doubt, the Model 1 would be my first choice in a new production Bremont.

Would I choose the white dial or the black dial though?  Stainless steel or titanium?  Well, I’ve already tackled the materials issue–I’d go with the Boeing steel, but the dial color question is much more difficult.  Initially I found the white dial more appealing, but having spent a little more time with the black dial, it’s harder to say.  I think right now, I’d have to side with the white dial, but I need to get both in hand before I can make that decision.  I can say that, although the Model 247 Chronograph is very cool, I actually prefer the simpler Model 1.  It’s more distinct to me–it has that cool crown guard, and I like its relatively subtle design.  This could easily be an everyday watch.

I love being able to see the movement and anti-shock mount.  I don’t care that it’s an ETA at heart, it’s just gorgeous, particularly with those bold blue accents.

The Model 1 got a bit overshadowed by the super popular Terra Nova, but I actually think this is the one to be paying attention to.  For one, the Terra Nova is a limited edition, so it won’t have a lasting impact on Bremont’s lineup.  But I also think the Model 1 is just prettier, and I appreciate being able to see the movement.  It’s really a great example of how to do a collaboration watch instead of a hollow marketing exercise.

Brand Reference

Garrick Shaftesbury now on sale

THE HAND-WOUND SHAFTESBURY SM301 WILL BE THE FIRST WATCH TO BEAR THE GARRICK NAME.

SAM_2245-1170x793

Some of the key elements of this fascinating timepiece include a machined brass dial, featuring an enamel coating and polished stainless steel, leaf shaped hour and minute hands, designed to look resplendent in ambient light. In addition, a small seconds display, with a slender red hand, resides adjacent 6 o’clock.

There is a delightful depth to the dial, courtesy of raised stainless steel chapter rings, mounted on steel pillars. The chapter rings are held in position with thermally blued screws, adding a flourish of colour with their vibrant bluish-purple hue, differentiating this watch from those which are mass-produced.

A sense of tasteful restraint is the order of the day. The case is constructed of stainless steel 316L, arguably one of the finest materials available for this purpose, measuring a highly agreeable 42mm in diameter, conferring ubiquitous appeal. The surface of the case features Garrick’s unique scratch resistant treatment, helping to preserve the factory-fresh appearance of the Shaftesbury sm301 for many years to come.

The incorporation of an onion-shaped crown will proffer ease of operation, as well as an elegant aesthetic, cohesively complementing the exterior of this handsome Garrick timepiece.

A talented team of English-based, Swiss-trained, watchmakers use an existing vintage Unitas 6498.1 base movement and enhance it to Garrick’s exacting standards. The specification includes an in-house free sprung balance, open spring barrel and thermally blued screws. Adding the free sprung balance means that the Shaftesbury is an extremely accurate timepiece and performs well above expectations.

The artisans based at Garrick’s workshop, further enhance the movement by adding in-house open bridges with hand bevelled edges, evincing a traditional mien.

The Shaftesbury sm301 is set to be a fine English watch with impeccable breeding.

The price of the Shaftesbury sm301 is £3995

SPECIFICATION

CASE

  • 316L Stainless Steel.
  • 42mm Case
  • Sapphire Crystal with AR coating
  • 20mm Lugs
  • Sapphire Crystal Exhibition Caseback

DIAL

  • Machined Brass Dial with a choice of rhodium plating or enamel coating
  • Stainless Steel chapter rings
  • Chapter Rings are raised on steel pillars
  • Thermally Blued screws hold the Chapter Rings in place

MOVEMENT

  • Manual Wind NOS Unitas 6498.1 base movement
  • In-House Free Sprung Balance
  • In-House Open Bridges with beveled edges
  • Thermally Blued Screws

FUNCTIONS

  • Hours and Minutes displayed on the off-centre dial
  • Seconds displayed on sub dial at 6 o’ clock
  • Power Reserve: 42 hours
  • Frequency: 18000 vph

HANDS

  • Rhodium Plated Hours & Minutes
  • Red Sub Seconds

BUCKLE

  • 316L Stainless Steel pin buckle

STRAP

  • Alligator or Premium Leather

Roger Smith named GB ambassador

Jan 9, 2015Roger Smiths unveiling the GREAT Britain watch at the Watch Club, in Mayfair’s Royal Arcade in 2014. Roger Smiths unveiling the GREAT Britain watch at the Watch Club, in Mayfair’s Royal Arcade in 2014.
Watchmaker Roger Smith attended a Downing Street dinner hosted by the Prime Minister for ambassadors of GREAT Britain campaign.

Smith, who manufactures just 10 watches each year with his team on the Isle of Man, joined 25 other ambassadors of the far-reaching international campaign, all leading lights within their own fields, at the event in December, where David Cameron thanked them for their involvement.

Meet Britain’s most exclusive watchmaker, whose exquisite timepieces sell for up to £250,000

Just to keep you interested here is another article from the Daily Telegraph celebrating Roger Smith. Happy New Year.

Roger Smith, RW Smith Watches

Roger Smith has mastered 32 different trades to make every component of a watch from start to finish Photo: RW Smith

If you want an exquisitely designed timekeeping instrument, you don’t necessarily need to look towards Switzerland. Mechanical miracles are being handcrafted and designed in an unassuming cottage on the Isle of Man.

Welcome to what is probably the world’s most exclusive watch factory where Roger Smith has devoted his working life to making timepieces. His team of seven uses hand engine-turning equipment to produce watches from scratch, and each watch can take up to 11 months to complete.

The finished articles sell for anything between £100,000 to £250,000, and are sought out by collectors around the world – there is currently a four-year waiting list for an RW Smith watch.

“Watchmaking at this level is very unusual,” says Smith. “I compare it to a Ford Fiesta and a Bentley. The Bentley has leather interior and immaculate piping. It doesn’t make any difference to the running of the car, but it’s nice to have.”

Smith has mastered 32 distinct trades to design and build every component of a watch from start to finish – and he’s one of only a handful of people in the world with this sk

He learned his craft from master watchmaker Dr George Daniels in a partnership that lasted 20 years until Daniels’ death in 2011.

Dr Daniels was the first person in recent history to make every component of a watch, from scratch and by hand and dedicated some 60 years to the art. His “co-axial escapement” invention of 1974 – designed to make a watch’s mechanism run more precisely – was regarded by experts as one of the most significant horological developments in 250 years. It was even taken up by Swiss watchmaking giant Omega in 1999.

The inner workings of his Open Dial watch, which can cost around £150,000

“The introduction of the modern quartz watch in the late 1960s meant that the world was talking of the end of mechanical timekeeping, but George Daniels refused to accept that,” says Smith.

Since Dr Daniels death, Smith has taken over the workshop and continues the watchmaker’s method of handcrafting timepieces.

“Our customers want something unique. They’ve bought the branded watches but now they’re after something different. Our clients appreciate the technical side of the watches and are fascinated in nuts and bolts. They like the idea that someone sits down and makes them a completely bespoke watch.”

Each piece is expertly crafted, and Roger Smith can spend a week perfecting a tiny cog

Buyers come from America, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, China and various other countries with collectors eager to get their hands on a truly unique British masterpiece.

Smith’s path to horological excellence was a painstaking one. He studied at the Manchester School of Horology and began a seven year self-imposed apprenticeship with Dr Daniels shortly after graduating.

The first handmade pocketwatch he presented to his mentor in 1992, following two years of hard graft, was described by Dr Daniels as a “good first attempt but try again.”

His second completed attempt in 1997 was finally acknowledged as a success and Smith’s watchmaking career took off, launching his Series 1 watch shortly after.

His Series 2 timepiece, which took three years to develop, was the first wrist watch to have been designed and made entirely within Great Britain for over 50 years when it was completed in 2007. Series 3 will launch next summer after being in design since 2012.

A bespoke watch from the Series 2 collection

The key to Smith’s watchmaking method is dedication, absolute detail and a great deal of patience.

Each component will be worked on for weeks until it is perfect in every way. Even a small lever, hidden inside the watch, might take two days to polish to get it just right.

“It’s all been self-funded. I’ve nearly gone broke a few times, but I’ve come through,” says Smith.

His team is made up of an engineer who builds the raw components, while the others all have a watch repairing or restoration background. They aim to recreate the standards of English watchmaking in the 18th and 19th centuries, before mass production.

Three hundred years ago, Britain led the world in watchmaking but now that accolade goes to Switzerland.

Lauded for their precision and quality, Swiss watches are synonymous with luxury and was one few industries to have come out of the global recession relatively unscathed.

Smith says he’s observed developments in recent British watchmaking with varying degrees of encouragement and dismay.

“We have this incredible heritage out there. I see no reason why we can’t build on that. But it takes huge investment and time. The industry’s all but gone in the UK. We’d have to rebuild it into the national consciousness, but this is my life’s work and I’m willing to keep at it. It’s wonderful to create something that is going to carry on working beautifully for 200 years.”