Tag Archives: hand made watch

Oakleigh Watches – Surprise News

Some of you might be familiar with or have even bought watches from Oakleigh Watches, the established used dealer. The company has been in business now for ten years, so to mark this important point of their history they are marketing their own watch. The Oakleigh Chronograph.

The hand finished 36 mm chronograph case has a sapphire case back through which you can see the Valjoux 7750 automatic movement. The rotor is engraved with the company logo and anniversary details.

The silver plated dial has three sub-dials with a hand turned ‘Clous de Paris’ guilloche pattern and black Roman numeral hour markers and minute track.

The hands are in the Breguet style and are handmade and blued.

The caseback itself is engraved with the company name and the limited edition number of the individual watch.

Each watch is presented in a custom made leather wallet with two alligator patterned leather straps.  The straps, one in black and another in dark brown, are handmade by The Strap Tailor and finished with an Oakleigh Watches logo buckle. They feature a quick change spring bar to make them quickly and easily interchangeable.

Handmade by renowned watchmakers Michlmayr & Co in Norwich, there are ten chronograph watches available for advance order at £3000For more information contact – giles@oakleighwatches.co.uk 

I have not seen or handled the watches but given the reputation of the team involved this would definitely a watch to consider for those who appreciate this classical style of chronograph.

Pinion Axis Pro Pure


Displaying Displaying Pinion Pro

The Axis Pro Pure collection from Pinion Watches is now complete, available in polished steel, marine bronze or DLC black this new non-limited run features a dial design with ‘professional’ styled applied batons, two-step bezel, anthracite sub seconds and radium or green luminova. Prices will start from £2,300 inc VAT .

If you get a chance try to get along to one of the Apex London meetings to see these great looking watches in the “metal”.

Robert Loomes – Everest Watch

Here is link to a nice little video about the watches Robert Loomes supplied to a Royal Gurkha Regiment expedition to climb Everest.

I imagine there is a special connection between the Smiths movements, that Loomes modifies for their watches, and Edmund Hilary Everest expedition.

Subsequently the expedition have been caught up in the earthquake disaster. You can follow there progress on the Robert Loomes website.


Film – The Watchmaker’s Apprentice

You can see the trailer here


he Watchmaker’s Apprentice is fundamentally a documentary about two very special men, whose skills are unparalleled in the world today – the only men in history to master an art so completely and perfectly, that between them, they are successfully reviving an ancient industry.

The documentary is also about the passage of time, about making every moment count, about life and – ultimately – about death; itʼs about our fleeting existence, and the opportunities we have to leave an eternally lasting imprint on the world should we choose to push ourselves and our creative, scientific and ‘human’ abilities to their full potential.

It’s about obsession. Passion. Personality. At the very heart of the story lies the fascinating and vividly colourful relationship between the two protagonists – The Watchmaker himself, George Daniels CBE, and his Apprentice Roger W Smith, the only man George ever deemed worthy to pass his hard-earned knowledge and skills to in order to continue his life’s work.

Their relationship is captivating – one of mutual respect and arms-length friendship, with a healthy dose of competition, somewhat akin to a father and son working in the same field, but made all the more interesting because of their entirely disparate personalities.

It was only when George passed away sadly before this documentary was completed, aged 85, that the true depth of the admiration the men had formed for each other began to become apparent: in Roger’s final interviews, the moving eulogies at the funeral, and in George’s generous and heartfelt final gesture revealed in the execution of his Final Will and Testament…

The Watchmaker’s Apprentice, made by independent production company DAM Productions on the Isle of Man, contains the last interview George Daniels gave, just months before his death in October 2011. As a result of the relationship built with our team over 18 months of filming, the story will be told through the compassionate eyes of a friend; unbridled access has enabled us to acquire fascinating footage of Georgeʼs workshop (exactly as he left it before it was dismantled), his wonderful collection of vintage cars and his beautiful home – the contents of which have since been distributed to auction houses around the world.

The documentary is narrated by acclaimed British actor, John Rhys-Davies (‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Indiana Jones’), and features interviews with numerous esteemed friends, family and colleagues of both men. Music includes songs by Manx artists Davy Knowles and Christine Collister, 3D animation and character illustration by Manx 3D/Maya artist Andrew Martin and additional graphical representations by Gary Myers.

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.”