Roger Smith - The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XV Hong Kong Monday, November 28, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: Roger Smith
    Year: 2011
    Movement No: 30-C, movement further engraved “MMXI”
    Case No: 30-C
    Model Name: Series 2
    Material: 18K pink gold
    Calibre: Manual, in-house caliber with single wheel co-axial escapement, 28 jewels
    Bracelet/Strap: Crocodile
    Clasp/Buckle: 18K pink gold Roger W. Smith pin buckle
    Dimensions: 40mm diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and buckle signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by Roger W. Smith Ownership and Service History booklet confirming the start date was in 2011 and the commission of a hand-engraved barrel bridge and balance cock, travel pouch, key, fitted wooden presentation box and outer packaging.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Roger W. Smith OBE is no doubt one of the most respected living figures in modern horology.

    At the age of 16, his discovered his zest for life while studying at the British School of Watchmaking and became a Bronze Medallist of the Horological Institute upon graduating in 1989. Recognised as the most exceptional student of his class, Roger met the late Dr George Daniels around that time—the man who would forever alter the course of his life and lead him to become the flag-bearer of British timekeeping. For a while, the young apprentice found himself unfulfilled after starting his career at the TAG Heuer repairs department. With the desire to push for excellence, he approached Daniels offering his apprenticeship, but was bitterly turned down. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, the master watchmaker’s refusal pushed Smith to resign from TAG Heuer all together and set out to build his first fully handcrafted tourbillon pocket watch with detent escapement in his parents’ garage. Despite 18 months' worth of blood, sweat and tears, Daniels was not yet satisfied with his creation, which forced him to return his workbench for another five and a half years, working on his second creation, a tourbillon pocket watch with a perpetual calendar. This time, Smith’s presentation of his completely self-made timepiece made an impression on the English icon. With these heartening words, “Congratulations, you are now a watchmaker”, he became Daniels’ only apprentice and colleague in 1998, as the pair worked on ground-breaking projects such as the Millenium series together.  

    In 2001, Roger embarked on his own journey as a watchmaker and put down roots alongside his mentor on the Isle of Man. The Series 1 was Smith’s first serially produced wristwatch, boasting strong Daniels influences. Unlike his now-iconic rounded wristwatches, Smith’s inaugural collection was rectangular with retrograde date function, produced for only three years between 2001 and 2004. According to the watchmaker, the quadrilateral case of the Series 1 was also a nod to A. Lange & Söhne’s then-newly released stadium shaped “Arkade”. Perhaps not the most well-known of their early releases, this model made an impact on Roger nonetheless, due to its perfectly moulded movement that fits perfectly in its case. Finally, the time had come for Smith to settle into his role as an independent watchmaker. His ability to detect flaws within the craft and find ways to address them is highly regarded amongst his peers. Whether it was solving a slippage issue in the Daniels’ Co-Axial Escapement or fine-tuning long-date-hands covering information on triple calendar watches, the man is shaking up the industry with his ingenuity. 



    Following his inaugural collection, the first batch of Series 2 was delivered in late 2007, cementing the Roger W. Smith distinct design codes and craftsmanship. A quintessential gentleman’s watch, his second collection is the embodiment of three centuries worth of refinement, knowledge, and legacy of British horology, represented in a 38mm or 40mm round dress watch– all painstakingly built and finished manually by Smith and his few trusted artisans. Along with its dial and case, the movement within is also fully in-house, made with Daniels’ co-axial escapement. The Co-Axial Escapement is arguably the most outstanding British innovations in haute horology. Initially composed of two conjoining gears, Roger takes on the legacy of his mentor’s invention and improved it with a similar looking single-piece escape wheel in 2010.


    The present example is a Series 2 with a 40mm case, made in 2011 and delivered in 2012. Boasting an exquisite, silvered dial, the outer chapter is adorned with engraved black minute markers, with a trough rachet work that highlights the second chapter of hand-carved Roman numerals. The heart of the dial reveals yet another stepped level finished with a hand-turned basket weave pattern. From its lean pink gold hands to the curved cartouche at 12 o’clock, everything is hand-crafted in-house by the watchmaker. The power reserve indicator at 10 o’clock flaunts a basket-worked guilloche in the opposing direction, topped with an engraved chapter on a polished silver strip and pink gold up-and-down hand, bringing added dimension to the dial. Lastly, the large sub-seconds register at 6 o’clock is finished with an understated hobnail pattern, complete with a grained seconds chapter boasting drilled dotted second markers that frames the slender pink gold seconds hand with a rounded tip.

    Bridging the gap between aesthetic execution and technical refinement, the sapphire caseback of the present timepiece reveals an impressive traditional movement, inspired by the quintessential British pocket watches of Tompion, Graham and Arnold. Like the dial, the in-house caliber—equipped with a Single-wheeled Co-Axial Escapement—is equally beautiful. Complemented with frosted finishings, the commanding three-quarter main plate offers an understated warm gold tone canvas for the unique Baroque-style hand-engraved raised barrel bridge and balance cock, customised to the original owner’s taste.

    Throughout the two decades of watchmaking in isolation, only 120 watches have left his work bench in the Isle of Man. Exceptionally well-preserved and complete with its original accessories, the present opportunity to become the owner of this pink gold Series 2 is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The ultimate testament of British watchmaking, this stellar example that will surely excite discerned collectors of important independently made timepieces.

PLEASE NOTE, THIS LOT IS A PREMIUM LOT. TO BID ON THE LOT YOU MUST COMPLETE AND SATISFY OUR PREMIUM LOT PRE-REGISTRATION PROCEDURE NO LATER THAN 24 HOURS BEFORE THE START OF THE AUCTION SESSION IN WHICH IT IS OFFERED. PLEASE ALSO NOTE THAT ALL BIDDERS MUST PLACE BIDS IN PERSON, VIA ABSENTEE BID, OR BY TELEPHONE. PLEASE CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT FOR DETAILS. Property from the Original Owner

Σ ✱845

An exceptionally rare and important pink gold wristwatch with small seconds, power reserve indication, engine-turned dial, hand-engraving on the barrel bridge and balance cock, certificate and presentation box

2011
40mm diameter
Case, dial, movement and buckle signed

Estimate
HK$1,500,000 - 2,500,000 
€197,000-328,000
$192,000-321,000

Sold for HK$4,410,000

Contact Specialist

Thomas Perazzi
Head of Watches, Asia
+852 2318 2031
[email protected]

The Hong Kong Watch Auction: XV

28 - 29 November 2022 (Online Registration ends 27 Nov, 2pm HKT)