Benjamin Button is one of my favourite films. It is based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which creates a bittersweet analogy of time. Time is one of the most curious parts of our civilisation; we are the only species on earth to question our use of time. A rabbit, for example will think nothing of eating later or earlier than the day before. Nor will it postpone relationships in order to meet work requirements. The white rabbit in Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll, is thought to be a metaphor for time itself, and Alice, like us, is chasing it, yet never quite catching it up.
Although we will never be able to feel time on our fingertips, we can keep an eye on it wrapped around our wrists…
The very first, self-winding wristwatch was invented by British watch repairer, John Harwood in 1923. The invention of the watch was similar to the launch of the iPhone, in the sense that it revolutionised the way people used an old idea. Time was kept by the sun, and by immobile grandfather clocks. The same way technology was shackled to office desks and bulky computers; the wristwatch like the iPhone, made desirable information portable. The irony of that analogy being the iPhone stole the wristwatches job.
However, the watch is still a fashion piece, and memoir to the advances of the industrial age. It is a work of intricate art, which expresses an amazing combination of human abilities. The inner workings of a watch to some of us, are as complex as time itself, however to a select group of experts and artisans, they are as simple as the change from night to day. One of these individuals: the celebrated Roger W. Smith, Bronze medallist of the British Horological Institute.
He handcrafts some of, if not the most, exclusive watches in the world from his factory on the Isle of Man. These stunning wristwatches are not only rare in quantity but also rare in their style. There are few contenders on the market at this level.
For British products, we have to talk about ‘The Great Britain’.
The series 2 watch, celebrates British innovation and technology around the world. It sports a one of a kind movement, and the hand made dial is one of the most detailed and complex you can find.
The design was created in celebration for the Great Britain campaign, after the British Prime Minister David Cameron himself appointed the maker an ambassador on the project. Smith wanted to embody a timeless collection, of everything he as a British watchmaker, had learned and accomplished over his years in the industry. To be worn by some of the most accomplished individuals in the world.
Obviously these pieces, retailing at over £100,000 per unit are not marketed at the average consumer. They are for the most dedicated collectors and admirers of time.
Roger W Smith watches, beautifully represent the story of the founder. Although he came from modesty in Bolton, he was passionate about practical engineering. After impressing at the Manchester school of Horology, he set about creating his first pocket watch. Inspired by master of watchmaking, George Daniels, Roger Smith perfected his method and was invited to work with Daniels himself on the Isle of Man.
Following Daniels passing in 2011, he passed on his entire shop to Smith. The legacy continues and evolves into a hybrid of the influences, of two great masters of craft.
Enjoy the photos, these watches have inspired an entire collection of photography but that is another article.
http://www.rwsmithwatches.com all available here.
Keep time, timelessly.
Roger W Smith, watches of innovation.