At just 22 years old, horologist Roger Smith presented the esteemed watchmaker George Daniels with his first handcrafted pocket watch, in hopes of securing an apprenticeship. Daniels, however, sent him back to the drawing board. Five years later, Smith brought Daniels his second attempt: a pocket watch with a perpetual calendar and a tourbillion, spring-detent escapement. Daniel’s feedback? “You are now a watchmaker.”
Smith became Daniels’ sole apprentice. And on June 10 the exact watch that changed Smith’s life and the industry as a whole will be in Phillips’ auction and is expected to take in over $1 million.
“Roger Smith’s Pocket Watch No. 2 epitomizes a ‘make or break’ moment for both Smith himself and subsequently for all of contemporary English watchmaking,” said Paul Boutros, Phillips’ head of watches in the Americas, in a statement. “It was with this watch that he became George Daniels’ only apprentice, anointed to continue Daniels’ legacy beyond his lifetime.
“The painstaking, yearslong creation of Pocket Watch No. 2 is a testament to one man’s absolute focus and perseverance in the pursuit of his chosen trade. It is without any doubt one of the most important and impressive timepieces made by any contemporary independent watchmaker or brand, and consequently one of the most important watches in the world. We look forward to sharing this remarkable and storied timepiece with our community around the globe.”
This is the first time Smith’s Pocket Watch No. 2 is heading to auction. It is one of only three pocket watches Smith ever created.
At top: Roger Smith in his workshop on the Isle of Man in the 1990s (courtesy of Roger Smith)
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