As part of our ongoing vocational support programme for Birmingham City University, we’ve been delighted to host 2nd year undergraduate horology student, Alex Downing at Roger’s workshops.

03 August, 2022

Roger said; “Finding, nurturing and developing talent is vital for British watchmaking and it is something that I am particularly passionate about. As such, although we’re a very small workshop, I’m committed to helping as much as we can by providing an insight for an aspiring watchmaker into our own unique approach.”

This year’s placement student, Alex Downing, commented; “I’ve just finished my 2nd year on the BCU Horology BA course, transitioning into my 3rd year. Working with the Roger W Smith team has shown me the importance of discipline and attention to detail when producing the highest quality parts. Eventually, I hope to be able to produce bespoke timepieces whilst also contributing to the future of the horological industry.”

Josh & Alex
Watchmaker, Josh Horton (left) with Birmingham City University student, Alex Downing (right)

During his time at Roger W. Smith Ltd, Alex was mentored by watchmaker Josh Horton. Alex further commented; “Josh, who was an excellent mentor, introduced me to some of the finishing techniques used in the creation of a Roger W Smith watch, including the heat treatment of steel work, black polishing, bevelling, and engine turning.”

Josh said; “It was rewarding to be able to show Alex some of the finishing techniques we use. Being able to help demystify methods like black polishing, for example, will hopefully help him in his future career.”

In summing up this year’s placement, Roger said; “As watchmaking continues its exciting resurgence across the British Isles, we need to keep on encouraging more young talent into our sector. Full-time horology courses such as the degree at Birmingham City University offer the best possible start for any aspiring watchmaker and as our trade body, the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers has demonstrated, with 72 member companies - and counting; the career opportunities are there for students”.

Information about Birmingham City University’s BA (Hons) Horology degree can be found here.