To celebrate this landmark Roger will give an exclusive preview of the Series 4 as part of his ‘Open Dial’ virtual tour for members of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers.22 January, 2021
Following a five-year gestation since announcing his design prototype, Roger has completed the first Series 4 watch, which is defined by its ground-breaking calendar complication.
When interviewed at its announcement in 2015, Roger explained; “I had wanted to create an instantaneous triple-calendar wristwatch for some time, but was initially dissuaded by the often difficult-to-read dials.”
The Series 4 is a 41mm cased, manually-wound wristwatch displaying hours, minutes, seconds with date, day, month and phase-of-moon complications.
This completed Series 4 represents the apotheosis of Roger’s work to date which also celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
As with all Roger’s current watches, the heart of the Series 4 is his latest single-wheel co-axial escapement. However, what truly defines this piece is the ‘Travelling Aperture’ calendar complication, which Roger began designing back in 2012.
“Functionally the Series 4 is, without doubt, my most complicated watch; but the real challenge has been in attaining these complex functions without compromising the elegance and simplicity I strive for aesthetically. Ironically, it was in protecting my aesthetic approach that inspired the calendar complication”
This function which has always stumped watchmakers is the travelling date-hand, since this travels and sits over key date information for several days at a time thus compromising the dial’s legibility.
“After several years of drawings and experimentation I came up with the Travelling Aperture, which I believe is the first time this complication was created. It simply reverses the function, by having the Travelling Aperture orbit the outer edge of the dial, thus removing the need for that troublesome hand!”
The 100th watch
It seems appropriate that this Series 4 also marks a significant milestone for Roger, being his 100th watch since launching Roger W. Smith Ltd. To celebrate its special place in the pantheon of Roger W. Smith watches, it is identified by a special gold plaque, engraved “The 100th R.W.SMITH”.
A total of 100 watches in the twenty year history of Roger W. Smith Ltd suggests an average of only 5 watches for each year…
“For a significant period, I was also working with George Daniels on the Anniversary watches (of which there are still one or two to be made) and, of course, during the early years I was focused on the creation of the Daniels’ designed tourbillon wristwatches “The Blue” and “The White”. To this day, we remain uncompromising about our approach and still make only around 12-13 pieces each year” explained Roger.
Open Dial event - date TBC in March
We’re happy to share some beautiful images of the Series 4, but Roger will be showing the Series 4 at first hand, and talking about the story of its creation at a unique virtual event coming up shortly.
This is the first of an ‘Open Dial’ event series, which is being offered exclusively to members of the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers, the British trade body which Roger co-founded in November 2020.
“I’m really looking forward to the Open Dial, as it’s the first time I’ve been able to open the doors, albeit virtually, to my studio and to talk about my work at the bench” said Roger. “I’ll also be giving a first glimpse of our work on the nano material research.”
The Open Dial is being hosted by Rikki Daman from Scottish Watches and is sponsored by A Collected Man and the date and time will be confirmed shortly.