An interesting element on the movement is the placement of both the name of the watch (GREAT Britain) as well as the year of its construction. These are uncommon elements in watches – though I wish they’d be used more often. From a collector’s standpoint it is great to see how the case, movement, and dial all must go together. Also on the dial is an interesting three-pointed image on its own little plate. For those that don’t know what it is, it is the symbol of the Isle of Man called the Triskelion. If you look closely you’ll see that this triskelion is actually three conjoined legs in knight’s armor complete with spurs.
In addition to being hand-made the movement in the GREAT Britain watch displays a fair amount of hand-engraving work. The art looks interesting against the traditional English “frosted” movement aesthetic that has been part of the region’s watchmaking culture for hundreds of years. Movements such as this can only be hand-made and part of limited or unique productions. They simply take too much effort and there is so much that could not be replicated in a mass production. That includes some of the mechanics in addition to the obvious difficulty of the decoration.
The Roger Smith movement is manually wound with a Co-Axial escapement. It still uses the basic Co-Axial escapement invented by George Daniels, but Roger Smith claims to have improved it by making it vastly lighter. The movement also makes use of a 3/4 plate and has been intentionally made as aesthetically pleasing as possible with hand-flame-blue screws, red gold chatons, and a number of highly finished surfaces. The simplicity and design of the movement are simply breathtaking. It satisfies watch lovers on so many levels – there are just so few independent watch makers like Roger Smith that are so universally non-controversial in their appeal. The watch further came in an English Oak wooden box with Union flag lid that was produced by English furniture maker Linley.
So what will become of GREAT Britain watch? The government isn’t allowed to keep “gifts” and it is a piece of significant value. According to Roger Smith, if a dollar value was to be put on the GREAT Britain it would be £180,000 (about $294,000). Apparently the watch will be “on loan” for an exhibition in London and after that it isn’t sure what will happen. Perhaps it will be returned to Roger Smith or there is already a designated buyer. If there isn’t already a buyer there is a very good chance it will find itself up to auction in the future. If so, you can be sure it will fetch more than $300,000. rwsmithwatches.com