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Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

At SalonQP 2015, Isle of Man-based independent watch maker Roger Smith debuted four new watches – sort of. These new timepieces are considered to be his “first series of watches,” meaning that they won’t all be one-off pieces. Smith began producing watches back in 2001 and, according to him, has only produced 80 watches during those 15 years. That should speak to the intense time and effort required to make timepieces by hand, the old-fashioned way. At the show, I was able to take a look at the upcoming Series 1, Series 2, Series 3, and this Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase watch.

So what exactly made it a preview (more so than normal)? Well, none of the watches had movements in them. I asked Roger when we might be able to see this Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase watch in “working” condition, and the response was something like “probably a couple years.” Sort of shocked, and sort of not, the answer was a reminder of the reality that is Roger Smith’s work which sees him as a mostly one-man operation hand-making not only his watch movements, but also the cases, dials, and hands.

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

The preview of these four new (admittedly stunning) models is good news for Roger Smith fans, since people like him always need to offer a delicate balance between producing watches clients have ordered and dreaming up (as well as designing) new products. The Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase watch is the most complicated of the new group and showcases so much of what Roger Smith is fondly known for.

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

If you didn’t already know, Roger Smith was the (only) apprentice of the late and great watchmaker George Daniels. Picking up where Daniels left off, one of the key elements of Roger Smith’s watches are co-axial escapements. George Daniels invented the co-axial escapement, which was technology later sold to Omega. I believe outside of Omega, Roger Smith is the only person around able to make use of the technology.

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

In the Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase and some other new Roger Smith watches, a slightly updated version of the co-axial escapement will be integrated into the watches. Improvements in the design allow for overall performance enhancements for a mechanism that is itself an obvious upgrade over the Swiss lever-style escapement found in the vast majority of other mechanical watches today.

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Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

Overall improvements in a co-axial escapement more or less translate into more accuracy over time, longer intervals between serving, and less performance degradation over time as the next service interval nears. The newest generation of co-axial escapement wheels from Roger Smith (which apparently are a nightmare to produce due to the tolerances) also feature a one-piece construction which I believe is distinct from the original George Daniels designs. This further simplifies (and thus improves) the concept in watches. While thematically the same, it is interesting to see how visually and mechanically the co-axial escapement that will be produced by Roger Smith today has evolved from the originals produced by George Daniels several decades ago.

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase Watch Hands-On Preview Hands-On

I suppose it will take a few years before we can talk more about the movement inside of the Roger Smith Series 4 Triple Calendar Moonphase timepiece, but until then, we more or less know what it is going to be like. The manually-wound co-axial escapement movement will feature time with subsidiary seconds, along with a moonphase indicator and triple calendar with windows for the day and month, along with a peripheral indicator for the date.

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Comments

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  • outremer

    Yes, stunning, that’s the right word.

  • benjameshodges

    As an annual calendar, wouldn’t it need to be adjusted every year at the end of February? I thought a quarterly perpetual needed to be adjusted every 4 years on a leap year.

    • iamcalledryan

      Hi, this is an annual calendar and the “triple calendar” refers to the indication of day, date, month. There is no such thing as a “quarterly perpetual” as far as I am aware. I think you refer to a “quantieme perpetuel” which is French for perpetual calendar. A perpetual calendar is a once-per-4-years change, but the RS Series 4 is an annual, not perpetual, calendar.

      • MEddie90

        If I recall there are some watches that straddle the line between an annual and perpetual requiring adjustment once every four years but they’re pretty uncommon. The only ones I can think of off the top of my head are the AP Millenary Quadriennium and a limited edition Breitling navitimer which I cant remember the name of.

        • iamcalledryan

          Nice, and as far as I can tell the Series 4 is a simple calendar mechanism, not annual.

        • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

          Navitimer 1461 – As you only need to adjust it once in every 1461 days 🙂

          • iamcalledryan

            Thank you sir! And what do you think of the Series IIII? 😉

          • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

            This is an easy one – As it has no movement inside it’s neither an annual, a leap year or a QP yet. So RS can read our comments here and decide what movement to put inside. 🙂

          • iamcalledryan

            Agreed!

            You got my joke with the numeral, right? I thought it would spin you out…

          • PleaseSpellRoman4AsIV

            Yes, it really made my day 😛

            Luckily I am not that OCD about IIII…. At least yet 😉

          • iamcalledryan

            Do NOT look at the 8 or 4.

          • wallydog2

            XIII? IIIX? That’s it! I’m swearing off the devil rum!

          • iamcalledryan

            Apparently the original customer’s lucky number was 13…

  • So nice. Guess I should sign up now with the long waiting time. Sure hope I have the hefty price when the watch is done. What? He wants a deposit now? Shucks…there goes that dream.

    Never seen a checkboard guilloche moon before. Looks like a silicon wafer with CPUs printed on it.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    The guy cant put a foot wrong as far as I am concerned. This is my dream maker. I would happily wait years for one. I to am not overly keen on the check board guilloche work on the moon and the face of the piece, but that’s just a small niggle,

  • SuperStrapper

    Undeniably amazing. I’d opt out of having this type of 2-tone appearance (although it is very true to the Daniels aesthetic) and I would choose a different pattern for the moon and dial than that ‘parkay’ effect, but I am very much looking forward to seeing these complete and working.

    • Sevenmack

      Agreed. Both should either be all white gold or stainless steel (the latter being better) instead of the old-man two tone going on with the watches. Outside of the two tone, these are gorgeous watches.

      • SuperStrapper

        We will never (unfortunately) see a steel watch by RS. It is far too pedestrian a material for a brand where ever single little component down to the Nth degree is meticulously designed and produced by hand. Now, if he ever makes a repeater or sonnerie movement, it would only make sense to house it in steel for acoustical reasons, but those watches are always in precious metal. I think VC did a chiming watch in steel once, but it was still over a half million if I’m not mistaken.

        • Sevenmack

          I see your point. Personally, I prefer “pedestrian” steel; more-durable and looks better over time than yellow or rose gold. But then, I’m also not in the tax bracket to which Roger Smith sells his wares.

          • SuperStrapper

            I’m with you on that. I I steel as a watch material.

  • iamcalledryan

    Jaw-dropping handmade goodness. The mix of metals, the engine turning (look at that Moon!), the unique take on the triple calendar, the dimensions of the hands, the co-axial escapement, and that movement in general! While the Series 2 remains my favourite of his, I just love seeing what comes off his one-man assembly line.

  • Rupert Muller

    30 images and not one single shot from the back side??? Umm….
    However, a fantastic piece, at least the dial side.

    • JP. Coqueran

      I believe that in the first paragraph it was stated that there was no movement, hence nothing to see.

  • Matt Smith-Johnson

    This is potentially my favourite thing that exists.

    • resonator resonator

      me too. me too…

  • resonator resonator

    looks like DeBethune might be rubbing off a bit! Nothing wrong with that. Also – M Carson’s right about that moon looking like silicon wafers. Love it.

  • Marius

    Beautiful watch, but I have a practical question. Say I liquidate my inheritance and acquire this watch. Who will service it in the future, or even now, if something happened to Mr. Smith. The article states that the components of this watch are very difficult to manufacture and that the tolerances are even tighter than on a Daniels co-axial. So, does Mr. Smith have an apprentice, or a small team that might service his watches?
    I think it was the Watch Snob who argued that one issue with these one-man manufactures is that their watches can potentially become just very expensive paperweights, if they don`t leave someone behind who can actually manufacture the parts and service the watch.

    • iamcalledryan

      With his processes it would be impossible to give exact delivery dates for each order.

      Interesting comment about servicing but these are actually pretty simple movements, it’s the hand-making process that takes time. Should you need it serviced, just about any watchmaker could take it apart, oil, replace springs, and reassemble. Should the coaxial escapement snap, for example, you would need someone to make a new one, and it might not be to the Daniel’s method.

      People don’t buy an RWS because they need it to have a legacy of service, they buy it for the same reason that you would by a Breguet pocket watch with a movement that seized up a century ago.

      it’s a genuine issue for some collectors, but RWS doesn’t need to increase demand. There are other brands that make awesome watches and part of their proposition is long term service and part manufacturing.

      • Marius

        Agreed, but I would be very, very, extremely nervous about bringing a $350,000 watch to a regular watchmaker to get it serviced. Imagine he makes a mistake!
        As far as I know, Mr.Smith is presently also servicing the Daniels watches. However, the future servicing might be an issue since some people expect to actually use their watches.

        • iamcalledryan

          Agreed, you don’t want to take it to that place that changes batteries and cuts keys!

          I hope that a) RWS lives a long life of watchmaking, and b) takes on a very talented apprentice.

          • Boron

            Roger has a 7 employees working along side him, and I’m sure he will add more in time, to replace those that may decide to leave and start out on their own.

    • DanW94

      Half up front and if you don’t pay the other half upon completion, he still gives you the watch, but he puts a 20 dollar quartz module in it. 🙂

  • wallydog2

    Exquisite.

  • Richard Baptist

    Love his watches, exquisite finishing, a bit disappointed that the movements were not in the watch. How is Mr. Smith going to introduce 4 new watches and make each by hand? It does not seem possible without a years wait time (at least). What am I worried about? Not my problem. These are beautiful, amazing watches. Love the triple calendar the most.

  • Nelson

    I really love this design. Without a movement, we still know this watch is remarkable. To get the whole beauty of it, you need to pay £250k. It is really really limited.

  • funNactive

    I love triple date watches. I really like the date indicator on this one.

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