Widely recognised as the greatest British watchmaker working today, Roger W Smith has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.
Mr Smith, who manufactures just 10 watches each year with his team on the Isle of Man, was given the gong for outstanding services to British watchmaking
He learned his trade at the bench of George Daniels CBE, one of the world’s most respected watchmakers during his lifetime, and designed and made his first watch by hand at 22 when still a student, making him the youngest person ever to do so.
According to the Isle of Man Today, Mr Smith said: “It was a shock to receive the call from the Lieutenant Governor about six weeks ago.
“He asked me if I would accept it. It was wonderful but very hard to keep secret.”
Mr Smith’s team produces around 10 exclusive, handmade watches each year, building cases, faces and movements all from scratch, with costs for the finished products starting at about £100,000.
On his own website, Mr Smith says: “I am hugely honoured to have been recognised with an OBE for services to watchmaking. Not only is this a proud moment for me and my family, but I hope that this recognition will help our continued efforts to put Britain back on the global watchmaking map.”
The Roger W Smith company says that the OBE comes at a timely juncture for Mr Smith. “He has recently made a significant step forward in mechanical watch movement design with his Mark 2 single wheel co-axial escapement which is being fitted to his Series range of watches, which also represents the first to have been created in Britain for decades,” a statement says.