In April, A Collected Man started holding its own online auctions with extraordinary timepieces rivaling those on offer at any blue-chip auction house. Next week’s sale is no exception.
The London-based watch retailer is offering a new Roger W. Smith Series 1 that is unlike any other in existence. Just 18 Series 1s have been produced by the British watchmaker to date, and only one has been offered publicly at auction. It sold for $730,000 at Phillips in December 2021. It’s safe to assume, then, that this one-off will fetch six figures.
Launched in 2013, the time-only Series 1 was inspired by a design Roger W. Smith created for a traveling exhibition showcasing the best of British watchmaking. This particular example features a 38 mm case in 18-karat white gold and an exhibition caseback. The minimal silver dial sports the brand’s signature design elements but has been tweaked slightly for A Collected Man. Roger W. Smith’s trademark Roman numeral indices, for instance, have been swapped for baton hour markers to create a more pared-back look.
“A Collected Man was looking to do something different,” said Smith. “The idea was a very simplistic, stripped-back dial. I was a bit doubtful initially. However, as soon as the designs came through, I was very impressed, and I thought it was a good fit with my work.”
Inside, the movement features Roger W. Smith’s single-wheel evolution of the George Daniels co-axial escapement. The cartouches are engraved with the watchmaker’s mark and the serial number, while the main plate is decorated with the triskelion motif of the Isle of Man. Another cartouche is inscribed with “2021” as a nod to the year the watch was created. The new owner can choose to replace this with a cartouche bearing their name or initials.
The auction of the custom Roger W. Smith Series 1 will run from November 11 to 25. After the sale, 20 percent of the profits will be donated to the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers. The funds will go toward the nonprofit’s Careers Hub, which connects horology students with career opportunities.