09.06.2023 - Investment

Landmark achievement pocket watch fetches $4.9 million

Pocket Watch Number Two created by Bolton’s Roger Smith has achieved a staggering $4.9 million at Phillips New York Auction.

The event was held from June 10-11 following a global tour around London, Singapore, Los Angeles, Geneva, and Hong Kong.

Pocket Watch Number Two 

An incredible piece of craftsmanship, the historically significant timepiece represents a landmark achievement in the industry as no other single watch has defined the life of a renowned watchmaker.

Aged 18, Smith set up a little workshop in his parent’s garage and began to create his first pocket watch by hand. It took him 18 months – a tourbillon with spring detent escapement and twin barrels.

Smith took his effort to the esteemed George Daniels, widely considered the greatest watchmaker of the 20th century, who told him his effort was “too handmade” and that it needed to look “created”.

Time and effort

Smith spent the next five years working hard on his second pocket watch, endeavouring to make every component out of raw materials, to make it much more complicated.

He taught himself from a watchmaking book, where he learnt to shape, heat and form components correctly.

After four or five different versions, a beautiful pocket watch was born, complete with a four-year perpetual calendar, one-minute tourbillon, moonphase and movement with frosted plates, hand-heated screws and gold chatons.

Housed in an impressive, handmade 18ct gold case measuring 66.5mm in diameter, it was time to present the watch once again. 

Smith took the timepiece back to Daniels who inspected it and said: “You are now a watchmaker,” and took him on as his only apprentice. 

Daniels then asked for Smith to help him take on a series of watches to celebrate the co-axial escapement he’d created and had been taken on by Omega. This became the Millennium series.

Once the series was completed,Smith decided to set out on his own and create his own wristwatch. When Daniels died in 2011 he left Smith his workshop on the Isle of Man as well as the current production service.

Under the hammer

Paul Boutros, Phillips’ head of watches, Americas, said: “The painstaking, years-long creation of Pocket Watch Number Two is a testament to one man’s absolute focus and perseverance in the pursuit of his chosen trade. 

“It is without any doubt, one of the most important and impressive timepieces made by any contemporary independent watchmaker or brand, and consequently one of the most important watches in the world.” 

The perfect watch

Are you in pursuit of your dream watch? Maybe you’ve always wanted to own a Nautilus or have your eye on a GMT Master II. Whatever brand you like, our team will attempt to source the watch you’d love to buy.

We’re also interested in buying your pre-loved pocket watches or normal luxury timepieces – and what’s more, we’ll give you the best price we can if you sign up to our consignment service.

image credit Roger Smith