Roger Smith: The Story of a Luxury Watch Maker

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Situated in the Irish sea, the Isle of Man is a small and unassuming Crown Dependency, nestled between Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, it’s this tiny bastion of Norse-Gaelic culture that is home to one of the finest horologists in the world – Roger Smith. He works away amid the tranquility of the countryside, in a cottage which has been converted into a miniature mechanical wonderland, designing some of the worlds most exquisite, and most expensive, watches. It’s an unusual setting for an unusual job, and I got the chance to chat with Roger about his work.

Roger made his first steps into the world of watchmaking when he took up a course at the British School of Horology in Manchester, he explains “It was a course which taught people how to repair clocks and watches. I heard about it through my father, who was interested in taking this course as a part-time hobby. It was as simple as that really, I heard about the course, found it interesting, and as someone who’s always been very practical, I took to it like a duck to water.”

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In 1989, soon after completing his course in Manchester, Roger worked under the tutelage of the legendary George Daniels, a horologist who was regarded as one the world’s greatest watchmakers, up until his death in 2011. One of few men to build watches completely by hand, Daniels’ most famous invention was the coaxial escapement, which allowed watches to be built without lubricant. It was Roger’s time spent with this pioneer that sealed his destiny for a career in horology.

Now confident enough to set up shop on his own, Roger launched his company R. W. Smith Watches officially in 2001. With the Isle of Man now his home, he converted his cottage into a fully functioning workshop, and gathered together a small team. To this day Roger and his team produce just 10 watches per year, due primarily to the intricate methodology he employs in creating each design. “It starts with me designing the watch and that’s something which is very different with my company” he says “because I act as both designer and maker, which today in the industry is rarely heard of, and this was an approach which was started by George Daniels in the late 1960’s. He made his first watch by hand, and it’s a way of doing things that I found very exciting. So, I will start off with designing the dial and the hands, and then the case, which are the most important features of a watch. Once I’m happy with the balance and the aesthetics of that, then I will start to design the mechanism which provides the information for the dial. This can be a very long and drawn out process. To give an example, the new watch has to date taken four years to refine and improve, it’s a massive undertaking.”

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An R. W. Smith watch is defined by its aesthetics, mechanical gems of absolute beauty, and Roger sources his inspirations from two very specific places “my inspirations come from watches I see everyday” he explains “but also, I take a look back at the great history we have in Britain. Without doubt we’ve got one the most enviable horological histories in the world, and there’s tons of inspiration to be found there. If you plan to build on anything you have to look back to see what has gone before you, so that’s a particularly special area of inspiration for me. Basically, horology is a very complex field and it involves everything from mechanics to aesthetics.”

After 15 years, R. W. Smith is coming out with a special range of watches, which will be launched in November, as Roger told me “that’s quite a big thing for such a tiny manufacturer.” Sadly he could not divulge anymore than that, so we will have to wait and see what creations he has come up with.

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The distinct charms of a traditional mechanical watch show no signs of dwindling, and Roger Smith is a man leading the charge for quality and true craftsmanship in the field.

By Ben Mirza

BENMIRZATITLEBen is the Editor of the Think Shaadi blog. Aside from that he is a freelance blogger, photographer, web designer and copy-writer. He has written for numerous print and digital magazines across the world, and worked with a variety of clients in the arts and lifestyle sector. You can find out more about Ben by visiting his website benmirza.com.

 

 

 

Photos of Roger courtesy of R. W. Watches, all other photos are sourced from Google and belong to their owners respectively.

ThinkShaadi Highlights: Vogue Wedding Show 2015

The Vogue Wedding Show 2015 took place at the Taj Palace Hotel on August 7th. A three day, invitation-only event, it saw the Crème de la Crème of the luxury industry, from designers to wedding planners, converge.

We at Think Shaadi were on the ground from the first day, getting a first hand account of all the amazing designs, masterclasses and conversations on offer.

Here are our highlights captured beautifully by ThinkShaadi Partner Stories by Joseph Radhik xx

 

 

Jenny Packham’s 2016 Bridal Collection

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Inspired by the work of England’s greatest playwright William Shakespeare, Jenny Packham’s latest collection draws inspiration from one of the bards most familiar works ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. Ethereal and feminine are the two words which sum up this collection, with its flurry of delicate florals, complimented by flowing fabrics of luxurious silks and satin’s.

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Evoking that fairytale world of Shakespeare’s magical play, there is a genuine elegance to this collection, fusing elements of the English countryside, the literary and indeed Elizabethan world, Jenny Packham has stuck gold once more.

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Silhouettes and beautiful contours remain a strong feature in this collection, with many of the designs floating in a princess like manner, however there are close cut mermaid shapes and tiny shifts, which adds the element of sartorial variety to the collection.

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Igniting thoughts of dreamy woodlands, where the sun pierces through the lush green branches of the trees, Jenny Packham truly let her imagination run wild. Embellishments ranged from ebullient rosy bundles of feathers at the waist, with another that includes an understated sheath, and cape featuring pastel floral embellishments at the neckline.

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Keeping with embellishments, others include oversized camellia flowers which accent the simpler silhouettes, adding an amazingly whimsical feel. The palette befits the theme perfectly, with a gorgeous mix of white, creams, gold and more pastel colours.

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This marvelous collection, with its simply gorgeous style is one of the finest of the new seasons.

Top 10 Honeymoon Destinations

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A gorgeous honeymoon to top off that amazing wedding is the perfect way to start off your happily ever after. Below are our picks of the top 10 honeymoon destinations for you and your special someone.

1. Koh Samui, Thailand

A tropical island with gorgeous palm tree lined beaches, Koh Samui is a dream like destination with stunning resorts, luxury private villas, and gorgeous bungalows. This is the perfect place to relax on the beach after the hectic wedding festivities; or if you prefer a bit of adventure go snorkelling and see the vibrant marine life, go zip-lining in the rainforest, or hiking in the tropical jungle.

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Lower swimming pool at Villa 2 of Sangsuri private resort, North Chaweng, Koh Samui, Thailand2. Cape Town, South Africa

One of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, Cape Town is known for its harbour and as the best place in the world to visit by The New York Times in 2014. The dry, warm summers at Cape Town last from December to March and is the perfect destination for the active couple to take advantage of the vast open space by going hiking or mountain-biking, paragliding off of Lion’s Head, and abseiling off of Table Top Mountain.

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cape-town3. Maldives

A tropical paradise, the Maldives is perfect for an intimate and romantic honeymoon. The secluded islands feature white sand beaches and a crystal clear warm sea with near perfect weather all year round. Be sure to see the well known sea of stars with your sweetie to top off your perfect honeymoon.

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maldives4. Positano, Italy

A beautiful village on the Amalfi Coast, Positano features cascading houses over the mountain in sun-bleached pink, peach and terracotta colours. With a deep history of fashion, this quaint village is perfect for a quiet and romantic honeymoon.

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poistano-45. Kerala, India

Known for its famous back waters, Kerala features stunning boat houses and spice and tea covered mountains. This picturesque destination known as ‘God’s Own Country’ is perfect for relaxation and sight-seeing. Plus you get to indulge in flavour rich food and stunning views you’ll remember and dream of forever.

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kerala56. Bora Bora, French Polynesia

Surrounded by a stunning turquoise lagoon, Bora Bora is a luxury honeymoon destination synonymous for its over water bungalows. This secluded paradise is the perfect place to unwind in a lush and romantic atmosphere and that much need R&R after the hectic wedding.

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borabora37. Santorini, Greece

Fall in love as soon as you set your eyes on the white washed houses and blue domed churches overlooking the gorgeous sea. Visit the never ending vineyards in the day, and watch the sunset reflect off the houses creating a spectacular red and orange glow in the evenings. Relax on the multicoloured sandy beaches or go boating for a completely romantic honeymoon.

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santorini28. Lake Louise, Canada

Known for its turquoise tinted lake surrounded by gorgeous mountains, Lake Louise is the perfect destination for couples who prefer a cooler climate. With an average high of 20C in the summers, and -5C in the winters, this is the ideal place to go skiing or hiking during the day, and relaxing with your sweetheart in front of the fireplace during the evening.

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lakelouise29. Bali, Indonesia

With gorgeous mountains and beautiful beaches, the scenery in Bali is like something out of a dream. The natural beauty of this exotic island mesmerises the visitor through its lush nature, colourful ceremonies, and warm and welcoming people. Bali is the perfect place to relax while enjoying a rich and generous culture in beautiful surroundings.

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bali410. Aruba

With gorgeous weather and beaches, a great live music scene, and a vibrant night life, Aruba is perfect for a little bit of everything. This island country is all about sun and fun offering both land and water activities to keep you busy during the day, and casinos, night clubs and restaurants during the evenings.

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aruba-sunsetImage credit: Click Stay, Four Seasons, Lonely Planet, The Independent, The Style Junkies, Italian Luxury, Wonderful Sights of India, Audley Travel, Boom Beats

Written by Neha Oberoi

Originally fNeha Oberoirom Canada, Neha is a London based fashion and travel blogger. Business woman by day and blogger by night, Neha loves to analyze and has a flair for spotting upcoming fashion trends. You can see what inspires Neha and her latest outfits on her Blog; for daily fashion updates you can follow her on Instagram; or say hi on Facebook and Twitter.

Best Bollywood Songs for Weddings

Indian weddings and Bollywood songs go hand-in-hand. A sangeet function is no fun if the entire family is not swinging to the tunes of popular Bollywood numbers. Personally I think every moment of the wedding celebration needs a song to make it even more special. Right from your sisters dancing on mehndi to your bridal entry, every moment can be symbolised with a song. In today’s post I have compiled a list of some evergreen and popular Bollywood numbers to add melody to your upcoming wedding planning. Let’s start with the mehndi. This is possibly the very first event in the run up to the big day. It is usually a low key event and mainly comprises of close family & friends.

Some evergreen mehndi songs are must for this event. Have a look at the list below

Mehndi Hai Rachne Wali

Banno Rani – 1947: Earth

Mehndi Ni Mehndi

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Your mehndi function is no fun without your sisters and girlfriends dancing on foot stamping numbers. So here is a list for popular dance song to play on your mehndi function.

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Ainvayi Ainvayi

Sangeet – Your sangeet playlist should have songs for the entire family. Everyone from mom and dad to little cousins get centre stage, not forgetting one group dance number for the entire family. Here are some of my selected dance numbers.

Mom and Dad – Gal Mithi Mithi Bol. This cute song from Aisha is apt for your parents to get them into their groove and have fun. Easy to choreograph as well, and will surely get the party started.

Sisters – Chittiya Kalliya Ve – This is a chart busting number for this year and I am sure the girls would have fun performing on this song.

Mr and Mrs – You definitely want to choose a non-cheesy number for this one. Either keep a soft romantic number like Naina from Khoobsurat or go full out on Tu Meri from Bang Bang.With all eyes on you, a good song selection will definitely help to bring down the nerves.

Bridal Entry- Has to be Din Shagna Da (Wedding Filmaker Version) or

Jodha Akbar – Jashne Bahara

Group – For the entire family the following new tracks will do full justice.

Galla Goriyan

Banno tera Swagger

Saddi Galli

Baari Barsi Band Baaja Baaraat

Background Songs – Here is a list of some popular and melodious songs that can be part of your background music score during the wedding celebrations. Keep mostly mellow songs and throw in some occasional dance numbers.

Shubhaarambh – Kai Po Che

Banarasiya – Raanjhanaa

Gur Naal Ishq Mitha – Monsoon Wedding

A ja goriyee – West is West

Kaala Doriaa – West is West

Kabira – Encore

Aao Nee Kudiyon – 71/2 Phere

Also have a look at songs from Monsoon Wedding. It is still a go to album for your wedding song list. You have to play ‘Aaj Mera Jee Kardaa’ to get everyone on the dance floor.

Hope you got some ideas from the above song list. Now after this post I feel like dancing right now.

Cutture London: Inspiring Designs

When their first commission came in 2009, Cutture London was officially born and it’s from there on that the husband and wife team behind it all – Dominic and Helen Sharland – have been experimenting with laser printing, producing some of the most exceptional wedding and event invitations in the business. The whole concept of laser printing, particularly to such an elaborate degree, is uncharted territory for many, designers and stationers alike, so Cutture has well and truly pushed the boundaries.

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For Think Shaadi Boutique, our event staged at The May Fair Hotel, which showcased new designs by Suneet Varma, Tarun Tahiliani and Judith Leiber, Cutture gave us a beauty of a design, our invitations were fashioned in black, white and gold, and took their inspiration from the designs of Suneet Varma, Tarun Tahiliani and Judith Leiber. The result saw a mini tableau of dancing and merriment, rendered in the manner of an silhouette play.

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The essential part of Cutture’s ethos is creative freedom, Dominic and Helen have made it a given that customers really have the final say, and in what direction to take each design. A truly refreshing way to work. The conclusions are always a success. Having previously worked in graphic design, the couple understand the need to take risks and explore new territories.

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Ever since they began with laser cutting, way back in 2006, which was originally for architectural modeling, they launched themselves into a world of intricate experimentation, one which has still not come to an end. This adventurer spirit isn’t just restricted to design itself, differing materials also explored “Cutture is always open to using different materiality and has a sister company, Cleartouch Perspex designs which specialises in acrylic stationery. Printing processes range predominantly from silk screen printing to digital, letterpress, engraving, foiling which all work well with laser cut technology.”

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Gaining a wealth of fans from the world of the great and the good, Cutture and it team of designers, who each and every one, possess that same spirit of creating beauty from simplicity, are trailblazing into a new world, one in which many are still to catch up with.

The Creators: Admirable Crichton, Tamarind Collection

It’s often the case that those who create an event or make that event just so, get overlooked. Not in this case, for Think Shaadi Boutique presents Suneet Varma, Tarun Tahiliani and Judith Leiber, it was party planners Admirable Crichton and Tamarind Collection, who both teamed up in a joint venture, that made our event glisten.

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The team at Admirable Crichton conceptualised the event magnificently. Spawning from a simple idea, to produce classically tailored parties that capture moments of magic, Admirable Crichton have made a name for themselves as the creators of luxuriously executed and finely honed events. They have caught the eye of HRH Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales, and now hold a Royal Warrant.

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From weddings to birthday parties to fashion events, Admirable Crichton work with a firm set of values, which are making sure each event is tailored to the customers requirements. Melding together age old principles with contemporary flare, in their own words – “With impeccable attention to detail, we oversee every aspect from the napkins and table setting to planning your honeymoon itinerary, design, decoration and entertainment, we have an enviable address book of the best suppliers and subcontractors in the world.”

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The crux of Admirable Crichton’s success is their devotion to heritage, cherry picking the best of what has gone before and reworking it for the modern era. Covering everything from venues to catering, they are truly a Renaissance company.

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Tamarind Collection, the caterers extraordinaire, remain a steadfast favourite of anyone wishing to experience mouthwatering cuisine, that is magnificently presented. A versatile brand, Tamarind Collection operate four restaurants in London and L.A, with a rich history, beginning in 1995, and a versatile range of menus, the group have notched up some amazing achievements in 20 years.

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Taking traditional Indian cuisine and injecting a fresh and bountiful zeal into it, Tamarind Collection offer a variety of classic staples such as Zaffrani Macchi, consisting of king fish chunks marinated with ginger, fresh mint, lime-leaf, green chilli and saffron, and Hyderabadi Shanks, slow-cooked lamb shanks with browned onions, ginger, garlic, yoghurt and ground spices. Their meals are a true feast.

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Tamarind Collection have been courted by some of the UK’s biggest and most loved organisations, including Lords Cricket Ground, English Heritage and the Science Museum. Their London restaurant Tamarind of London was awarded ‘Best Indian Cuisine’ at the 2012 Golden Foodie Awards. They have said that “over the years the Tamarind Collection’s fundamental philosophy has remained unchanged; to prepare exquisite food and that is coupled with service that is approachable and unobtrusive in stylish environments.”

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Admirable Crichton and Tamarind Collection are individual forces of creative brilliance, but their collaboration for Think Shaadi boutique brought these forces together beautifully. With the creation of a magical environment that showcased the designs in a manner befitting them.

Menu for our event included Spiced mixed paneer with mango in filo cup, Ground lamb cakes with cinnamon, garlic and chilli and Spiced potato vegetable croquettes coated with golden vermicelli.