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Working for nearly two years on my first watch


Deciding to make my first watch
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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Well, it was while working on Breguet that I got more and more intrigued with the thought of... wondering if it would be possible to emulate some of his activities in a small way, and my father-in-law had a collection of Breguets and he asked me one day how much would it cost to make a watch like that and I, without thinking, said well I don't know because he couldn't get it made anyway, today. So I went home and I wondered why not, so I decided I'd do it myself, and started to design and make my own watches. I'm bound to say my interest in antique watches declined from that moment because I had had this huge apprenticeship with the antique watches, and I had learnt from them how thick was a wheel and what force was a mainspring and all the various details, what size screws, all this one learnt from other people's watches. So I reckoned I knew enough about it and I set to make my first watch.

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19 August 1926 - 21 October 2011) was an English watchmaker most famous for creating the co-axial escapement. Daniels was one of the few modern watchmakers who could create a complete watch by hand, including the case and dial. He was a former Master of the Clockmakers' Company of London and had been awarded their Gold Medal, a rare honour, as well as the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute, the Gold Medal of the City of London and the Kullberg Medal of the Stockholm Watchmakers’ Guild.

Listeners: Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in 1970 in Bolton, Lancashire. He began training as a watchmaker at the age of 16 at the Manchester School of Horology and in 1989 won the British Horological Institute Bronze Medal. His first hand made watch, made between 1991 and 1998, was inspired by George Daniels' book "Watchmaking" and was created while Smith was working as a self-employed watch repairer and maker. His second was made after he had shown Dr Daniels the first, and in 1998 Daniels invited him to work with him on the creation of the 'Millennium Watches', a series of hand made wrist watches using the Daniels co-axial escapement produced by Omega. Roger Smith now lives and works on the Isle of Man, and is considered the finest watchmaker of his generation.

Tags: Breguet, Abraham-Louis Breguet

Duration: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008