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I beat the quartz watch for timekeeping


I knew I had to beat Breguet
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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So that was the first watch finished and gone, and already I'd set to to make more. And naturally, I didn't want to make two watches alike, and so more ideas were required. It's... it was very important to me at that time that I did produce an entirely different watch in order to establish a reputation and they always said that Breguet never made two watches alike, so what's good enough for Breguet was good enough for me and I would follow his philosophy. In fact, I followed his philosophy very closely in every aspect of watchmaking. Once I'd become a maker, I knew then that I had to beat Breguet and that would be a great compliment to Breguet if I could get at him and publicly show that I had been able to move the watch on from him, because he moved it on from the great English makers and some continental makers, Le Roy, Mudge, Arnold, Earnshaw, all those people moved on and they were contributors.

And by now, I'd got it in my head that I wanted to join these people and I remember that as a schoolboy when I was getting books from the local library on horology, I knew the names of Arnold and Earnshaw and all those, and I felt they were friends. I'd read about them and I understood what they were doing and no one else that I knew understood them, so they were my private friends. But at the same time, in my later years, I was damn well going to beat 'em, and it was essential that I did. And just as I've seen so many students that have come to me for advice on something, and as I'm talking to them I can see they're thinking to themselves, well I think I've got your measure mister and I'll beat you when I get back. So, that's very important to try and beat the master, like you've done to me Roger.

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, Thomas Mudge, John Arnold, Thomas Earnshaw, Roger Smith, Julien Le Roy

Duration: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008