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Tick and tock - the double wheel escapement


The Daniels cipher
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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So on the whole, I reckoned I'd beaten the quartz watch and I didn't want to exploit that. I didn't want to offend the Swiss and I've always been very, very careful not to be victorious in anything. It doesn't do and it doesn't help and nobody likes it, so I've always played it very coolly. As a matter of fact, in my autobiography there is an imprint of a bird with an olive branch in its beak and it says underneath Daniels, and that's my actual cipher. You know, there is a book with all these ciphers in, you can look up your name in there. If you've been lucky enough to be born with a name that was known at the time this tome was written, and I've always behaved like that. You know, I always offer an olive branch and I never fight, never argue, I never want to be best. It's always best just to stay back a little and let people think... let others think what they want to. And so I was careful not to brag about this quartz performance I had produced. I knew it wouldn't do any good.

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: quartz watch, Daniels cipher

Duration: 1 minute, 26 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008