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The Space Traveller's Watch


The Tompion Gold Medal
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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So Sam Clutton said look here, he said you know you've got this rate out of this watch and you ought to get a Tompion Medal. Now, a Tompion Medal is a gold medal given by the Clockmakers' Company, and it hadn't been awarded for about 30 years and so it was proposed that I would get this and I thought it would be a fait accompli. I thought well I've made the watch and it keeps this phenomenal rate of time, which was required by the citation. But no, not a bit of it, everybody wanted to kick it around and discuss it and pontificate on it and it took oh, two or three years to get this through but finally it was awarded. I did get the gold medal, which I was very pleased about because it was a great coup for me because at that time, we're now talking about 1978 when this citation was sent in, that was a bit of a critical time for me because I had more or less run out of customers for my watches and where was I to get more, when I automatically got more once this news was out. It was in all the papers and the television news and all that sort of thing. And so I got more customers, which was the object of the exercise, really. So, there you are, you can't be afraid of a little bit of publicity.

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: Tompion Medal, The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Tompion Gold Medal, Cecil Clutton, Cecil (Sam) Clutton, Thomas Tompion

Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008