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I kept some of my best watches to amuse me


Handmade repeater mechanisms
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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And then, of course, if one goes back through horology all sorts of things have been invented, like repeating work so a watch sounds the hours and the half hours, or it can have additional mechanisms to sound the quarter hours or the minutes, all these can be sounded, and they're quite an attraction to people. They were very necessary in their day because there were no easy means of striking a light in the years before the 19th century, and the only way to find the time at night was to have a repeater, push the button at the top and it would tell you what the hours and quarters and the minutes were if you could afford a minute repeater. They were all very expensive, all handmade.

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: repeater mechanism

Duration: 52 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008