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Who would produce the co-axial escapement for me?


The difference between lever and co-axial escapement
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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Going back to the differences between the conventional watch escapements, which usually is the lever escapement invented by the Englishman Thomas Mudge in 1754 and used ever since in watches. The difference between that and the co-axial escapement lies in the method of imparting the energy replenishment to the oscillator. The oscillator must have a small amount of energy fed into it at every oscillation in order to keep the... maintain the oscillation and produce the time. The... one could explain it by saying that the impulse to the oscillator, the energy given to the oscillator in the lever escapement is done through an enormous long sliding friction action. Can you see my hands if I do that?

[Q] Yes.

So we might say that, for example, in the lever watch the sliding action is given to the components by the wheel here, which as it goes you see it pushes up this half there, pushes it up and that energizes the oscillator. Whereas with the co-axial escapement, the action is more like pushing open a door when the two components, instead of sliding, just gently push each other open without almost no friction... with almost no friction. Those two components will feed one into the other.

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: oscillator, lever escapement, Co-axial escapement, Thomas Mudge

Duration: 1 minute, 47 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008