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Persuading Omega to take an interest in the co-axial escapement


Who would produce the co-axial escapement for me?
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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The difficulty then was, having discovered how to apply this to the escapement wheels for the impulse to the oscillator, the difficulty was to make the components and, because they're very small. The first escapement was made for a pocket watch so it wasn't too bad and it worked very well, which was very satisfying, kept a very close rate of time and was in use for two and more years before it went to the observatory for testing where it was found to produce this really close rate of 0.2 seconds variation throughout the day. But the real problem was to find someone who would agree to produce it by modern methods and I began looking in about 1976... 1977 for someone who would have enough wit to realise that this escapement could be the solution to the 500 year old problem of eliminating the lubricant from the escapement and having a tick-tock mechanism that would ensure that the components didn't stop.

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: Co-axial escapement, oscillator, pocket watch, tick-tock mechanism

Duration: 1 minute, 32 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008