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Writing The Practical Watch Escapement


My second book: English & American Watches
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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So that was my first foray into writing and I felt quite a chap, you know, and I'd walk about knowing that I was a proper author, you know, got my name on a book. And then I was approached... you see, notoriety descended on me... and I was approached by Abelard-Schuman Publishers in America, would I write a book on watches for them. Well I couldn't write a book on watches, I'd just done a book on watches with Sam. So I wrote a book called English & American Watches, this was a slot of the market that hadn't been opened up before, and I found enough English invented devices and enough American mass produced watches to knit this book together you see. And it was received in... somewhat disdainfully by some members of the antiquarian society, but they couldn't deny the validity of this book. It was about English and American watches and it had covered every aspect of the development of the watch, so it could be justified. But obviously it wasn't academic enough for these people.

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: English & American Watches, Abelard-Schuman Publishers, The Society of Antiquaries of London

Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008