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Cancer didn't stop me from talking


Unwilling to accept I had migraine
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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It is a fact that I worked very, very hard in horology and incredible hours, which I was able to do because I was young and pretty fit. But even so, you know, there is some evidence that overwork can cause long-term problems, health problems, and I seem to have had quite a few of those. I haven't allowed them to influence me very much. The first thing that manifest itself was migraine as a consequence of the terrific number of hours I was working, 16 hours a day, and I always tell pupils who ask me how to go about their work, they want to know what to do, and I always say to them... whether or not they can do it I don't know... but I always say to them, 'Well, my boy, practice the art for 16 hours a day and think about it for 25 hours a day, then you'll find you can progress'. And I think that's true in any profession. You know, you've really got to put in some mind stretching hours to accomplish what you want.

And so I had this migraine and I didn't know what it was and it was a bit worrying because there were all sorts of lightening effects and different manifestations of zigzag flashing and rolling crowds, so it was a bit concerning and a friend of mine made an appointment for me to see a specialist. I went to see him and we talked about everything, about my problem, but it seemed that he'd been assessing me as we spoke because he suddenly advised me that the interview was over and I owed him £5. So I paid him the £5 and I asked him what the trouble was and he said, 'Well', he said 'you've had migraines since the last three or four years'. And I went home in my car and I was thinking to myself, migraine, that's a woman's complaint, I don't want migraine, and do you know I never had it again. I sort of drove it away.

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: migraine

Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008