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All my illnesses: back problems

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All my illnesses: heart problems
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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I had a bypass, a double bypass. It's quite a common thing now, in fact I believe it's very fashionable, and I didn't know that I needed one. I didn't have any inconvenience. I first noticed that I was a bit wobbly in America once, but then I'd been flying for all those hours and I was rather tired. I remember when I got back to England they thought I must have this bypass so I had the bypass and it takes some weeks to get over it, but I didn't improve and after a couple of months had gone by, I began to deteriorate and I went back and it was discovered that they'd made a mess of it and they hadn't completed the job properly. And so it had to be done again, and I really did feel very low, for the first time in my life. I felt despondent after that second thing and my doctors on the Isle of Man weren't very pleased with me for going to London to have this operation done without consulting them, but of course I couldn't consult them because I was in America and they weren't on the island when I was. They didn't take that into consideration, but they obviously felt a bit peeved about it all. So I didn't get any attention from them, and in the end my friends came round and produced food for me. I had nothing to eat, I couldn't get out of bed, I should have been in the hospital really, but they're very masochistic in the Isle of Man and they don't go in a lot for comfort, like going to bed when you're ill. In fact the more ill you are, the more they seem to want to keep you on your feet. I suppose they think it strengthens your character if it doesn't do your frame any good. So we progressed through these things and then suddenly it was decided that I had a cardiac problem with atrial fibulation and it's taken me seven years to get through that and I feel pretty good now, mainly because I insisted on having a particular operation, which I knew had been told would be beneficial but for some extraordinary reason in the United Kingdom, it's very difficult to get any medical treatment. There's a lot of talk goes on and a lot of money changes hands, especially from the patient, but not much success. However, I have now had this operation and it seems to have made quite a bit of difference, so I'm hoping now to get back to the bench and get in a few more thousand hours of solid grafting to try and do something intelligent.

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: USA, UK, Isle of Man, London

Duration: 2 minutes, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008