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The principle of the lever


The majority of modern watches lack elegance
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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There is a huge interest in wristwatches at the moment, people collect them. I'm not sure why they collect them, because many of them can be obtained new in better condition, and if you have two identical wristwatches and one is 10 years older than the other and looks it, I can't see any point in buying that in preference to the one that's unmarked. And we find also looking at the outsides of the watches that they lack elegance there as well and the cases are obviously conjured up by stylists whose one obsession is to make the watch different to anyone else's and it's easy to do that and the results are usually unacceptable, and I think flicking through the watch magazines today, the majority of watches are crude, over styled, clumsy, brash and not the least bit appealing to me. I continue to stick to the old style. I was always very much obliged to Breguet for those beautiful dials he made and I prefer that simple style. I've never copied a Breguet, and, as a matter of fact, an examination of Breguet's engine turning and my engine turning, or even Roger your engine turning, is better than Breguet. His engine turners were good, but they weren't seeking that perfection that we were. There was a certain element of commercialism there in their work. We don't have to include that in our work.

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: Roger Smith, Abraham-Louis Breguet

Duration: 1 minute, 56 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008