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The thrill of the chase


The future for watchmaking
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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As to the future of... for watchmakers... makers of handmade watches... I think the prospects are good because watches are much more fashionable now than they were and people do tend to form collections of watches. A different watch for each occasion. And if that trend continues, then the connoisseurs and collectors of watches will begin to want special pieces, special to them only and not available to other collectors, and that's where the manufacturer of handmade watches will come in. Already there are several young people in horology setting to now to produce their own watches. For most of them, they use a standard movement and get the dials and cases made as appropriate, and that of course won't be good enough in the end for the connoisseur... collecting connoisseur. He will want, in the end, his watches made from their fundamentals and the conception, design and construction, he will want that done by an artist craftsman who can give him the kind of exclusive watch that he's looking for. And those are the people that I have sold watches to in the past and I can't think of any reason why they should diminish. Rather more I think they will increase in number, there will be more people who want to buy these exclusive watches.

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.

Duration: 2 minutes, 4 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008