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How to be a successful artist-craftsman
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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It would be necessary for any such maker to have a good amount of talent, basic talent, not the developable talent, but the maker has got to conceive and design and construct and finish the watch and it's got to contain something that he won't find in anybody else's watch, the purchaser won't find in anybody else's watch. It's got to be elegant, it's got to keep excellent time, it's no good producing watches that don't go as well as earlier watches, they've got to go better and there is always room for improvement. So the successful artist craftsman is going to be a very talented person who must be prepared to work long hours at what he does and I think not become too ambitious. As a workshop grows, it grows away from its customers. Things stop being exclusive and once a workshop grows, quantity of production comes in and then the connoisseur goes away and looks for someone else. For myself, I've never wanted to expand my workshop. I was always very happy to be in it on my own, to make what I fancied when I fancied making it, and to be free then to offer it to someone who had expressed an earlier interest.

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: artist, craftsman, watches, horology, horologist, workshop

Duration: 1 minute, 45 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008