Friday, 28 October 2011
George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA passed away on the 21st of October. He has been hailed as the greatest watchmaker ever even in his lifetime. Comparisons are always drawn with the great Abraham Louis Breguet whom he admired and whose work he studied in great detail.
In the course of a long career Daniels made 37 watches from 'scratch'. This means that he made 'everything'- the gears, jewels, springs even the cases! He always placed technical advancement over pointless decoration. This is why his watches have a rare beauty.
He is most famous for the invention of the co-axial escapement. This has been described as the most important advance in mechanical timekeeping in 250 years. This design takes away the need to use oil in the escapement by reducing friction to a minimum.
Daniels selflessly poured out all his knowledge into his book 'Watchmaking'. This book & his work have been an inspiration for some of the big names in independent horology today. My wife gifted me a copy on my birthday this year.