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Watch This Interview With George Daniels On Watchmaking, Design, Technique & More

Watch This Interview With George Daniels On Watchmaking, Design, Technique & More Inside the Manufacture

George Daniels needs no introduction. If you agree with this statement, skip to the second paragraph. If you don’t, then here goes. George Daniels is among the all-time greatest talents in watchmaking and a definitive character in modern horology. His pocket- and wristwatches are admired and coveted around the world and his books are must-haves and must-reads for watch lovers and watchmakers around the world. Although Daniels’ work is well-documented and is in ways even carried on by the Isle of Man workshop of Roger Smith, it is still exceedingly rare that we can see the man at work. It was Roger Smith who shared this video.

After watching it all in one go, feeling like I haven’t blinked once in 29 minutes, I was trying to determine what made this video so special – to my eyes at least, and hopefully yours as well. I concluded that its magic is in the fact that Daniels is seen here at the prime of his watchmaking career; earnest at work and devoted to the last and finest of details. We can witness first hand 29 minutes of the work ethics and expertise that put Daniels into a league of his own.

Watch This Interview With George Daniels On Watchmaking, Design, Technique & More Inside the Manufacture

George Daniels, once he gained the reputation and acknowledgement his work deserved, became a collector of vintage cars, primarily Bentleys.

The video is about a collector and eventual Daniels-watch-owner, Seth Atwood, paying a visit to the workshop of Mr. Daniels and behaving like, I believe, all of us would have, had we had the marvelous opportunity to spend a couple of hours listening to the master explaining his trade – giving us but a brief glimpse into the depths of his remarkable understanding of all things watchmaking.

He tells Atwood about how he designs a movement – and eventually ends up abandoning most all of his initial design decisions – how he came up with the idea of a double-escapement, single-balance movement “with a special ability to overcome some of the disadvantages of earlier precision watches […] by, in effect, two watches, but within one case.”

Watch This Interview With George Daniels On Watchmaking, Design, Technique & More Inside the Manufacture

Just 4 minutes into it a rather hilarious moment is when the master watchmaker tries to make a case (perhaps more so an excuse) for his “pretty crude” sketches, saying there is no point in making minutely detailed sketches for a one-off watch, as “one of the great merits of this system is that one can change one’s mind as one goes along and introduce features as the fancy takes him.” When it’s all in your head, what is that if not the sign of a master at work?

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Okay, enough talk already, I’ll let the video speak for itself. Cherish this candid look at a master watchmaker at work. danielslondon.com

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  • Spangles

    Thanks for sharing the video, David (and Roger). Maybe it’s time to do a review of the new Frodsham Chronometer wristwatch, which has the Daniels movement talked about applied for the first time in a wristwatch.

    • David Bredan

      You bet! As for the Frodsham, that’s one intense piece of watchmaking, I hope to see it hands-on soon! Yesterday I’ve been to Bexei to check out what they’ve been up to — some pretty stuff coming soon (i.e. in about 2 years at their rate!)

      • Gokart Mozart

        Any hands on about any aof there pieces?

        If not how about some pretty pictures

  • Raymond Wilkie

    He is quite simply a God. If a lottery win was to happen. Forget fancy cars ( no licence ) a big yaught ( I get sea sick ) or a big mansion ( l live alone ) . I would rush to the Isle of Man 113 miles away and put my name on the list for an RW Smith creation. If I had any change I would scower the globe for an original George Daniels. Great video.

  • anonymous

    I have no doubt that he is a genius watchmaker and have no desire to take anything away from his works, but I noticed he uses many existing labour-saving machines to help make his watches. He doesn’t make every single part from “scratch”, totally hand made.

    So he was alive today, would he use newer computer-aided technology? I’m sure the best part-making technology today far surpasses what was available in the 70’s and 80’s. He seemed to have no problem with using the best machines from his era to make the parts that he wanted.

  • Very cool. I usually see photos of an older Daniels, so this was a treat to see the younger man before he relocated his shop to the Isle of Man. What year year was the film shot?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Why is this here?

  • Dan Finch

    Wow, very interesting. Makes you want to go out and buy an Omega, doesn’t it?!

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