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George Daniels: A Master Watchmaker & His Artby Michael Clerizo
Synopses & Reviews
Master watchmaker and inventor George Daniels (1926-2011) was regarded as the finest exponent of his craft in the world. Over the course of his career he laboriously constructed twenty-five mechanical watches using antiquated tools and creating almost every component by hand. Each is a work of great originality and exceptional beauty, and his creations are appreciated as milestones in the art of watchmaking. While admired for their lucidity of appearance and unadorned dials, Daniels's watches feature a raft of exquisite complications, such as chronographs, thermometers and power reserve indicators. His more intricate designs also incorporate perpetual calendars and minute repeaters, as well as indictors displaying mean solar and sidereal time, the age and phases of the moon, and the equation of time. Most significant of all Daniels's contributions to the field of mechanical horology is his revolutionary invention: the co-axial escapement. This, the first noteworthy advance in practical watch design since Thomas Mudge's lever escapement of 1754, helped to save a mechanical watch industry in danger of being overwhelmed by mass-produced quartz wristwatches. Detailed photographs of all of Daniels's unique watches (both dial and movement) can be seen here, along with rare and previously unpublished images from Daniels's own archive of photographs and working drawings. Michael Clerizo worked closely with George Daniels in the preparation of this book, the artist recounting episodes from his life and career over their innumerable conversations at his home on the Isle of Man. That biography helps ensure the book is a fitting and authentic tribute to the greatest watchmaker of the modern era.
An intriguing glimpse of a master craftsmen and a career that spanned six decades
"The watch must be original in design and conception and, when completed, beautiful in appearance." --George Daniels,
George Daniels (1926-2011) was regarded as the finest exponent of his craft in the world. His inventions include the revolutionary coaxial escapement mechanism of the late 1960s, one of the most significant horological advances of the modern era. The advance of quartz crystal (electronic) timepieces in the 1970s devastated the world of traditional watchmaking, but Daniels proved that a mechanical watch can perform just as well as an electronic watch. He worked with Patek Philippe, Zenith, and Rolex, and today the coaxial escapement is used in Omega’s most elite ranges.
Daniels produced only twenty-five watches himself. When brought together for a retrospective exhibition in 2006 at Sotheby’s London, they were estimated to have a combined value of over five million pounds.
This book was produced with the close collaboration of Daniels. Specially commissioned photography reveals his precious watches in exquisite detail, not only depicting the faces and finishes but also providing rare glimpses under the dial. The book also features previously unseen archival imagery, including Daniels’s own photographs and sketches.
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