Friday, 25 October 2013

#10 George Daniels' "Watchmaking"

George Daniels, a British Horologist and one of the greatest masters of watchmaking art, commonly known for being an avid "fan" of the French maker, Breguet and developing the famous Co-axial escapement that is featured in most of the modern Omega  watches has published the Horologist's bible. His student and the one and only apprentice Roger Smith not only attended George Daniels' lessons, but also known to have extensively utilised this book.

George Daniels had several purposes in writing this book. According to Daniels himself, he wrote it “to inspire and encourage the art of watchmaking, especially among a new generation of enthusiasts” and that “great care has been taken to ensure the text is easy to follow and to avoid complicated technical descriptions.” Helping and encouraging people (even those with little to no academic knowledge regarding watchmaking) in understanding the specified issues is the primary objective. Since George Daniels built watches all with his hands without the aid of CNC machines (he even manufactured the entire escapement, something that several of the greatest brands outsource for the special difficulties involved in their manufacturing processes), quite literally ALL operational aspects of watchmaking are covered. Everything that one always wanted but did not know where to ask is thoroughly covered in fantastic details with coloured images and easy-to-understand diagrams.
These are the main things that he discusses: Workshop and equipment; Hand tools; Finishing steel and brass; Turning, Wheels and Pinions; Making small components; Jewelling; Escapements; Mainsprings and accessories; Movement design; The balance and spring; Casemaking; Engine-turned cases and dials. He takes a close look at all technicalities, often unfolding mathematical calculations, machining techniques and requirements of parts of a movement that one may have never even heard of - but don't worry, everything is clearly explained and demonstrated.

If you are true aficionado or someone who wants to learn about watchmaking, this should be the bible for you. This tremendous piece of work essentially covers all aspects of watchmaking in detail in a reader-friendly manner. George Daniels' passion for Horology is clearly reflected in this book and upon reading, one will immediately concur with the fact that he truly deserves a place in history as one of the greatest and most influential artisans.

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