Wednesday, December 1, 2021
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George Daniels: the world’s finest watchmaker

George Daniels’ mission as a horologist was to redesign the mechanical watch to compete and in the long term outperform the quartz electronic watch. He was passionate about every detail of watchmaking and, unusually, built complete watches, including case and dial, by hand.

Daniels watches were never made to order: all started life as a vehicle for testing escapements or some other idea to further the art of the mechanical timekeeper.

His greatest achievement was the invention of a movement known as “coaxial escapement”, which removed the need for lubricant in watch mechanisms and is seen as the greatest advance in mechanical escapement design since Thomas Mudge invented the lever escapement in 1754. Daniels’ escapement has been used in Omega’s  top grade watches since 1999.

George Daniels’ contribution stands as a shining example of innovation in traditional craft by demonstrating the enduring value and quality of mechanical watchmaking.

This is one of a series of stories about the impact of new thinkers, installed on the walls of the Islington head office of Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network.

Kasper de Graaf
Kasper de Graaf
Kasper is a writer and producer with wide experience of innovation in cities, industry and institutions. He has delivered innovation schemes in Vancouver, Istanbul, London, Manchester, Glasgow and numerous other cities. Kasper led the South Bank IQ research study about innovation in South London and co-authored the study ‘Creating a Manchester Design Manifesto’ with Lou Cordwell. He is a director of the design group Images&Co and the arts and culture organisation 2NQ, a steering board Member of the UK Design Action Plan ( and vice-chair of the Finsbury Park Trust. He has produced Design Manchester’s annual public debate about design and society since 2014 and chaired it since 2018. [Photo: Jake Bernard]


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