George Daniels – A True Watch Making Legend

/George Daniels – A True Watch Making Legend

George Daniels was a Sunderland-born (UK) watch maker famous for creating the co-axial escapement technology, used by Omega since 1999.

Starting from humble origins, Daniels rose to prominence to become one of the most important watch makers of his or any other generation.

Famed for hand making complete watches, he started out in horology post-WWII, repairing watches for friends, and studying watch making at night class.

He opened his first watch repair shop in London in 1960, becoming an expert in Breguet watches. Daniels moved into making expensive hand-crafted watches during the late 60s, making signature timepieces for personally selected customers, often taking two to three thousand hours to make.

A yellow gold Chronograph pocket watch made by George Daniels; the Space Traveller’s watch ranks as one of the World’s most expensive watches, fetching £3.6M in 2019.

Coaxial Escapement

After much experimentation, the Coaxial Escapement was created by Daniels in 1974, in pursuit of improving the performance of watches. The mechanism was first unveiled in 1976 as the Atwood watch, and patented in 1980.

The design of the Coaxial meant there was no need for lubricant in the watch movement, as it operated under very low friction, meaning the old issue of oil-thickening was bypassed.

The Coaxial development has since been heralded by many as one of the most significant horological developments since the invention of the lever escapement.

The escapement was commercialised in 1999 by Omega SA when it introduced the first mass-produced watch (the De Ville) incorporating the technology, and has since been introduced by Omega into its new family of manufacture movements with Co-Axial calibres 8500 and 8501, entirely designed and produced in-house, equipped with the third generation of the OMEGA Co-Axial escapement.

Sadly, George Daniels passed away in 2011 aged 85, being honoured with an MBE and CBE for services to watch making.