Lot 9
  • 9

George Daniels

400,000 - 600,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • 18k yellow gold
  • diameter 63mm
• gilt brass movement with Lepine calibre construction, 32-hour duration, two going barrels with contra-rotating trains driving the two escape wheels of the Daniels independent double-wheel, incorporating a 'Y' shaped central locking detent with three pallets, mono-metallic stainless steel four-arm balance with gold adjusting screws and Daniels auxiliary compensation, free-sprung overcoil balance spring, the two trains calculated for mean-solar and sidereal time including seconds, annual calendar ring with kidney-cam and equation of time indication, accurate lunar dial driven from the sidereal train and indication of the age and phase of the moon, centre-seconds chronograph mechanism engaging either train, selected by a lever on the movement • silver engine-turned dial with 24-hour chapter ring to the left for sidereal time, 12-hour chapter ring to the right for mean-solar time, each with overlapping subsidiary seconds dials below, roman and arabic numerals, outer seconds track for chronograph, aperture in the mean-solar chapter ring for the annual calendar, apertures in the sidereal dial for the age and phase of the moon, fan-form sector above for equation of time, signed Daniels in a cartouche below the seconds rings, gold Daniels hands to the mean-solar dials and blued-steel Daniels hands to the sidereal dials and chronograph • case with engine-turned bezels, glazed back with two round buttons in the band for chronograph, Daniels pendant and bow • dial and movement signed • attached yellow gold double-link chain and gold and blued steel double ended key


George Daniels Retrospective Exhibition, Exhibit No.16, Sotheby's London, 18-23 July, 2006


George Daniels, All in Good Time, 2006, p. 84-85, plate 16
George Daniels, A Practical Watch Escapement, 1994, p.78

Catalogue Note

Accompanied by a George Daniels presentation case.

In 1974 Dr. Daniels invented the independent double-wheel escapement; the movement was to captivate collectors with its visual appeal of symmetrical trains.
Dr. Daniels was on a trip to Zurich where he met an important collector for dinner.  The collector nudged him and said ‘what do you have in your pocket’, so he took out his watch, a gold Daniels pocket watch with independent double-wheel escapement. The collector said he had to have the watch and asked him to sell it to him. Dr. Daniels said it was not for sale but the collector persisted. Dr. Daniels thought this was an enormous compliment as he did not even ask the price, and so sold him the watch. Dr. Daniels immediately regretted selling this watch and therefore decided to make another which would be an improvement on the first both in terms of complication and accuracy. Having not fully exploited the first watch, the second watch would have separate calculations for each train, it was therefore possible to indicate both mean-solar and sidereal time.
In the 18thcentury to check the accuracy of your watch you had to have a precision clock which was set by a star. This watch by means of having solar and sidereal time could make the calculation for you, the difference being 3.555 minutes per day.

To try and improve the calculation of the train which allowed for an error of 0.8 seconds per year Dr. Daniels contacted a friend at Cambridge University to ask if they knew of a mathematician interested in watches. He got a response almost immediately and extraordinarily enough the mathematicians name was Professor Daniels.  The professor was able to calculate a better ratio of 0.28 seconds per day, which Dr. Daniels was very happy with.

Dr. Daniels used to say to people, ‘when you are on your package tour to Mars you need a watch like this, and when using the telephone for long distance calls you could switch the chronograph into sidereal time to cut your bills by 3.555 minutes per day’.

Originally the watch had been referred to as the Daniels squared (2) because of the assistance he received from Professor Henry Daniels but Dr. Daniels did not think this was good enough so named it the ‘Space Travellers’ watch in honour of the American landing on the moon which was the greatest space exploratory journey of the century.

Sotheby's sold the first Space Travellers' watch on 17th November 1988 in Geneva for 220,000 CHF.