Lot 78
  • 78

George Daniels, London

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
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  • George Daniels, London
  • yellow gold
  • diameter 62mm
• Movement: gilded, Earnshaw type spring detent chronometer escapement mounted in a polished steel one-minute tourbillon carriage under a polished steel bridge, two going-barrels supported by a single bridge and engaging a common offset centre-pinion, 36 hour duration, mono-metallic stainless steel four-arm balance with gold adjusting weights, temperature compensated overcoil balance spring with isochronal adjusting screw, retrograde hour hand mechanism, signed Geo. Daniels, London, e.m.h. 
Dial: silver engine-turned dial with three different decorative designs, eccentric satin finished minute ring, satin finished sector for retrograde hours with Roman numerals, large interlocking satin finished subsidiary seconds ring, matching silver cartouches signed Daniels London, blued steel Daniels' hands 
Case: gold engine-turned case with Daniels' pendant and bow, the back centred with a plain reserve and opening to reveal glazed cuvette with aperture for winding, hallmarked 18ct gold with London date letter for 1970, case maker's mark GD for George Daniels

Short graduated yellow gold double-link chain with gold and blued-steel Daniels' double-ended key.


Made for and sold to Edward Hornby in 1971
Sotheby's London, 22nd June 1999, lot 74


George Daniels Retrospective Exhibition, Sotheby's London, 18th-23rd July 2006, exhibit 4


Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1975, 2009, pp. 452-453, pl. 295
Sotheby's, George Daniels Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue, 2006, pp. 28-29
George Daniels, All in Good Time, Reflections of a Watchmaker, 2013, pl. 31, pp. 95-96 & 221
Michael Clerizo, George Daniels, A Master Watchmaker & His Art, 2015, pp.64-65
George Daniels, The Practical Watch Escapement, 2016, col. pl.


Movement running at time of cataloguing. Dial in good condition, hands with some oxidation to their surfaces. Case in good condition.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping."

Catalogue Note

Accompanied by a hand written letter from George Daniels and a George Daniels fitted presentation case.

This extraordinary and important timepiece is a wonderful example of the early watches made by Dr. Daniels. After making his first watch for Cecil Clutton in 1969, Dr. Daniels went on to produce a further seven of similar elegant design, all with slight variations. The Clutton watch had a pivoted detent whereas the subsequent watches had spring-detent chronometer escapements. It was not however a standard spring-detent escapement, Dr. Daniels had to improve upon it. The problem with a chronometer escapement is that, as any traditional text book will tell you, it is not self-starting. Dr. Daniels altered the geometry of the escapement to ensure that the escape wheel is always unlocked when the balance is in the inert position which means that the Daniels chronometer escapement will always self-start, the watch simply appears to come alive.

The movement signatures of the first 8 watches are followed by the initials of the original owner in the manner of a coded number. This, the fourth, therefore carries Edward Hornby’s initials: E.M.H.

All 8 pocket watches from Daniels’ first series are illustrated and described in the George Daniels Retrospective Exhibition catalogue, published by Sotheby’s in 2006 and in Michael Clerizo’s book, George Daniels, A Master Watchmaker & His Art, published in 2015. Below is a summary of the eight.

Early Series George Daniels Watches 1969 - 1974



One-minute pivoted-detent chronometer tourbillon

Cecil Clutton C.B.E., 1969



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon

Robert Marryat, 1970



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon

Sam Bloomfield, 1970



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon

Edward Hornby, 1971



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon

Cecil Elsom C.B.E., 1970



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon

Sarah Jane Daniels, 1970



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon with reserve of winding indication

Professor Thomas Engel, 1974



One-minute spring-detent chronometer tourbillon

Gerald Saunders, 1973


Total Production of George Daniels

23 pocket watches (plus one unfinished)

4 wristwatches

49 gold millennium wristwatches (incl. protoype)

7 white gold millennium wristwatches

1 chronometer

2 three-wheel clocks

5 grasshopper conversions

In 1999, the present watch was offered for the first time at auction at Sotheby’s London. At the time, George Daniels wrote the following note for the catalogue:

Edward Hornby began collecting watches in the 1930s. His interest centred on the origins of his purchases and their aesthetic qualities. I first met him in 1960 when he began to intensify his interest in horology. We became firm friends and, in 1970, Edward expressed a wish to add a Daniels to his collection. This tourbillon was added to the collection in 1971. It was the fourth example made and can be seen on the bench in the illustration below. When Edward Hornby sold his collection at Sotheby's in December 1978, he kept the tourbillon and a double wheel chronometer which he purchased in 1975. Concerned that the tourbillon could not equal his new quartz watch, he ran the two together. The test lasted 8 months before the battery went flat and he cheerfully awarded the honour to the tourbillon. Its daily variation rate at room temperature averaged 0-3 seconds per day.