PROPERTY OF MR ALAN BANBERY
GEORGE DANIELS MILLENNIUM WRISTWATCH.
by Alan Banbery
In his revealing autobiography, 'All in Good Time', George Daniels recounts, in his inimitable matter-of-fact style, his humble and poverty-stricken childhood.
With typically precise clarity, he then proceeds to lead us along the varied and often difficult phases of his life which, ultimately, culminated in his being awarded virtually every horological honour and accolade which exist. His inherent and underlying genius for almost anything mechanical, was also amply proven by his extraordinary expertise in the restoration of valuable vintage cars; some of which, in later life, he owned and raced competitively.
However, his dream of ‘revolutionizing’ the World of Horology remained his life’s ambition. This took the form of his idea to develop and make a watch escapement which did not require oil, namely: The George Daniels Co-axial escapement. The legacy of his superb, unique and entirely hand-made pocket watches bears lasting witness to his unparalleled horological genius. Nevertheless, George Daniels was not content with what he had already achieved. The next challenge he set himself was to fit his co-axial escapement into a wristwatch.
In this respect, I was fortunate and privileged to have accompanied George Daniels (albeit solely in a limited supporting role) on part of his long, and sometimes frustrating path which led, finally, to the successful commercialization of his co-axial escapement. Indeed, because of his unwavering belief in his invention, as well as his singular perseverance, the co-axial escapement is currently used exclusively by a leading Swiss watch brand in their flagship models.
In consigning my own, specifically ordered white gold ‘ Daniels’ Millennium wristwatch to Sotheby's, it is my genuine hope that the person who acquires it will enjoy its distinctive design and the outstanding reliability of George Daniels ingenious invention : the Co-axial escapement.
Dr. George Daniels is recognised as one of the greatest watchmakers of the 20th Century. In 1981 he received an MBE for his services to horology and in 2010 a CBE - the first watchmaker ever to receive such an honour. The Millennium series with slim Co-Axial escapement was so named and made to commemorate the start of the new millennium.
The objective of the Co-Axial escapement was to improve the long-term performance of the mechanical watch. The escapement is virtually without sliding friction which means that unlike the conventional lever escapement the rate is unaffected by the viscosity of the lubricant.
Initially Dr. Daniels had planned to only make a dozen Millennium watches in order to satisfy friends. However it transpired that the popularity and eager anticipation of such a watch meant that finally, a limited edition was made; comprising: 47 pieces in yellow gold and 7 pieces in white gold.
Five of the Millennium watches made in white gold featured white gold chapter rings, with blued steel hands, however the present watch, on offer, is one of only two pieces watches made on special request, with a yellow gold chapter-ring , date ring and hands.
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