George Daniels - The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI Geneva Saturday, November 5, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Manufacturer: George Daniels
    Year: 2000
    Case No: Case engraved 00 (year of production 2000) and name of owner
    Model Name: Millennium
    Material: 18k yellow gold
    Calibre: Automatic, Co-axial escapement
    Bracelet/Strap: Leather
    Clasp/Buckle: 18k yellow gold George Daniels pin buckle
    Dimensions: 37mm Diameter
    Signed: Case, dial, movement and clasp signed
    Accessories: Accompanied by fitted box, photos, instruction manual and advertising leaflet as well as 4 hand written letters from George Daniels to the purchaser.

  • Catalogue Essay

    Often called the Renaissance Watchmaker, George Daniels was the founding father of independent watchmaking in the second half of the 20th century. His contribution to the art of watchmaking can be seen in his gloriously hand-crafted creations, that incorporate the various inventions he made.

    With the dawning of a new Millennium imminent Daniels wanted to create a watch to celebrate the spirit of the age. It was to be one of the first independently made series of wristwatches to be constructed.

    We are delighted to be offering collectors one of these much sought after watches from the George Daniels Millennium series. A piece that embodies the essence of its creator.

    George Daniels’ path to watchmaking greatness would begin with an encounter with a pocket watch at the tender age of five – and they held his focus for the remainder of his life. His horological career began as a trade watch repairer, a skill that was self‐taught.

    Shortly after World War II Daniels set up his own workshop repairing watches and, in his spare time, restoring cars. A major turning point in his life came in 1960 when he met Cecil ‘Sam’ Clutton. Sam was, like George, a connoisseur of vintage cars, but he was also a man with an impressive antique watch collection, and with many connections to other horological collectors and institutions. These connections provided superb watches, by some of the greatest past makers, for Daniels to work on.

    A Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Daniels explored watchmaking’s traditional past, seeking to improve upon it, and advancing precision timekeeping. Amongst others, he studied the 18th/19th century master Abraham‐Louis Breguet, who Daniels held in great esteem, citing him as his most important influence. He became a renowned expert on Breguet’s work and wrote the definitive book on the subject, The Art of Breguet.

    After producing a number of sensational pocket watches with chronometer and doublewheel escapements, Daniels had the idea for the Co-axial escapement in 1975, a game changing invention which resulted from his detailed historical study of the subject. It was designed to incorporate the key features required for a practical, high precision escapement and functions with a system of three pallets separating the locking function from the impulse, avoiding the sliding friction of the lever escapement. This makes lubrication of the pallets theoretically unnecessary and thereby eliminates one of the shortcomings of the traditional lever escapement.

    The Co-axial was fitted to seven Daniels pocket watches created between 1979 and 1994. During this period Daniels approached the Swiss watch industry with a view to incorporating the escapement in a wristwatch. In 1999, Omega triumphantly launched the Co-axial at the Basel Fair, subsequently investing heavily in it to enable mass production. It is now used in virtually every Omega model in the current wristwatch collection, and has been further refined and developed by them, and separately, by Daniels’ protégé Roger Smith for use in his superlative watches.

    As part of the Omega contract, Daniels received a number of ebauches to be used as a platform for a small series of wristwatches to his own design. The Millennium shares many characteristics with his pocket watches and were, with the assistance of Roger Smith, constructed over a three-year period. Initially the idea was to make a dozen watches, but this number soon grew due to demand from eager friends who wished to own a Daniels.

    In total forty-eight watches in yellow gold including the prototype, and eight in white gold were made.

    The movements are meticulously hand-finished in the traditional English manner, with gilded plates and blued screws. With its 18k gold engine-turned winding weight, the movement is set in a beautifully hand-engraved eccentric holder. In the distinctive Daniels style, the silver dials are exquisitely engine turned with three different patterns for a distinctive and legible look. The glazed gold cases, with their off-set winding crown at seven, are London hallmarked and each discreetly exhibits the original owner’s initials.

    Not only does the present watch come with its original fitted box, photos, instruction manual and advertising leaflet, but most importantly it is accompanied by four hand written letters from George Daniels to the purchaser.

    Offered in public for the first time, and coming directly from the original owner, this Millennium watch offers the connoisseur a golden opportunity to own a significant part of contemporary watchmaking art.

    We would like to thank David Newman of The George Daniels Educational Trust, Richard Stenning of Charles Frodsham & Co., and Roger Smith for their insight and help on cataloguing this watch.


A superb and ultimate yellow gold wristwatch with Co-axial escapement, date, correspondence from George Daniels and presentation box, part of a limited edition of 48 pieces

37mm Diameter
Case, dial, movement and clasp signed

CHF250,000 - 500,000 

Sold for CHF828,600

Contact Specialist

Alexandre Ghotbi
Head of Watches, Continental Europe and the Middle East
+41 22 317 81 81

Tiffany To
Head of Sale, Geneva
+41 22 317 96 63

The Geneva Watch Auction: XVI

Geneva Auction 5 - 6 November 2022