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  • Condition Report

  • Description

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  • Manufacturer: George Daniels
    Year: 1971
    Movement No: Engraved George Daniels, London, e. m. h.
    Model Name: The Edward Hornby Tourbillon Pocket Watch
    Material: 18K yellow gold
    Calibre: Key-wound, Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement
    Dimensions: 62mm Diameter
    Signed: Dial and movement signed Daniels London, 18k gold case with London hallmarks for 1970, and casemakers initials GD
    Accessories: Accompanied by a hand written letter from George Daniels dated 1st January, 1971, red leather fitted George Daniels presentation box, and gold graduated double-link chain with gold and blued steel double-ended key
    Provenance: Made for and sold to Edward Hornby, Jan 1st 1971
    Sotheby’s London, June 22nd, 1999, Lot 74
    Sotheby’s London, July 6th, 2017, The Celebration of the English Watch, Part IV’

    Literature: Sotheby’s, George Daniels Retrospective Exhibition Catalogue, 2006, pp. 28-29
    Terence Camerer Cuss, The English Watch 1585-1975, 2009, pp. 452-452, pl. 295
    George Daniels, All in Good Time, Reflections of a Watchmaker, 2013, pp 95-96, 221, pl. 31, pp. 95-96, and 221
    Michael Clerizo, George Daniels, A Master Watchmaker & His Art, 2015, pp 64-65
    George Daniels, The Practical Watch Escapement, 2016, color plate
    Alexander Barter, The Watch A Twentieth-Century Style History, 2019, p. 248-249

  • Provenance

    Made for and sold to Edward Hornby, Jan 1st 1971
    Sotheby’s London, June 22nd, 1999, Lot 74
    Sotheby’s London, July 6th, 2017, The Celebration of the English Watch, Part IV’

  • Exhibited

    George Daniels Retrospective Exhibition, Sotheby’s, July 2006
    The Clockmaker’s Company Museum at the Science Museum, London, June 2018 – January 2020

  • Catalogue Essay

    Phillips is deeply honoured to offer this spectacular George Daniels one minute tourbillon pocket watch with Earnshaw’s spring detent chronometer escapement. Belonging to the rare, very first series of eight pocket watches fully handmade by Daniels for collectors between the years 1969 and 1974, they demonstrate his superlative genius and innovation, creating timepieces cherished for their elegance, harmony, and uniqueness. Measuring an impressive 62mm in diameter, the “Edward Hornby” is both an artistic and technical masterpiece. Created by the British watchmaker widely considered as among the greatest of the 20th century, its unmatched quality, stunning aesthetics, and commanding size are simply breathtaking.

    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. In his autobiography, “All in Good Time”, Daniels’ wrote of that period “I resolved never again, except by force of law, to follow a path that did not appeal to me“. And he never did.

    Shortly after WWII, Daniels set up his own workshop repairing watches and, in his spare time, restoring automobiles for himself. However, a 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 study and work on.

    A Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, Daniels studied watchmaking’s traditional past, seeking to improve upon it, and advancing precision timekeeping. He studied the 18th/19th century master Abraham‐Louis Breguet, who Daniels said was his single greatest influence, and over time, he became a leading authority on Breguet. The sublime, eternally classic dials found on Breguet’s pocket watches are mirrored in the work by Daniels, as well as the exquisite quality of each component within his movements.

    In the late 1960s, Daniels began work on a series of eight one-minute tourbillon pocket watches. The first was made in 1969 for his friend Cecil Clutton, with a pivoted detent chronometer tourbillon with retrograde hour indication, and unique gold and silver case. These commissions were a turning point in his career and as his earliest timepieces, are wonderful representations of the excellence of his workmanship and commitment to achieving the best possible. Closely examining their details, each of these watches exhibit unique features that illustrate how Daniels continued to improve and refine his work. The watches each have gold cases with silvered, engine‐turned dials and hand‐made blued steel hands, and while the Clutton featured a pivoted detent escapement, the remainder used Earnshaw’s spring detent escapement in the tourbillon carriage. Watch number 7, the “Engel” is the only example with an “up‐and‐down” indication, and watch number 8, the “Saunders” features an “S” counterpoise on the seconds hands.

    The elegant form, simplicity, balance, and legibility of these early pieces were to become the distinctive characteristics of the Daniels oeuvre. For Daniels, “watches should provide historical, technical, intellectual, aesthetic, amusing and useful qualities.” A mantra he applied to all his creations, and one he frequently repeated when discussing his watches and explaining his goals. The case, dial and movements of his watches were to be instantly recognizable as a Daniels. Each was to be hand‐made to the highest standards and the movements were to incorporate interesting and innovative mechanical features. Best known for inventing the Daniels’ co‐axial escapement in 1974, it was the most important technical advancement to precision, mechanical timekeeping in 250 years. So revolutionary was this escapement, Omega began fitting their high grade wristwatches with the co‐axial escapement in 1999, and today it is now used in virtually all of the brand’s mechanical models.
    Edward Hornby was a lawyer and watch collector who began his collection in the 1930s. Daniels and Hornby met through Sam Clutton in the 1960s, and were both attracted to the work of Breguet. Hornby’s first watch purchase was a Breguet timepiece that he selected for its aesthetic quality. Hornby would soon purchase the present lot directly from Daniels, today known as “The Hornby”, and it is the fourth watch Daniels ever made. Fitted with the same dial design as his previous three watches, The Hornby was delivered in 1971. Always striving for improvements, for this fourth watch, Daniels lengthened and changed the proportions of the steel bridge over the tourbillon to further refine the aesthetic of the movement.

    “The Hornby” is a tour de force in watchmaking. Every part is created by hand with the exception of the balance spring and crystal, and is masterfully finished to a degree rarely seen in any other timepiece. Featuring a prominent retrograde hour indicator, the Hornby’s sublime, silvered dial is embellished with three distinct, hand‐engine‐turned patterns. An outer, eccentric satin‐finished ring indicates the minutes, with a slim, overlapping ring indicating the constant seconds. Every 12 hours, at 1 o’clock, the hand‐ made hour hand with its distinctive pointed triangle tip, flies back along the satin‐finished hour sector, instantaneously returning to the left side to indicate the correct hour.

    Not only graced with stunning aesthetics, The Hornby is an exceptionally accurate, precision timekeeper. Explaining his ownership experience, Edward Hornby would recount an accuracy test he conducted over eight months against a quartz watch. Whereas the quartz watch’s battery died within this timeframe, the Daniels watch averaged a daily rate variation of just 0 to 3 seconds – a remarkable performance for any mechanical watch.

    So pleased with his first Daniels watch, Hornby would later ask George for a second pocket watch, with a double wheel chronometer escapement, thermometer and up‐ and‐down indication, delivered in 1977, and now in a private collection.

    There is a simplicity of design to Daniel’s watches that are ethereal and classic. His watches offer insight in to the history of traditional watchmaking, as well as its future. The influence of George Daniels as a pioneer, and the founding father of modern independent watchmaking, cannot be emphasized enough. With its timeless design, 50 years after its creation, The Hornby looks as modern and beautiful today as it did in 1971 – a testament to Daniels’ impeccable taste, and his visionary design approach. Through his watches and publications, particularly “Watchmaking”, he has and continues to inspire countless international independent watchmakers to follow their dreams and create their own watches and ethos. His works of art stand as a tribute to those who excelled in the past, and to those who will follow in his path.
    For passionate enthusiasts and collectors, a George Daniels timepiece is the pinnacle of watch collecting. Only 24 pocket watches were made by Daniels during his lifetime, in addition to two completely hand‐made wristwatches. Accordingly, the rarity and importance of any George Daniels watch cannot be overstated. Accompanied with its original fitted box, handwritten and signed letter, gold chain and winding key, The Hornby, as one of Daniels’ earliest tourbillon watches, represents a rare opportunity to obtain a hand‐made creation by one of the greatest watchmakers of all time. Its impressive size, superb aesthetics, immaculate condition, completeness, and its rarity make this a trophy watch for the most discerning connoisseur.


    CATALOGUE RAISONNÉ

    Catalogue Raisonné Pocket Watches
    The Clutton (private collection) – Hallmarked and sold 1969
    Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Pivoted detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute

    tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Marryat (private collection) – Hallmarked 1969, sold 1970
    Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Bloomfield (private collection) – Hallmarked 1969, sold 1970
    Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Hornby (private collection, present watch) – Hallmarked 1970, sold 1971 Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Elsom I (private collection) – Hallmarked 1970, sold 1970
    Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Sarah Jane (made for his daughter, now in a private collection) – Hallmarked 1970 Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Engel (private collection) – Hallmarked 1973, sold 1973
    Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve display. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Saunders (private collection) – Hallmarked 1973, sold 1973
    Retrograde hours, minutes, seconds. Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Elsom II (private collection) – Hallmarked 1975, sold 1975
    Central hours and minutes, seconds, power reserve and equation of time displays, Daniels’ spring detent chronometer escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon, 15 seconds remontoire, recessed balance,
    annual calendar disc. Key‐wound

    The Atwood (private collection) – Hallmarked 1975, sold 1976
    Eccentric hours and minutes on lower section of dial sub seconds at 12 o’clock, power reserve display, Daniels Independent double wheel escapement, seconds zero reset mechanism. Key‐wound.

    The Clutton II (British Museum) – Hallmarked 1976, sold 1977
    Eccentric hours and minutes on lower section of dial, sub seconds at 12 o’clock, Daniels Independent double wheel escapement, seconds zero reset mechanism. Key‐wound

    The Elsom III (private collection) – Hallmarked 1976, sold 1977
    Eccentric hours and minutes on lower section of dial, sub seconds at 12 o’clock,

    thermometer and power reserve displays, Daniels Independent double wheel escapement, seconds zero reset
    mechanism. Key‐wound

    The Hornby II (private collection) – Hallmarked 1977, sold 1977
    Eccentric hours and minutes on lower section of dial, sub seconds at 12 o’clock, thermometer and power reserve displays, Daniels Independent double wheel escapement, seconds zero reset
    mechanism. Key‐wound

    The Beyer (Beyer Museum, Zurich) – Hallmarked 1977, sold 1978
    Eccentric hours and minutes on lower section of dial, sub seconds at 12 o’clock, thermometer and power reserve displays, Daniels Independent double wheel escapement, recessed balance, seconds
    zero reset mechanism. Key‐wound

    The Space Traveller I (private collection) – sold 1982
    Mean‐solar and sidereal time, 2 x seconds, annual calendar, age and phase of the moon phase, equation of time display, Daniels Independent double wheel escapement, seconds zero reset mechanism. Key‐wound

    The Space Traveller II (Retained by the maker, now private collection) – 1983 Mean‐solar and sidereal time, 2 x seconds, annual calendar, age and phase of the moon phase, equation of time sector, center seconds chronograph for either mean‐solar or sidereal time, Daniels
    Independent double wheel escapement, zero reset mechanism. Key‐wound

    The Martin (private collection) – Hallmarked 1979, sold 1983
    Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve display, Daniels co‐axial escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Key‐wound

    The Signature (private collection) – Hallmarked 1984
    Hours, minutes, seconds, Daniels co‐axial escapement, 1‐minute edge‐driven tourbillon. Daniels keyless winding

    The Beyer II (Beyer Museum, Zurich) – Hallmarked 1986, sold 1986
    Hours, minutes, seconds, Daniels co‐axial escapement, 1‐minute edge‐driven tourbillon. Daniels keyless winding

    The Nall‐Cain (on loan to the Clockmakers’ Company Museum, London courtesy of the George Daniels Educational Trust) – Hallmarked 1983, sold 1986
    Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve and thermometer displays, Daniels slim co‐axial escapement, independent dead‐ beat seconds mechanism. Daniels keyless winding

    The Bobinet (a royal collection) – Hallmarked 1983, sold 1986
    Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve display, Daniels slim co‐axial escapement, independent dead‐ beat seconds mechanism. Daniels keyless winding

    The Grand Complication (Retained by the maker, now private collection) – Retained by the maker, 1987
    Hours, minutes, seconds, instantaneous retrograde perpetual calendar, moon phase, thermometer, power reserve and equation of time displays, annual calendar, minute repeater, Daniels slim co‐axial
    escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon. Daniels keyless winding

    The Four‐Minute Tourbillon (Retained by the maker, now private collection) – hallmarked 1994
    Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve display, Daniels compact chronograph with minute recording, Daniels co‐axial escapement, four‐minute tourbillon. Daniels keyless winding

    The Unfinished Movement (on loan to the Clockmakers’ Company Museum, London, courtesy of the George Daniels Educational Trust) – 2011
    1‐minute tourbillon, Daniels Co‐axial escapement, 15‐second remontoire. Daniels keyless winding

    Wristwatches

    Wristwatch I – The Four‐Minute Tourbillon (Retained by the maker, now private collection) – 1991
    Hours, minutes, seconds, power reserve display, Daniels compact chronograph with minute recording, Daniels slim co‐axial escapement, four‐minute tourbillon.

    Wristwatch II – The Spring Case (private collection) – 1992
    Hinged Double‐dialed sprung case, hours, minutes, seconds and power reserve on one dial; and day, date and visible tourbillon on the reverse dial. Daniels slim co‐axial escapement, 1‐minute tourbillon.

    We would like to thank David Newman of The George Daniels Educational Trust, and Richard Stenning of Charles Frodsham & Co. for their precious input, photos and sketches.

102

A spectacular and historically important yellow gold twin barrel one minute tourbillon pocket watch with Earnshaw spring detent chronometer escapement and retrograde hour hand, with handwritten George Daniels letter, presentation box, and double-ended key, handmade for Edward Hornby

1971
62mm Diameter
Dial and movement signed Daniels London, 18k gold case with London hallmarks for 1970, and casemakers initials GD

Estimate
$600,000 - 1,200,000 
CHF555,000-1,110,000
€532,000-1,060,000
HK$4,680,000-9,360,000

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Paul Boutros

Head of Watches, Americas

+1 (212) 940-1293

[email protected]

 

The 2021 New York Watch Auction

New York Auction 11 - 12 December 2021