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Making the British mechanical wristwatch

Dr Roger W Smith delivers the 2019 George Daniels Lecture.
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Addressing a capacity-packed Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre audience on November 27th, Dr Roger W Smith delivered the annual George Daniels Lecture, The Development of the Mechanical Wristwatch.

Dr Smith carried his audience through the development of one of the 20th Century's greatest technical watchmaking feats - the co-axial escapement, invented by Dr George Daniels.

In his lecture, Dr Smith demonstrated the advantages in efficiency and power of the co-axial escapement over the lever escapement.


Dr Smith is currently acclaimed as Britain’s most highly regarded watchmaker. In 2015, he announced the first range of authentic British watches for decades. 

The range comprises reimagined Series 1 and 2 watches, newly developed Series 3 and 4 watches and the Series 5 or Open Dial watch.

All feature the latest evolution of his single-wheel co-axial escapement.

In 2018, he was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for ‘outstanding services to watchmaking’.

George Daniels CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19th August 1926 to 21st October 2011) created the co-axial escapement, one of the most significant developments in watchmaking for the last 250 years and which has since been licensed to Omega.

He studied horology at City’s predecessor, the Northampton Institute.

After his death, the George Daniels Educational Trust has administered the funds he bequeathed to provide undergraduate scholarships, bursaries and PhD studentships for City's engineering students.

Royal Academy of Engineering-George Daniels Professor of Scientific Instrumentation, Professor Ken Grattan said:

Dr Smith’s lecture illustrated so well the fusion between the skill and craftsmanship seen in the work of the UK’s most renowned watchmaker, the elegance of the wonderful hand-made watches that he produces, and their quality as precision timepieces. His work goes from strength to strength, inspired by the workmanship and traditional methods of Dr George Daniels, but also now taking the benefits of new software which helps in the design process.

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