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George Daniels - Watchmaking (amazing, for ANY machinist!!)

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If you have even a glimpse of an interest in mechanics, home machining or small machines, this book will blow you away. If you have an interest in watches, clocks and time keeping movements, you will be mesmerized.
George Daniels is one of the rare few in the world who can produce a complete watch entirely by hand. His book, Watchmaking, details specifically and accurately how simple machines and tools are used and how watch parts can be formed. Colour photos cover many pages with hundreds of detailed drawings explaining how techniques are carried out or how parts work and interact throughout the 409 pages!
When I first had an interest in watches and clocks near 10 years ago now, this book was ludicrously expensive and difficult to acquire. In 2011 the 3rd Edition has been released and although many people almost waited over a year for theirs to arrive, they seem to have finally copied enough to meet demand. I have however been informed that stocks are already dropping!
This book is well worth every penny and I only wish I had it right back when I started machining. The information is invaluable if not more so the diagrams.
Let me know if you do purchase a copy or already have a copy. This really is the bible for any potential watchmaker and would be a book of real interest to any machinist.


Chris..I have the 1981 "first edition" which was published by Sotheby.

I agree with you that it is a fantastic book.

However whilst the operations are very clearly described, as we can all appreciate, the trick is have the skill/dexterity/feel to do them. George Daniels is an outstanding craftsman and I can only admire his work.

Like you I have repaired a few pocket watches and clocks, but unlike you I have not made one from scratch.

I have a collection of marine chronometers and deck watches (both used for navigation before the advent of quartz clocks and GPS).  As they are irreplaceable, they go to a 70-year old master clock-and-watch maker for service / repair. His skills are remarkable, but are aided by having the right equipment that enables him to manufacture any parts should the be necessary. With watches in particular, the best solution is always to buy the replacement part where possible.



I spent nearly 4 hours solid reading the book last night instead of working on my clock. I`m nearly at the end and I`m looking forward to reading it through a second time!

With regards to skill, Daniels shows you the methods that need to be employed and with practice and practice I`m sure the skills can be gained. I had only 1% of the knowledge I have now and 0.01% of the skill I have now when I first joined this forum. OK, I`ve used books as well but mainly from people I have met and madmodder I gained the knowledge and only through practice I`ve got the skill. Daniels suggests methods and procedures that I`d never have thought of, I`ll gain the skill, dexterity and feel from practice. I`m just making the point that the book is stuffed full of methods and knowledge but I do agree and understand that you need to "find" the skill for yourself! Just through reading your never going to build a watch.

I`m certainly not in any rush, I have to have success in this gearless clock and then I`ll move onto Colin Thornes clock and complete them. If I can`t finish a clock I`ve no chance. There are still a few engines in me, the elbow engine and an LTD ringbom I still feel I can make. I am seriously considering one day in the next few years embarking on the build of a Tourbillon pocket watch. There is enough knowledge in this book alone, plus info on the internet that I feel I could learn the "know-how"!   As you said, the skill to make such a watch perhaps will prove too difficult!

Chris...I agree with you completely - the only way to master anything is practice, practice and more practice.  For some of us, eyesight and manual dexterity can be a limiting factor on working with small stuff (i.e. watch parts). Having said that, Bogs is but one example of how you can adapt your workshop set-up to cope with your circumstances.

In my experience without some previously learnt skills you cannot as a rule read how to do something and then do it 100% first time.   As one with limited formal workshop training (4 weeks, many years ago) I have found great value from books/articles/posts written by those who have done something and shared their thinking, methods of work, and often most importantly their mistakes!

As you, and many others on this and other forums have illustrated, the only way is to give it a go and carry on, learning from one's failures. I value this forum for the genuine encouragement members offer each other and for the sharing of what they are busy with.

I have little time for the "armchair engineers" who can describe it all in theory but never or seldom make anything! ::)



Do you agree with me that this book is an excellent read for anyone interested in engineering and small "machines" ?

..... or am I just writing with watchmaking blinkered glasses?


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