Millennium | Yellow Gold
one of 47
This George Daniels Millennium is one of only 47 pieces created in yellow gold, to celebrate the acceptance of George Daniels' Co-Axial Escapement by the Swiss watch industry. It comes directly from the original owner, who commissioned the watch through a client of Daniels, based on the Isle of Man.
Celebrating 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, along with a CBE in 2010 – the first watchmaker ever to receive such an honour. During his lifetime, Daniels was one of the few people who built complete watches by hand, from his workshop on the Isle of Man, at a rate of around one watch per year.
One of his most noteworthy contributions to watchmaking was the invention of the Co-Axial Escapement, designed to improve a mechanism’s long-term performance by radically changing the nature of its inner workings. The Co-Axial was the first practical invention since the lever escapement, created by Thomas Mudge in 1755, thus representing an important advancement in the dynamics of the watch. By re-designing the function of the components during impulse, the Co-Axial Escapement operates without sliding friction. As a consequence, unlike a conventional watch, the rate is unaffected by the viscosity of lubricants, which can vary constantly with temperature, humidity, and age.
Launched in 1998, the Millennium series came about as a way to celebrate the acceptance of the Daniels Co-Axial Escapement by the Swiss watch industry, a lifelong ambition of the watchmaker. They were made using the first Omega ébauches to contain the Co-Axial, which were heavily modified by George Daniels and Roger W. Smith, over the course of three years. Working in isolation for most of his career, Daniels had taken Smith on as an apprentice, after the promising watchmaker built two pocket watches entirely by hand over the course of several years, with the aim of proving his worth to Daniels. It is understood that 47 yellow gold and 8 white gold Millenniums were produced.
This particular Millennium was first commissioned by one of George Daniels' clients from the Isle of Man, on behalf of his friend. When the watch was completed, the ownership was transferred over, for the friend to enjoy it over the next two decades. As a result, the original paperwork for the watch, from 1999, makes reference to the name and initials of the individual from the Isle of Man, whereas an insurance valuation signed by Daniels in 2002, correctly references the initials of the final owner, which can also be found on the caseback.
The silver dial is hand engine-turned, combining three different patterns to create legibility and add depth to the design. It features an outer-chapter ring with hand engraved, black minute markers. A trench separates it from a second brushed chapter ring, displaying black Roman numeral hour-markers, in the watchmaker’s classic style. The centre of the dial occupies yet another, deeper section, with a hand-turned, basket-work pattern. A cartouche at eight o'clock and five o’clock references “DANIELS” and “LONDON” in black engraving.
Whilst most Millenniums which have appeared publicly feature a diamond-shaped marker for the 31st day of the month, this example is engraved with "31". Though the reason for this distinction is unclear, it is believed that the master engraver in London who engraved the chapters for these dials first used "31", before transitioning to the diamond-shaped marker, in order to help with legibility. As a result, it is understood that the dials carrying "31" are likely both earlier and rarer than those carrying the diamond.
Sized at 37mm, the 18-carat yellow gold case features straight lugs and a rounded, stepped bezel. The caseback is engraved with the original owner's initials, alongside "MM", the Roman numeral version of the year 2000, which is when the watch was delivered. The case has sapphire glass on the front and back. Every part of a Daniels watch is individually hand-finished; including the slender, yellow-gold Daniels hands, which bring a sense of visual coherence.
The self-winding movement is finished in the English style, with gilded plates and blued screws. Equipped with arguably the greatest British contribution to watchmaking, the Co-Axial escapement, the movement is assured of outstanding time-keeping and long-term reliability. Performance is maintained by the 18-carat gold guilloché winding weight, contained within a highly decorated outer plate.
This George Daniels Millennium comes with an impressive array of paperwork and accompanying materials. This includes a hand-written invoice (1999), a hand-written description of the watch (1999) and two insurance valuations signed by Daniels (1999 and 2002). It is also accompanied by its original blue envelope and box. The watch comes with a bespoke Zürich grained leather straps, Paris II bespoke strap in tan, as well as its original Daniels alligator strap and yellow gold buckle.
Viewings are currently suspended due to Covid-19.
|Movement:||automatic-winding hand-made with Omega Co-Axial|
|Functions:||date, hours, minutes, centre-seconds|
|Features:||sterling silver guilloché dial, display back, yellow gold hands|
|Case:||37 mm 18-carat yellow gold|
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back|
Zürich bespoke grained leather straps in taupe, Paris II tan, brown alligator strap, yellow gold tang buckle
|Box & papers:||
hand-written invoice (1999), hand-written description of the watch (1999), two insurance valuations signed by Daniels (1999 and 2002), blue envelope, box
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