Educational legacy of renowned watchmaker

George Daniels

George Daniels

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AN education trust is set to be formed in memory of world-famous watchmaker Dr George Daniels.

Dr Daniels, of Jurby Road, in Ramsey, died at the age of 85, in October.

His will includes a bequest for a charity to be set up, called The George Daniels’ Educational Trust.

The aim of the charity will be to further the higher education of pupils studying or intending to study horology, engineering, medicine, building or construction.

Sixty per cent of the money in the trust annually will be available for The City University, in London, to nominate people for awards from the trust to further their higher education.

Thirty per cent will be available to The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and The British Horological Institute to jointly nominate people for awards.

The trustees will allocate the remaining money.

Other bequests include £10,000 each to the League of Friends of Noble’s Hospital and the League of Friends of Ramsey and District Cottage Hospital.

The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers’ Museum and Educational Trust, in London, will receive his horological library, his model and patent drawings of one of his most successful revolutionary escapement – the co-axial – as well as his medal collection – including his CBE and MBE.

Dr Daniels, who moved to the island in 1982, was also a vintage cars enthusiast, and both The Bentley Drivers Club and The Vintage Sports Car Club will receive £5,000.

Generous bequests were also made to his family, friends and staff.

One of 11 children, Dr Daniels was born in Edgware, north London. His father, a carpenter, was a violent drunk and the family struggled, with barely enough to eat.

He became fascinated by watches as a child of five when he found a cheap wristwatch in the street. He prised it open and was intrigued by the mechanism. His rise was meteoric: working by day in a mattress factory, he attended evening classes in horology and set up on his own as a watch cleaner and repairer. A chance meeting in 1960 with Sam Clutton, a founder member of the Antiquarian Horological Society and Vintage Sports Car Club in Britain, introduced him to up-market and antique horology.

In 1969 he produced his first mechanical watch. He sold it to Clutton, who showed it to other collectors and Daniels embarked on his career as a specialist watchmaker.

Each watch typically involved 2,500 hours of work over a year or more. He was bestowed with many awards and wrote several books on the subject.

He was appointed MBE in 1981 and CBE in 2010, and he is the only watchmaker ever to receive the honour of master watchmaker, for services to horology.

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