Dr George Daniels’ private collection of 137 lots, assembled over 50 years, achieved the total of £8,285,139 ($13,249,594), at the Sotheby’s auction held in London, on November 6. Including personal creations of the famous British watchmakers, but also some extremely rare pieces of the renowned horologists from the 17th, the 18th and the 19th century, the remarkable collection went far above the pre-sale estimated price of £3,806,390- £5,768,800.
The absolute highlight of the auction was Daniels’ Space Traveller’s watch that was sold for £1,329,250 ($2,125,737) which is more than two times higher of its estimated price. Dedicated to the man’s first landing on the moon, this, for its time highly advanced pocket watch, broke several records at the Sotheby’s, with the highest ever price at auction for both an English watch and an independent watchmaker.
All other masterpieces made by Mr. Daniels also reached much higher prices than it was estimated. Thus, his 18 karat yellow gold Grand Complication Pocket Watch from 1987, with a one-minute tourbillon mechanism that incorporates Daniels’ slim co-axial escapement, a minute repeating, an instantaneous perpetual calendar, an equation of time, a moon-phase indicator and a thermometer, was sold for £914,850 ($1,463,028), although it was estimated from £500,000 to £800,000.
George Daniels Co-Axial Chronograph was another timepiece that went over $1 million. This 18 karat yellow gold open-faced watch with a co-axial four-minute tourbillon and Daniels’ compact chronograph mechanism achieved the price of £657,250 ($1,051,074), above the pre-sale estimate of £300,000 – £500,000.
Regarding timepieces from George Daniels’ personal collection of antique watches and clocks that highlighted the auction, at the first place there is a Joseph Knibb’s Small Silver-Mounted Ebony Roman Striking Table Clock from 1677 which is sold for £1,273,250 ($2,036,181), although it was estimated from £600,000 to £900,000.
Another Joseph Knibb’s table clock, Ebony Double Six Hour Grande Sonnerie from 1685 reached the price of £337,250 ($539,330), while a rare One Day Marine Chronometer from Pennington, Pendleton & Others, produced back in 1796, was the biggest surprise by reaching £301,250 ($481,759) which is five times higher price than its estimated value.
Most of proceeds from the auction will be donated to the George Daniels Educational Trust which is devoted in helping students who search for a higher education in the fields of horology, engineering, medicine, building or construction.
One of the greatest Horologists of all Times
George Daniels spent more than 60 years developing new advanced solutions in the field of the high horology. The great British watchmaker died in 2011, leaving behind 37 stunning, hand-made watches and the most successful of his inventions, the co-axial escapement. This revolutionary invention that opened a new chapter of mechanical watchmaking is considered as one of the most important horological developments in the last two and a half centuries.
For his remarkable achievements, Mr. Daniels received numerous awards, including the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute. The world will remember him as the only man who was capable to create a watch manually, from start to finish and from raw materials, which is the task that engages more than 30 separate skills. There is no doubt that his work, passion and knowledge will be a great inspiration for the new generations of horologists.