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George Daniels’ Watchmaking Back in Print

by J.Edwards


George Daniels' "Watchmaking"As some of our blog readers are already aware, George Daniels’ meticulously illustrated masterpiece, Watchmaking, is set to be back in print. It has been out of circulation for several years, and prices for the 462 page volume have skyrocketed into the hundreds of dollars on the second hand market, topping out at as much as $525! Fortunately, pre-orders for fresh off the press copies of this 2nd printing of the third edition are listed at an incredible $54.

If previous printings are any indication, however, this latest print run might not be around for long. I made the mistake of passing up on a copy at my local bookstore back in 2002 and wasn’t able to track down a new copy again until 2005, which I ended up having shipped over from England for nearly three times as much.

If you have ever dreamt of building your own watch or are at all interested in the tools used to make a watch by hand, I highly recommend investing in a copy of Daniels’ Watchmaking. There isn’t a more thorough or expertly crafted resource on the subject that I could even begin to compare it to.

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  1. Posted September 11, 2009 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I bought myself one of those copies that’s now going for hundreds of dollars:) It is an absolutely magnificent book. When Daniels talks about *watchmaking*, he ain’t foolin’! He shows how to make the screws, the hairspring, even how to make the jewels!

    I love the book. He goes into casemaking and making dials, polishing, heat-treating, etc. Everything. Using only this book it is possible to make every piece of a watch. Yes, I’m a fan:)

  2. Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    It is a real gem, Wackyvorlon. I’m happy to hear you’re a fan. There really is nothing else like it.

  3. Posted September 11, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Aimeri: Buy this book!:) At $54, among watch books it’s a steal. I think the bestfit books run $80? A Bergeon catalog is $90.

    I’m very pleased that Mr. Daniels has permitted it’s reprinting, and this is at least the second time he has done so. He is a fellow with a true passion for watches, and amazing skill. Just the other day I was watching of him on youtube, I believe it was from an interview. He was looking at the accuracy of quartz watches, and said to himself, “I can make a mechanical watch do that.” After, he built a chronometer that keeps to within one second over 30 days.

  4. Posted September 11, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Smiles all the way. I wouldn’t have spent $ 500.- and over, but yes, I agree it should be all worthwhile to get your hands on this marvel. Likewise, other books esp. like James Dowling’s Rolex an un-authorised history written with Roger Hess, is now about $ 78.- from Amazon.
    Agree that books like these should be read over and over again!
    Prem C.

  5. Posted September 11, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the heads up. After reading a couple pages on Amazon I can see why it went for five times the price. He seems to cover every thing but what to eat for lunch.

  6. Posted September 12, 2009 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    Great news!

  7. Chris
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I’ve pre-ordered my copy!!! Thanks for the heads up, I almost took the plunge and bought it at $250 a month ago.

  8. Posted September 12, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    That is another great book, Prem. And congrats, Chris! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I have.

  9. Posted September 15, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    wackyvorlon: I’ve heard of the good news! Alas, my current financial situation will not permit me to buy a copy of this amazing book. I’m helping with my wife’s college so all the money goes to that, as cheap as George Daniels’ book may be.
    With some luck I might be able to ask this as my birthday present next year if they still have the book available. In the mean time I will rejoice in the fact that this book is not extinct and others will be able to enjoy it 🙂

  10. Posted September 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    A thought: I am willing to make a $10 donation to this blog, via the donation button. If five of us contributed as such, it would be sufficient for Aimeri to get a copy of the book. What do people think?

  11. Posted September 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    wackyvorlon: Thanks for the kind idea. I would not ever think of imposing such a burden onto people.
    What I am doing instead is borrowing books on the subject from the library. They are mostly on watch repair as opposed to watch MAKING (in the true sense of the word), but they will do for the time being. I suppose I will learn some theory, and as old as they are, they still hold value in their teaching.

  12. J.Peter
    Posted September 21, 2009 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I’m willing to go with that. If enough people wanted to give a donation to buy Aimeri a copy of the book I’ll make sure he gets one.

  13. Posted September 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    As Aimeri is focusing on repair, I would recommend Henry Fried’s The Watch Repairer’s Manual over Daniel’s Watchmaking, which I have seen advertised on the front of the envelopes for the HT for $40 or so. If we can rally enough contributions, I would be happy to help Aimeri acquire whichever he feels would be more beneficial to him at this stage of his learning.

    Great job scouring out your local libraries, Aimeri. I spent many afternoons flipping through every volume my local libraries had on the subject for many years leading up to and all throughout my schooling.

  14. Joe
    Posted December 10, 2009 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Well unfortunately the print date has been moved ahead to JUNE 2010, so no one will be getting a copy anytime soon…

    Amazon just send me a notice saying that the December delivery date isn’t going to happen, too bad, I was looking forward to a nice christmas gift to myself.

    Oh well, maybe christmas in July.

  15. Posted December 11, 2009 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    That is really unfortunate, Joe. On the fortunate flipside, it will be well worth the wait when at last you do receive it.

    Thanks for letting us all know about the delay.

  16. Posted August 15, 2010 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    Well, the delivery date is now out to December 2010. This has been going on for a while, so I’m beginning to have my doubts about ever seeing a copy.

  17. J.Peter
    Posted August 16, 2010 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    I agree, the new release date is absolutely ridiculous. What are they waiting for?

  18. Tickolas
    Posted December 3, 2010 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    The release date seems to be postposed even much further now to next April or May.

  19. Posted December 9, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Yes, it is quite ridiculous. The least expensive used copy I’ve been able to find recently is listed at $195, across Amazon, AbeBooks, eBay, and other sources. All of the major horological book sellers I am familiar with are presently out of stock. Jeff Formby Antiques had one NOS copy in several months ago, but it quickly vanished.

  20. Terry
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I could use an opinion here. I am getting into watchmaking now I figure the first book I should get is either the bulova training manual or the watch repairer`s manual. I only plan to get one to start and the other later. Any input on which one I should get first? Thanks!

  21. J.Peter
    Posted December 20, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    I think I would probably start with The Watch Repairer’s Manual

  22. Terry
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Perfect! Thank you! I have another question. Any recommendations on a tool kit to pick up intially? I am looking to spend hopefully in the 200-300 dollar range. Less would be nice. I am not sure what all I will need to start.

  23. Terry
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Perhaps this kit

  24. Posted December 21, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Kits like this tend to be overpriced. The tools in them are also typically of low quality and over time you’ll probably find you won’t use half of them.

    Before making any suggestions, it would be good to know what kind of work you intend to undertake. I’m assuming you would like to work on mechanical watches. Will you be focusing on pocket watches or wristwatches? Vintage or modern?

  25. Terry
    Posted December 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    I plan to work mostly on mechanical. Modern and vintage. My main goal is getting AWCI certification. I am hoping to get as far as I can without attending a watchmaking school because I am already pursuing a degree in mathematics. I don`t want to add more tuition. I want to start tinkering with pocket watches and wrist watches then move into making both.

  26. Posted December 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    I would recommend starting with pocket watches.

    Three critical sets of tools that you don’t want to skimp on are a loupe, tweezers, and screwdrivers. They’re worth investing in. You will be kicking yourself later if you take the plunge on something cheap.

    For loupes, I’d recommend checking out the discussion on this post. Everyone has their own personal preference. A good starter loupe is this dual lens loupe from Bausch & Lomb, which will give you 8x magnification when you need it for close up tasks like lubricating the escapement and a good working distance at 4x the rest of the time.

    With tweezers, #3 antimagnetic Dumonts are good all around tweezers and #5 antimagnetics are an absolute necessity for hairspring work. I would also highly recommend investing in a pair of brass or bronze alloy tweezers. The bronze alloy tweezers are my personal favourite and get the most use as my general go-to tweezers.

    For screwdrivers, if you will be focusing on pocket watches, I recommend Bergeon’s 10 piece screwdriver set with stand. Otherwise, their 9 piece set will suit most purposes. I like their aluminum handled ergonomic screwdrivers, but am not a fan of the base they produced for it. VOH also makes a very nice set of screwdrivers.

    Although you can get by with any sharp blade, a good bench knife is also a necessity for working with a lot of pocket watches, and snap back cased watches in general. My personal favourite, which has served me well for half a decade without snapping or chipping is this Omega branded Swiss Army knife. If you want small workshop in your pocket, there’s also this fully loaded watchmaker’s Swiss Army knife.

    A set of movement holders is also a necessity. This style produced by Slick and Bergeon are the best all around set.

    Here are a few more suggestions to get you started. This is by no means a comprehensive list and it isn’t enough to perform a complete service on a watch – you’ll need to spend a few thousand to get to that – but it is enough to get you tinkering.

    Oil cups (I’d recommend BG30180A here if you don’t mind spending a little more)
    A★F’s blue rodico or grey premium rodico
    Screwback case wrench
    Case holder
    Case/crystal press

    Benchwise, to keep things simple and inexpensive, I’d recommend following the instructions laid out by George Daniels in his book, Watchmaking, above.

    I would also recommend reading through this year’s and last year’s stocking stuffer ideas for other handy tool ideas.

  27. Terry
    Posted December 22, 2011 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Thank you very much! I found this kit

    It has a Bergeon screwdriver set.

  28. Posted December 22, 2011 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    That kit would be a good start.

    One item in it worth upgrading is the green rodico. It’s better to go with blue or grey. Not bad to start with, though.

    Best of success!

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Watchmaking back in print!…

    Huzzah! George Daniels’ book Watchmaking is back in print! This is an awesome book. I’m a huge fan of Daniels’ work, and in this book he discusses how to make every part of the watch. Even the screws and the jewels! I’ve had my copy for a numb…

  2. […] any aspirations of crafting a watch of your own, don’t make the mistake of putting it off like I did several years ago. If history does indeed repeat itself, copies of this reprint likely won’t […]

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