Watchmaking is a historic practice. Improvements and changes to integral parts of a timepiece are rare, mostly because the construction of high quality watches has been refined over generations. Watchmaking today is therefore the result of traditional practices with minor improvements that have been around for centuries. The mechanics of watchmaking are so intricate that the language of movement elements can be complex and confusing. Purchasing your first wristwatch is often coupled with the feeling of having to digest a lexicon of new terms.
The advancement we will talk about today is relatively modern and has made a substantial impact in the construction of luxury timepieces. The traditional lever escapement was invented by Thomas Mudge in 1750 and has been used in most watches made since the nineteenth century. The co-axial escapement was invented in 1974 by English master watchmaker George Daniels and patented in 1980. This refinement to the escapement was revolutionary to the watchmaking process. The co-axial escapement has led to Daniels, who passed away in 2011, to be considered one of the greatest horologists of the 20thcentury.