Books stores away centuries’ worth of knowledge that you cannot find easily on the interest. Yes, the interest offers you a host of information quickly at your fingertips. But, it does not compare to holding a book in your hand. Much similar to holding a watch in your hand when buying one instead of going through images of watches while shopping online.
The world of horology is ever dynamic and ever-expanding. For this reason, watch books are significant as they freeze a segment of time within their pages. Over the last couple of decades, many watch experts have published books with exceptional depth and stories that you cannot find anywhere. Moreover, books make these stories immortal, and they can easily get passed down generations, sharing the wealth of knowledge with a new generation of watch lovers and watchmakers.
This article lists some of the best books every watch lover should have on their shelves and stories of the unsung heroes of watchmaking. These books take you around the world, from understanding the birth of wristwatches to the evolution it has taken today.
Best Books About Watches
The Watch Book
The Watch Book is written by two leading experts in wristwatches and antique watches, Gisbert L Brunner and Christian Pfeiffer-Belli. As it stands, the book offers an account of the top 18 watch manufacturers, their origin and history, the achievements marking historical points, and innovations of contemporary watches with traditional values.
The Watch Book doesn’t focus on one story or one achievement but a wholesome understanding of the different components, craftsmanship, and novelty of watchmaking. This book has something to offer if you are a newbie to the world of horology or if you have been a watch enthusiast for a long time. With over 400 colored photographs, you can be part of the upper echelons of the European watchmaking industry through this book.
The Watch: A Twentieth-Century Style History
Published in 2019, The Watch: A Twentieth-Century Style History, as the name suggests walks the readers through the history of watches through the 20th century. Beginning with its origin, evaluation, and historic events that led to the creation and destruction of some watches.
The author’s knowledge of 20th-century events, paired with extensive research and high-quality images, makes this book a must-have for watch lovers. From the early 1900s to events around the Wall Street crash and World War II, which led to the watch industry’s boom, this book covers every significant point that influenced watchmaking as we know it today.
Not just that, the book talks about the quartz movement, the subsequent demand for mechanical watches, the invention of new features, and more! The Watch is another must-have for watch enthusiasts with the world’s finest collection printed with the utmost detail in this book.
A Man & His Watch: Iconic Watches and Stories
Written by Matt Hranek, A Man & His Watch follows the stories of 76 most iconic watches worn by iconic men. The author captures intimate tales of the bond between a man and his watch from Paul Newman, Sylvester Stallone, Ralph Lauren, Sir Edmund Hillary, JFK, and more.
These never-before-told stories of the watches these famous men wore highlight the corresponding historical moments, technological marvels paving the way for pioneering innovations, and tales of legacy and heirlooms. Accompanied by exclusive photographs, this book gives you a direct lens into the untold bond between the man and his watch.
It is a collection of history and tales on how these men came to own their watch and what it meant to them. The stories make one thing clear – these watches go beyond just telling time; they are a life companion. For, these stories will forever remain woven intricately into the history of horology.
The Wristwatch Handbook: Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches
Ryan Schmidt takes us through the journey and history of mechanical wristwatches in his 2017 publication, The Wristwatch Handbook. This book offers easily understandable information on the development and advancement of mechanical wristwatches in the 21st century.
A book for every watch enthusiast to learn about 90 different mechanical watch manufacturers with over 470 colored photographs. In today’s world, where mechanical instruments can quickly go obsolete, the author notes the ever-increasing appreciation and collection of mechanical wristwatches by many across the world today.
Centered around the time of the quartz movement, the tales of split-second chronograph, 1000 Hz mechanical escapement, a vast range of complications, a fifty-day power reserve, and more to help you understand the true wonder of what happens beneath the dial of your mechanical watch. If you already didn’t have a preference for mechanical watches, this book will make you fall in love all over again.
The Watch Book Rolex: New, Extended Edition (2021)
This latest edition focuses purely on Rolex, written by the same author as above, Gisbert L Brunner. Initially published in 2017, the 2021 edition offers added information and content on Rolex’s latest editions. The Watch Book Rolex stands as a biography of the brand Rolex, its early history, and different legendary collections.
Ever since its inception, Rolex has made an indisputable mark in the history of watchmaking, and its significance influences many watchmakers from around the world. Rolex’s collections such as the Explorer, GMT, and Submariner serve as a benchmark for brands to look up to. Through this book, you can learn about what makes the brand so special and undefeated. Learn why celebrities, Royals, and world-class athletes proudly adorn their Rolex, making this brand a household name globally. Despite being unaffordable by most, owning a Rolex is everyone’s dream. For this reason, the Watch Book Rolex makes for a wonderful addition to every watch lover’s collection.
The Watch, Thoroughly Revised
Originally published in 2008 by Gene Stone, The Watch became one of the bestsellers offering an insight into the world of horology at that time. The layout and large photos also make it a great coffee table book to gift to a watch aficionado.
A decade later, The Watch, Thoroughly Revised, makes its way into the market with the help of Stephen Pulvirent, the co-author of the book.
A comprehensive guide to the world of watchmaking, this book is your one-stop-shop for all info and tit-bits about different brands, facets of the industry as a whole, and current-day nuances of the world of horology. With profiles of over 50 watchmakers across history and of collectors of watches, The Watch, Thoroughly Revised, makes for a perfect gateway to enter the nerd-zone of watchmaking. Above all, the book also offers a detailed guide on caring for your watches and maintaining them and what it means to own a particular brand.
Wristwatch Annual 2021: The Catalog of Producers, Prices, Models, and Specifications
In his latest publication, Marton Radkai provides an extensive guide about 130 watchmakers and 1400 models. As the name suggests, Wristwatch Annual 2021: The Catalog of Producers, Prices, Models, and Specifications is a catalog of the different brands, different collections, and models, their significance, and specifications.
Chasing Time: Vintage Wristwatches for the Discerning Collector
Vintage watch enthusiast and author, Alistar Gibbons, dives into the world of vintage watches in his 2018 publication, Chasing Time: Vintage Wristwatches for the Discerning Collector. The author, in this book, notes that mechanical watches have made a comeback after the quartz movement.
The reason is simple – mechanical watches do more than tell time. They have a soul and a story, and they can be your lifelong companion when taken care of precisely. Keeping these in mind, the author showcases some remarkable vintage collections in this book through illustrations, extensive research inputs, and intriguing details for every watch collector and enthusiast. Containing over 15 years’ worth of photos, Chasing Time is a compendium of vintage watches.
Watch Repair for Beginners: An Illustrated How-To Guide for the Beginner Watch Repairer
Originally published in 1957, Watch Repair for Beginners illustrates how you can repair your own watch or pick up watch repair as a hobby. This novice guide gives you the basics of a watch, different components used, understanding the mechanics of the wheels, and more. Learn how to clean, fix, and repair your watch from your home, or open up your side business to make some extra cash in your free time!
The author, Harold C. Kelly, walks us through a ground-up understanding of watchmaking, including differentiating between an automatic watch, a chronograph, and a clock. To this extent, many students in horological schools have taken references from this book to understand the basics. However, given the author’s proficiency and easy-to-understand information, you can pick this up as a home course to learn about watchmaking and repair.
Sea Time: Watches Inspired by Sailing, Yachting, and Diving
Co-authored by Aaron Sigmond and Mark Bernardo, Sea Time is a refreshing read on the world of horology and nautical adventures.
Watches like Rolex Submariners, Omega Seamaster, Doxa dive watches have stood out in history for their achievements at sea, making them perfectly reliable in uncertain conditions. Taking after these success stories, this book showcases over 100 watches tailor-made for nautical expeditions. Detailing the origin, history of making such watches, and fascinating facts from the sea, this book makes for a fun read if you love nautical watches.
Divided into different chapters, the book follows the stories of ‘The Icon’ based on Rolex Submariner and Fifty Fathoms, of ‘Sailing and Regatta’ watches that often tend to get overshadowed by the powerhouses in the industry, ‘Sea Time‘ watches focusing on the complexity and ingenuity in manufacturing and assembling nautical watches, of ‘Dive Watches’ and ‘By The Pool & The Seashore’ watches.
The author has a series of these books, including “Air Time” and “Drive Time” that cover the world of pilot watches and automobile-inspired watches.
A Moon Watch Story: The Extraordinary Destiny of the Omega Speedmaster
Published in 2019, A Moon Watch Story: The Extraordinary Destiny of the Omega Speedmaster, recounts the remarkable tale of the moon landing. As the whole world tuned in to watch the NASA astronauts take their first step on their moon, stories about Speedmaster taking its first moon landing broke the news as well.
Following this story closely, this book talks about the origin of the Speedmaster, and the evolution it took to make it a perfect companion for the astronauts to rely on in outer space. Beautifully harmonizing two worlds of space and horology, this book illustrates all the rigorous tests taken to make the Speedmaster fit for space travel, leading up to the contemporary Speedmasters made today.
Watches: A Guide by Hodinkee
Hodinkee, an influential watch editorial platform, published its first debut book, Watches: A Guide by Hodinkee in 2019. Famously known for providing online resources to watch enthusiasts and the latest updates on different brands, Hodinkee has put down its decade’s worth of knowledge into this book, making it a comprehensive guide on watches and watchmaking.
Filled with pictures and illustrations, this book makes for a wonderful visual treat for the readers. Covering a wide range of topics about different brands, different watches, their types, significance, and functions, this book dives into different aspects of watchmaking. Broken down into nine chapters, the authors of the book talk about a brief history, chronographs, dive watches, military watches, travel watches, complications, women watches, and dress watches. Consequently, this book makes for a wonderful guide for beginners, veterans, or just a curious soul.
Retro Watches: The Modern Collectors’ Guide
Watches don’t always tell time. Sometimes, they make a bold fashion statement or hosts special features making them unique. Co-authored by Josh Smith and Mitch Greenblatt, Retro Watches lists over 100 watches from Greenblatt’s collection.
Known for collecting quirky and visually striking watches, Mitch Greenblatt’s website sells some of these unique designs at a modest price. This book features some of his retro collection from the ’60s to the ’80s. The book contains exclusive images, along with details on the brand, description of the watch, and what makes them unique. The author believes that the funky designs of the forgotten era are making a striking comeback. For this reason, the authors give you a modern collection to choose from, unleashing the retro style in you.
George Daniels authored and published the book, Watchmaking, in 2011. For years, Daniels remains a figurehead in the world of luxury watchmaking for his outstanding achievements with mechanical watches. Such as, the invention of the co-axel escapement, and building the whole watch by hand. The book, Watchmaking, is a thorough guide on building a watch from scratch.
This step-by-step guide on making your own watch takes inspiration from the author’s years of watchmaking experience and the art of creating something with your hands. With an intention to encourage a new generation of watchmakers, this book not only lists how to build a simple timepiece but also on using traditional tools and methods, and building complications like tourbillon. A crash course into watchmaking like no other, this book is easy to understand and helps you build your own skill.
Wristwatches: The Models That Made an Age
Wristwatches, authored by Paolo De Vecchi and Alberto Uglietti, records 55 most celebrated watch brands in this book. Ever since the first watch was made in 1900, to modern-day watches, the book dives into the evolution of wristwatches. This book unravels all mystique of most prestigious watches from new technologies used, development with new designs and styles, and unparalleled features.
Focusing on social impact and daily usage, this book also throws light on icons such as Submariner, Royal Oak, Calatrava, and Swatch. In short, the Models That Made an Age pays homage to luxury watches that have made a mark in the world of horology. This book makes a perfect gift to a watch enthusiast or a wonderful addition to your book collection.