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Looking for good books on Horology

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  • Looking for good books on Horology

    Hi Everyone,

    I would very much appreciate any suggestions on good books on Horology. George Daniel's Watchmaking is an amazing book, although a bit technical. Any other books? Any thoughts on "The Wristwatch Handbook" by Ryan Schmidt? Thank you!

  • #2
    Sorry, Kronos. I must have missed this post. Good question, and it sounds to me like you're actually seeking a book on horology, as opposed to watch collecting/appreciation. For the latter, there are heaps of books on the market, but for the former, there seem to be few books written for the casual enthusiast, fewer still written in the English language.

    I myself have not read many books on horology, and despite having enough technical prerequisite to understanding the writing, personally find them to be a little too in-depth and theoretical, relative to my scope of interest in watches. This plus the fact that I've generally avoided owning large heavy publications that doesn't always fit in with my occasionally nomadic lifestyle. I've read through parts of Watchmaking by George Daniels in a book store, back in the early-00s, and it was obviously written with passion. Daniels likely intended the work to inspire those who already have formal training and professional experience in watchmaking to push their field further, especially in mechanical technology development.

    So, a casual enthusiast like myself was unlikely this book's intended audience. I feel that I lack the prerequisite to fully appreciate the work, and from my standpoint, cannot even imagine the kind of appreciation that I would have, had I the necessary background knowledge and experience. As is, I am a blunt tool, and blunt tools are not suited to dissecting the work that is George Daniels' Watchmaking.

    I have not read The Wristwatch Handbook: A Complete Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches by Ryan Schmidt, but browsing over it online, this book does seem to have people like us in mind. From first impression, it seems like the author is making good attempts at bringing horology to the more mainstream reader in a practical sense. I would definitely like to read more.

    A final thought is that, in my personal view, horology is very much a dynamic visual and kinesthetic field. Even when you are reading words, studying diagrams and illustrations, it doesn't make much sense if you don't imagine them "moving". In that sense, video presentations are, I feel, a much more intuitive means of learning, at the expense of some details of course. 99% of the intended audience will likely prefer video.

    For those starting out, I point them to these on YouTube...











    Once one has these basic understanding, there are a number of excellent video on YouTube of movement servicing, often with explanation. Personally, I learn more from watching watchmakers at work, cleaning, repairing, then I do from books. The most valuable asset that one can develop as a casual enthusiast, though, is a relationship with one's watchmaker. Find a good one--a knowledgeable, skilled, experienced, and honest one, who is helpful and supportive of your learning--and keep him.
    Last edited by Don; 07-01-21, 15:03.
    On the instruments we entrust to pace our lives, to bear witness to our days, and to be the keepers of the most precious thing we have... time.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Don View Post
      Sorry, Kronos. I must have missed this post. Good question, and it sounds to me like you're actually seeking a book on horology, as opposed to watch collecting/appreciation. For the latter, there are heaps of books on the market, but for the former, there seem to be few books written for the casual enthusiast, fewer still written in the English language......
      Thanks very much, Don. As usual, your reply is so very helpful. The videos were fantastic and I learnt quite a lot in a short span of time. I completely agree with your assessment of George Daniel's Watchmaking. A brilliant book, although highly technical. I felt it was more like one of those engineering texts that I have studied. And watchmaking is engineering. I tried my best to read the Watchmaking but eventually understood that I wouldn't be able to grasp everything (or some of the sections didn't interest me enough to read the entire book) that has been mentioned in the book. Particularly, the turning, hand tools, equipment etc. Nevertheless, I did read the more "interesting" sections like escapement, casemaking, movement design, mainsprings etc. As you rightly said, this is a seminal book for those interested in watchmaking or for professionals.

      After going through Watchmaking, I realised that I by saying "books", I might have meant something a little more toned-down approach. Not just watch collecting/appreciation, but also to know a bit more about the history, watch movements etc. I will get the book by Schmidt. Any book suggestions on watch collecting/appreciation would be much appreciated.

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      • #4
        I'm only just starting out my journey understanding how watches tick

        I've recently been gifted a vintage Timex Electric so I'm trying to understand a bit more about pre-quartz electrics. This was an a collection of ebooks/PDFs mostly focused on USA models explaining the then "new fangled" electrics to watchmakers, in case it's useful: http://www.ehorology.com/ebooks/

        I will follow this thread with interest. I'm looking forward to finding some more reading material.

        Slade.

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