Whether you are already a hardcore watch nerd or new to the world of watchmaking, our best guess is that you appreciate quality and attention to detail. And while there are many excellent guides and vlogs online, it’s something else to have a book in your hands. Keep reading for our best recommendations for books on timepieces, watchmaking as well as their talented makers or lucky owners.
The Fascination For Classic Timepieces and Watchmaking
There are many reasons why classic watches have become one of the most popular investments. From craftsmanship and amazing detail to fascinating stories and historic importance, watches are filled with memories from the past while still playing a role in the present and future. Classic timepieces made centuries ago continue to inspire new designs and learning about their origin, their role in history, or the technology is a joy we fully understand and share with fellow watch enthusiasts.
A Book to Unwind
The Internet has given us great options to find communities and connect with like-minded fans. Our favorite blogs and vlogs are filled with passion and knowledge and we wouldn’t be without them! However, there’s still something immensely valuable about printed reference material where you get the full research, references, and rich illustrations. To get you inspired, we have selected the 8 best books on everything from watch storytelling, vintage and rare timepieces as well as the mechanics and the art of watchmaking. Find your favorite book below and all you need next is a comfortable chair and a quiet place. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Article contains affiliate links*
Like Reading Great Stories About Watches and Their Owners?
Published in 2017
‘A Man & His Watch’ is an entertaining book filled with iconic watches and heartfelt stories about the men who wore them. You can look forward to reading about Paul Newman who wore his Rolex Daytona every single day for 35 years until his death in 2008. The iconic timepiece is probably the single most sought-after watch in the world.
Today it’s in the possession of Newman’s daughter Clea, who wears it every day in his memory. The book is written by watch collector Matthew Hranek who has traveled the world to collect the never-before-told stories of 76 watches. The 216 pages (hardcover) are complimented with stunning original photographs of every timepiece.
Like Reading About Mechanical Timepieces?
‘The Wristwatch Handbook’ is exactly what it says on the cover: a comprehensive guide to mechanical wristwatches. Both the novice and an experienced watch enthusiast will love this guide. You get detailed descriptions of mechanical watch movements from over 90 different manufacturers. What we really like about this book are the many great photographs – a total of 470 color images to show you the details and explain how it works.
After reading the first section of the book, you’ll have an understanding of mechanical movements including power, transmission, distribution, and regulation. Section two focuses on complications (or functions) and gives you the opportunity to explore them in modern horology (the scientific study of time). In other words, you’ll be a mechanical watch wizard after completing this 352 pages hardcover book!
Published in 2016
Like Reading About Vintage Timepieces?
‘Chasing Time’ is the perfect choice if you are already fascinated with vintage watches. Author Alistair Thomas Gibbons is a watch collector himself, owns a vintage watch forum, and also sells restored vintage watches. In his book, he passes on knowledge and insights from the world of vintage watch collecting. You will get a range of photographs, but our favorite part is the intricate research and accessible reference material. This is something that you can return to when researching a special model – and an element that we guess will intrigue both the casual and avid watch enthusiast.
You will see the world’s most interesting, luxurious, and functional 20th-century (1930–1980) mechanical timepieces ever to be produced. The 240 pages hardcover book includes Heuer’s Autavia, Rolex’s Submariner, Gallet’s MultiChron, Zenith’s De Luca, the Universal Space Compax, and many more…
Published in 2018
Like Reading About Retro Watches?
With ‘Retro Watches: The Modern Collectors’ Guide’ you can actually judge a book by its cover! Here, you will get a fully illustrated guide with the most intriguing, visually striking, and out-there watch designs from little-known but influential watch brands, along with overlooked but brilliant pieces from the major players. The authors have reviewed over one hundred watch models and each of the features is photographed specifically for the book and accompanied by accessible, informative texts.
We particularly like how the authors are discussing the watch’s design, history, and features; it’s a great way to get more perspectives on a certain design. Furthermore, the 256 hardcover book also gives input on the cultural and fashion history of watch design and insights on the many innovations of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. This is especially for the watch lover who prefers wearing something that stands out from the crowd.
Published in 2020
Like Reading About Fine Watchmaking?
“The Magic of Watches” is a highly interesting book that dives into the fascinating elements of fine watchmaking. You’ll get explanations as to why these little objects are so precious, fascinating, and exciting. The author also gives advice on how to make a good choice and even discusses what makes a beautiful watch. One of the reasons we recommend this book is its love for paradoxes and detailed explanations. For instance, the author explains why a one-million-dollar watch might be less precise and more fragile than one that costs 15 dollars.
You also get great historic insights from the beginning of watchmaking to today’s wristwatches. The 232 pages hardcover book is written by freelance journalist Louis Nardin who has extensive experience in the world of fine watchmaking. A great book if you want to focus on the detail, understand watches, and become even more fascinated with fine watchmaking.
Published in 2019
Like Reading About Rare Watches?
The book ‘Rare Watches’ lets you explore nothing less than the world’s most exquisite timepieces. In the 240 pages hardcover book with slipcase, you get detailed information about more than 50 of the rarest watches in the world. This includes unique examples of which only a single model exists and watches that have set records in auction houses.
Our favorite part is of course the watches with a unique history. To mention a few; the iconic models worn by figures such as Elvis Presley and James Bond. The book is a great choice for professionals, collectors, and amateurs alike. It’s published in collaboration with high-end auction houses and watch manufacturers while the photography is organized in collaboration with Christie’s auction house.
Published in 2019
Like Reading About Legendary Timepieces?
‘Legendary Wristwatches: From Audemars Piguet to Zenith’ is an intro guide with valuations of the world’s most legendary wristwatches. You get short descriptions of each watch and more than 200 finely detailed photographs that showcase the beautiful and fascinating fashion in wristwatch style from 1879 to the modern era. Author Stefan Muser is the owner and director of the internationally renowned auction house Auktionen Dr. Crott in Mannheim, Germany, and specializes in high-quality pocket watches, wall clocks, and wristwatches.
We particularly like the description of the most legendary models from every era and the variety of brands from Omega, Patek Philippe, Breitling, Longines, Cartier, Rolex, Vacheron & Constantin, Ulysse Nardin, Orlys, Vulcain, IWC, and Movado. The 192 hardcover book is easy to read and gives a nice overview – for more detailed descriptions you should go for another book on this list.
Published in 2015
Like Reading About Independent Watchmakers?
‘Independent Watchmakers’ is a great book specializing in high-quality watches from independent makers. Some pieces one-of-a-kind and some never appearing in print before. In other words, this is a book for the watchmaking enthusiast who is not into the big brands but appreciates design over the price tag. You will get insights on 60 high-quality watches from independent makers ranging from affordable to luxurious. The book is written by Steve Huyton, a passionate watch enthusiast. He has also developed his own label that crafts unique timepieces in close collaboration with clients and architects.
Our favorite part is the insights to ateliers that handcraft both the watches and their complicated mechanical movements in-house. You will be blown away by the expertise and craftsmanship showcased in the 240 pages of the hardcover book – and discover hidden gems of the watchmaking business. Among the 60 independent artisans are Hajime Asaoka, Felix Baumgartner (Urwerk), Aaron Becsei, Konstantin Chaykin and Bernhard Lederer (BLU).
Published in 2019
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- 8 Books About Watches & Watchmaking
*Products in our Buyer’s Guide section are carefully chosen and we recommend only the best for our loyal audience. Bear in mind that this article contains affiliate links and if you purchase via our links – Old News Club will earn a commission.