What is prevalent with any passion is the desire to continuously learn more.
Certainly, our love of mechanical timepieces qualifies as a passion. And it’s obvious that others are equally addicted. So much so that the outcome of this collective interest is a plethora of information resources – books, magazines, blogs, Youtube channels, and websites. All devoted to timepieces.
This post is simply a review of, what I believe, to be some of the best resources available to you, the watch collector.
The Watch, and The Watch Thoroughly Revised by Gene Stone
Gene Stone covers – a brief history of timepieces; fifty brands; and a section on buying, collecting, and maintaining watches in The Watch Thoroughly Revised (available on Amazon.)
If you’re into first editions (I know, I have that passion also) you might try to pick up his first book, The Watch, probably available at AbeBooks or some other rare and out-of-print bookstore.
In addition to restructuring some of the fifty brands, Stone’s new edition expands on the buying, collecting, and maintaining section to include such insights like 10 models you need to know; 8 brands whose watches are less expensive than they look; 10 small independent brands to look out for; and 13 iconic vintage watches, etcetera.
Finally, there are a number of stories by individual collectors retelling how and why they got into collecting, as well as a horological dictionary.
All in all, a very interesting read and well worth buying as a cornerstone to your library.
A Man & His Watch by Matt Hranek
Timepieces are much more than who has the biggest, boldest watch collection. There is historical significance, both from the development of the timepiece itself and in the life of the person receiving or giving that timepiece.
Whether it’s a Timex, G-shock, or Patak Phillipe, the embedded memories are timeless – from Elvis Presley’s gift of a Corum to his longtime valet, bodyguard, and movie stand-in, to Sir Edmund Hillary’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual, to the vintage Elgin that continually reminds its young owner of his grandfather, there is this dual history that is honored in this book like nowhere else.
The Wristwatch Handbook: A comprehensive guide to mechanical wristwatches by Ryan Schmidt
Few books are as well researched, informative, and comprehensive as The Wristwatch Handbook by Ryan Schmidt. This massive tomb is 352 pages in large format and covers the basic principles of mechanical movements as well as an application of this understanding to a number of complications that exist today – a monopusher chronograph, the power reserve indicator, the moon phase etcetera – all with phenomenal photographs and examples. A massive effort that will serve throughout one’s horological experience.
You might want to Google the various top 10 and 20 etc. books on wristwatches. This is a subject that is not wanting in options.
A few mentions though, Miller’s Wristwatches – How to compare & value by Jonathan Scatchard (Amazon) is interesting in learning what to look for, specifically when purchasing vintage pieces. Finally, Prestigious Watches, edited by Sophie Ann Terrisse, which is probably out of print, has some interesting sections on watches no longer in production. Their coverage of Alain Silberstein (who looks like Salvador Dali and whose watches could have been created by Dali) is almost worth the price of finding and purchasing.
Cult Watches (available on Amazon) speaks to the specific timepiece of some thirty watch companies which have attained, according to Balfour “cult status.” He then goes on to discuss the history and significance of such pieces as Audemars Piquet’s Royal Oak, Blancpain’s Moon Phase, and Cartier’s Tank, etc.
WatchTime Magazine, probably one of the best know publications, which also offers a stellar blog.
Hodinkee Magazine, blog, and store has some of the best editorial writing available. You can indeed, sell watches, and provide excellent information for watch collectors and Hodinkee does this better than almost anyone.
My copy of the 2000 edition of the Wristwatch Annual lists the price of the Omega Seamaster Professional Diver in SS at $1,750. The core rate of inflation from 2000 to 2020 is 48.9% which means that an Omega Seamaster would cost $2,606 in 2020 due to inflation alone. Since the retail of a Seamaster is around $5,200, there has been substantial appreciation over and above inflation.
If only we could go back in time and shop…
Hodinkee, of course, also has a Youtube channel that corresponds with their blog and magazines. It’s hard to find a better source of information than Hodinkee. You’ll want to follow their channel.
Watchfinder & Co is an excellent channel with exceptional reviews and dialogues on a number of interesting watch topics. Although Watchfinder is a pre-owned watch specialist, this is a large concern and has excellent reviews and credibility.
One of the best Youtube channels is Teddy Baldassare. There are a ton of wristwatch channels but few do it as well as Teddy. For example, in a recent video, Teddy categorized the various types of watch collector groups – check off the boxes, one watch collector, diver fanatics, etc., and then recommend a watch or watches that would fit within a $1,000 purchase budget. There’s a difference between those that know what they’re doing and those who are just hustling watches. Teddy knows what he’s doing and does it with finesse.
A newer channel, but nonetheless steller is Jenni Elle. Jennie has a solid take on watches and is more than informative, interesting, and skilled in discussing timepieces, especially higher-end classic watches.
Another really entertaining channel, from a guy who owns a watch store and isn’t afraid to tell it like it is (yes Samatha, the watch business has its scams also) is Fredico Talks Watches – worth listening to.
Websites and blogs
As discussed above, all of the magazines also have Blogs that are extremely informative.
Watchuseek is another stunning blog that should be in your bookmarks.
Hodinkee, mentioned above, is a very well-written website with podcasts, videos, and shopping. This site has grown along with the growth in interest in mechanical timepieces. It has also grown because of excellent writing on a number of horological-related topics. You’ll be hardpressed to find anything better than Hodinkee.
Of course, magazines such as those mentioned above – QP, Watchtime also have rich blog-based websites.
A blog to watch is a great watch blog to which you need to add to your bookmarks.
Monochrome is yet another blog site to add to your list.
Finally, is your looking for vintage watches, you could go to a number of popular Internet sites but one, in particular, that should be explored is Adam Vintage. This is a find especially if you’re into military vintage.
Check out various watch manufacturer’s websites as they are always at the forefront of web presentation and information.
There are certainly a number of excellent resources to pursue your passion to learn more and more about collecting watches.
Whether they also sell watches or straps, the best ones will still provide excellent information and history with respect to watches. These are the companies you will want to pursue. Enjoy the journey.