We love reading and learning about all sorts of new and vintage wristwatches. If you share this interest, we recommend the following resources:
Swiss Timepiece Makers, 1775 - 1975 by Kathleen Pritchard
A must-have reference for serious watch collectors and dedicated students of horological history. Two encyclopedic volumes list approximately two thousand Swiss-based watch and clock makers, covering a two-hundred-year period.
Vintage Wristwatches by Reyne Haines
With more than 1,000 impressive color images of some of the finest wristwatches in the world, this beautiful volume offers a combination of the art, history and collectible aspects of these intricate wonders. While values are given for all watches, lush photography complemented by vintage watch ads throughout make this book much more than a price guide. Because of the volume of watches produced over the years, there is something to fit any collector's taste and pocketbook.
Wristwatches: History of a Century's Development by Helmut Kahlert, Richard Muhe and Gisbert Brunner
This German classic documents the development of the mechanical wristwatch from its first appearance around 1850 through the late 20th century. The authors present the history of and give prices for a variety of watches, including chronographs, watches with calendars and alarms, moon-phase indicators, military and aviation watches, and a smattering of electric and quartz models. Both men's and women's styles are included, and there is advice on collecting and preserving antique watches, a glossary of terms and a translator's note defining the differences between European and English horology terms.
Automatic Wristwatches from Switzerland: Self-Winding Wristwatches by Heinz Hampel
On the outside the automatic wristwatch is like its counterpart, but once the case is opened a different world appears. Here 200 watches are shown, each with three photos to show the dial, and the complete and partly disassembled movement. The book introduces all the Swiss manufacturers and provides an historical overview of the development of automatic watches from 1926 to 1978, as well as information on the functioning mechanism and construction of each design.
Wristwatch Annual 2011: The Catalog of Producers, Prices, Models, and Specifications by Peter Braun
Each year brings hundreds of new wristwatch designs, with aesthetic and mechanical changes and improvements, limited edition watches, and new producers, keeping this field exciting for collectors. This watch industry classic features over 1,400 of the world’s most luxurious wristwatches and provides color photographs and complete specifications for each watch. The book is arranged alphabetically by producer, and within each producer’s section are specifications and materials for each watch, including price, movement, special features, complications, case, dial, band, and available variations of a particular model. A glossary and pronunciation guide help acclimate the reader to the world of fine timepieces.
Chronograph Wristwatches: To Stop Time by Gerd-R. Lang and Reinhard Meis
Wrist chronographs are mechanical wristwatches that, in addition to their normal clockwork, have a mechanism that allows them to time short-term events. They are one of the most popular collecting areas in the broad spectrum of wristwatches. This outstanding identification book deals with the dial of the chronograph and all the indications that can possibly be read from it. A technical section shows the historical development of the chronograph mechanism.
American Wristwatches: Five Decades of Style and Design by Edward Faber, Stewart Unger and Ettagale Blauer
Introduced into a skeptical American marketplace early in the twentieth century, the wristwatch soon caught the consumer's imagination. It was not long before American watch manufacturers adopted the form and brought their ingenuity and creativity to bear on the style and design of the wristwatch. Fifty years of innovation and beauty follow, and this beautiful book brings you the story in word and picture. Design periods are defined and the watches they engendered are amply illustrated, giving the reader knowledge that is valuable, both for the appreciation and the collecting of these wristwatches.
Collectible Wristwatches by Rene Pannier
Whether a cherished heirloom or state-of-the-art design, sensible or frivolous, the watches people wear are often expressions of their personalities. Watches have long been desirable collector's items, as some of the vintage models in this book show. Collectible Wristwatches features over 500 color photographs of watches, from rare and valuable early models to recent designer creations, from deep sea diver's watches to those worn by aviators. Whether you are a novice or the proud owner of a series of beautiful watches, this book is the perfect source of new ideas for what to look for next for your collection.
Russian Wristwatches: Pocket Watches, Stop Watches, Deck Watches & Marine Chronometers by Juri Levenberg
Twentieth-century Russian wristwatches are becoming extremely popular. Watch faces commemorate all the great moments of Russian and Soviet history-from Yuri Gagarin's space flight to the Summit meeting between Gorbachev and George Bush-and celebrate Russian culture with images of native costumes from Chechnya to the Ukraine. This book provides photographs of over 500 watches manufactured in Russia and the USSR during the second half of this century, and explanations of their styles, workings, and manufacturers. Poljot, Wostok, and Slava wristwatches are covered, along with a sampling of pocket watches, deck watches, and marine chronometers. This book is a must for serious collectors in the growing field of Russian timekeepers.
The Alarm Wristwatch: The History of an Undervalued Feature by Michael Horlbeck
Finally, alarm wristwatches are recognized for their mechanical ingenuity and the beauty of their design. This book traces the development of mechanical wristwatches with an acoustic alarm function, one of the first wristwatch complications. In addition to the external design of the watch, special attention is paid to the movements and how their creators solved the multitude of challenges that confronted them. Nearly every model ever produced is chronicled. Companies include Eterna, Omega, Bruguet, Bulova, Citizen, Corum, Cyma, Jaeger-Le Coultre, Lemania, Pierce, Poljot, Ronda, Seiko, Venus, Vulcain, and Wittnauer, and many more.
Watch Band Glossary of Terms
316L: Low-carbon stainless steel, commonly used for jewelry and watches. Won’t oxidize or turn black.
Ballistic nylon: Thick, tough fabric originally developed for use in flak jackets for WWII airmen and other troops serving in combat areas. Intended to deflect shrapnel and other flying debris; thus the name 'ballistic.'
Band: Generic term for any piece of leather, fabric, metal, rubber or plastic that holds a watch in place on the wrist.
Bracelet: Watch band comprised of metal links and clasp.
Bund: Abbreviation of ‘Bundeswehr,’ German for ‘Federal Defence Force.’
Caliper: Gauge that measures the size of a watch case, lugs, strap or other component.
Carbon fiber: Lightweight material with an extremely high strength-to-weight ratio.
Deployant/Deployment: Folding clasp mechanism with hinged extenders that secures the ends of a strap or bracelet.
Diver Watch: Watch designed for underwater diving that features a minimum water resistance of 100 meters.
G10: Name of the form used by the British Ministry of Defence to requisition watch straps and other military items from inventory.
General Service Corps: A corps of the British Army. In the film ‘Goldfinger,’ James Bond wears a watch strap featuring the regimental colors of the GSC.
GT: From the Italian phrase ‘gran turismo,’ referring to the tradition of the grand tour, in a high-performance luxury automobile designed for long-distance, high-speed driving in comfort and style.
Keepers: Rings or loops that control excess length on a watch strap.
Lugs: Extensions on both sides of the case, to which the watch bracelet or strap is attached with spring bars.
MoD: Acronym for the British Ministry of Defence, which designed the original NATO watch strap.
NATO strap: Two-piece ballistic nylon strap with sewn-in-place metal keepers, designed for military use to the specifications of Britain’s MoD. Originally identified by a NATO Stock Number (NSN), the only color choice was Admiralty Grey.
Open-end strap: Strap with open flaps at each end that wrap around the fixed wire lugs of vintage trench and other wristwatches.
PVD: Physical vapor deposition, the process by which layers of a tough, durable coating are applied to the hardware of a watch strap for increased resistance to wear and discoloration.
Rally: A form of auto racing that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. The 1950s were the Golden Age of the long-distance road rally.
Spring bar: Spring-loaded metal bar mounted between the lugs of a watch case, to which the strap or bracelet is attached.
Strap: Watch band comprised of leather, fabric, rubber or plastic – anything other than metal.
Tropic: Original waterproof dive watch strap (often perforated), Swiss-made and dating to the 1960s.
UTC: Official name for what is known in military, nautical and aviation fields as Zulu time. Essentially Greenwich Mean Time, this 24-hour system is the world standard.
Wire lug watch: Also known as a ‘fixed lug’ watch. Fixed loops of wire are soldered to the case; one-piece straps are pulled through the lugs, two-piece open-ended straps are wrapped around them.