A Man & His Watch review

I bought the Kindle version of this book some time ago and read over a few nights before getting some much needed sleep. It is not a long book by any means and it is obviously not intended to keep you engrossed for hours on end, but it achieves everything it should do and much more for anyone who has a passion for the stories behind a watch.

If you have a healthy interest in watches you will know what I mean when I talk about the story because in many cases this is what makes a watch special and what drives the industry at the higher end. A watch brand has to have a story behind it to succeed at selling its products for what is obviously more than the material worth of the collected components. If you can add a story to an individual timepiece the value goes up even more because, well, just because.

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It is hard to explain for someone who does not value watches and even harder to justify in a way that makes any logical sense. However, think about watches that are passed down as heirlooms and which some treasure more than any other object. I check the time on my father’s Bulova Deep Sea and I think of him every time I do this. I wonder how a particular scratch occurred or how the hour markers came to have the patina they do. No matter what part of the watch I consider, he wore it and small parts of his life exist in the way the watch has aged which makes it unique, and now I am repeating the process.

Watches have a life that other objects are not capable of sustaining. They have depth and they house part of the soul of the previous owner within them. It sounds fanciful, but to some of us that actually happens and that is what this book is about.

So, I had read the Kindle version and still decided to purchase the hardback. Why?

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Well, that question was answered when it dropped through my letterbox, or rather the Amazon delivery man left it on my doorstep for anyone to steal.

Fortunately my daughter found it and within seconds I knew that the below £20 asking price was extremely low for such a well made book, especially one about watches. In this genre books tend to be as overpriced as many watches are, but here we have a book that you can pick up now and then for a quick two minute read of a personal story or one that you can relax and enjoy for extended periods. Or, you can simply gaze at the wonderfully intense photography that captures the past life of each timepiece to perfection. This kind of photography is far from easy, but it is consistent throughout the book and yet still manages to accentuate the individual personality of each model.

At times it feels like an art project designed to display aged watches in all their glory and at others it feels like a set of mini-biographies, but above all else it serves as a perfect introduction for anyone with a minor interest in watches or for those who cannot understand why some of us find them so fascinating.

This book has balance unlike most others. The relatively short length perfectly matches the photography and the length of each personal story, and we end up with a one of a kind publication which I hope will be part one of at least two or possibly even more. Whatever you interest level in horology, buy this book. Just buy it.

Available here.

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