Deep breath. And remember, this my opinion.
OK. I got my book and spent a couple of hours reading it. As a review of the literature, it works pretty well. He does a good job of describing the different markets pursued by the Swiss as an industry and Waltham. He accurately describes the Swiss reception of the David report and explains how Longines benefitted from what was learned. He also describes the importance and focus on the Swiss watchmaking schools and their focus on creating watch engineers.
But to my mind the author relied on marketing sensationalization and it seems his biases impact the writing tone.
For example, while the marketing materials imply that the Swiss killed Waltham, the author concludes precisely what Moore concluded--that Waltham died a natural death complicated by severe mismanagement. (pp. 214-216)
He then admits that the marketing claim of exposing the 146-year-old secret (David report) is a ruse by acknowledging the academic work done beginning in 1987 and Watkin's translation.
As for David as a spy: the author sez that David's first visit to Waltham (incognito) was so short and limited that it yielded little of value (p. 110) and that he probably got more detailed info on an official tour (which Waltham did on a regular basis). He then uses the modern sense of "recruiting informants" when in fact these were likely specifically developed contacts. There is nothing nefarious in this, we do it (networking) and it has always been a requirement of a Foreign Service Officer.
I believe today we call much of this open source information that can be gleaned by reading at the library.
And as we all know, it was very common for companies to hire away talent from other companies for their knowledge ala Elgin hiring the five stars.
I think the story would have been better served with more neutral language that simply described who David knew and the information he was able to develop (insider financial information in particular).
The author is focused on Waltham, but at times he seems to confuse Waltham with the entire American Watchmaking Industry (Elgin, Illinois, Hampden, Lancaster, Howard, Hamilton, Rockford, South Bend, etc). (pg 215)
Interestingly, his concluding paragraph (p. 215) states "In a historical sense, Waltham failed so miserably that most people have no idea that America ever had a watch industry, much less an innovative, dominant, and progressive company." A little over the top, like the marketing.
So, as far as what is presented, I view it as summaries of two very loosely related stories. The story of Waltham, and here he does provide material not included in Moore. The other story is of the Swiss reception of the David report. But I see no strong connection between the business decision that resulted in Waltham's demise and the David report. Indeed, this seems to be the conclusion of the author himself.
So I am somewhat confused as to the author's intent.
IF this work was intended to analyze the different outcomes of the American and Swiss watchmaking industries, I do think there is an important discussion missing.
Any discussion of the Swiss industry vs the American industry should examine what happened during WWII. While the Swiss did dump jeweled wws in the US during WWII while failing to export strategic timepieces (the UK smuggled in LeCoutre clocks and even a Wild photo interpretation machine via diplomatic pouch), it was WAR production that clapped out the American watchmaking factories. It was good condition Swiss factories against clapped out American factories.
But there is no discussion of the lack of a US govt response to help the industry recover. This highlights the difference between American business culture and European business culture.
Even had that assistance happened, the US watch industry was doomed once Timex came on the scene and then quartz. Even the Swiss thought the game was over with quartz. Then they all looked at what Rolex was doing.
In the US, the prowess of the American watchmakers was turned to the space program. Their experience with micromachining was critical. And, the space industry was more profitable, as were military contracts. So the US more or less bowed out of mass-produced mechanical watchmaking not as a result of competition, but because of better opportunities.
IMO, the book would have been helped by a deeper exploration of the way the Swiss govt, financial sector and industry coordinated their efforts to build the watch industry, and to contrast that with America's approach to business. The interested reader should get Donze's book on the Swiss Watch Industry.
Regarding references, it would have been more useful to have used standard reference format where the author relied on that information, then a bibliography. Chapter footnotes are kind of awkward and inflate the reference pages.
In summary, this book is essentially a literature review of two loosely related stories; that of Waltham as a business and the Swiss usage of the David report. But as the author concludes, Waltham was simply a poorly managed business. The David report was used to upgrade Swiss production, but this did not have a direct impact on Waltham's health. In fact, the author indicates the Swiss and Waltham competed at two different ends of the market.
However, the author does conflate the company of Waltham with the entire US watch industry. Finally, IMO, the sensationalism and tone of the overall writing interfere with this reader's ability to internalize what is written.