• Upcoming updates
    Over the next couple of weeks we will be performing software updates on the forum. These will be completed in small steps as we upgrade individual software addons. You might occasionally see a maintenance message that will last a few minutes at most.

    If we anticipate an update will take more than a few minutes, we'll put up a notice with estimated time.

    Thank you!

A Grand Complication, the Book

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
7,578
1,995
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
I have begun to read



WhIle I am only about 1/3 through it I can already recommend it.

It begins with the final Time Museum auction and explains a lot of behind the scenes activity. I know some of the people involved and I thought I knew a lot of what was going on. Some of the people involved who I do not know, wrote books I have read.

It has a reasonable amount of horological explanation which so far is free of "howlers". It is largely a social history about the great collectors.



I have read the bio of James Ward Packard. It also has an extensive bio of Henry Graves.

I'll add more as I get further but don;t wait for me, as eBay often writes "Buy it Now".
 

zedric

NAWCC Member
Aug 8, 2012
2,156
553
113
Country
Region
I agree. It's an interesting read, not just for those with an interest in horology, but also as a story.
 

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
7,578
1,995
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
I finished the book and I wrote too soon. The book has numerous "Howlers"

I like the book but it's kind of fun to pick up on these.

Here are the ones I found:

The book credits Patek Philippe with inventing stem winding. I believe Breguet was first, Prest working for John Arnold was a early maker in the 1820's. Philippe came into the firm to take advantage of his invention with was stem setting without button or lever.

Similarly the book states several items that Patek Philippe invented minute repeating, they may have been first to put it into a wrist watch.

The description of marine, ship, striking is completely wrong.

In one instance the writer compared a rarity to a "Total Lunar eclipse" Total lunar eclipses are not common but a lot less re than total solar eclipses.

I noticed several omissions. According to her acknowledgements, she had nothing to do with the NAWCC or our library and its staff.

Breguet is never mentioned reasonable because neither Packard or Graves seems to have any interest in this form's products. Both are long dead so asking them is not feasible but a more informed author might have asked the very knowledgeable people interviewed about this.

These are more fun than serious defects in the book which I still recommend.

As a service to the author, we should post other errors are we find them, in the unlikely event that the author sees this.
 

PatH

NAWCC Fellow
NAWCC Member
Dec 5, 2014
2,984
2,583
113
Texas
Country
Region
I believe Breguet was first, Prest working for John Arnold was a early maker in the 1820's. Philippe came into the firm to take advantage of his invention with was stem setting without button or lever.
Not directly pertaining to the referenced book, but there is an interesting series of articles by Dr. Vaudrey Mercer that discusses classification of keyless winding mechanisms in The Horological Journal (BHI). There are 6 parts, beginning in the September 1984 issue, and ending in the January 1987 issue. The first installment states that the history of keyless mechanisms goes back to the 17th century. The articles are definitely worth a read if anyone is interested in keyless winding.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ethan Lipsig

John Matthews

NAWCC Member
Sep 22, 2015
4,224
2,332
113
France
Country
Region
There is a little more information on the Mercer articles here.

John
 
  • Like
Reactions: PatH

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
7,578
1,995
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
Back to the book. It mentions that Packard also bought at least one watch from Dent.

For unrelated reasons I revisited David Penny's reprint of Nicole Neilson's catalog. They sold most of their watches through Dent. The Neilson/Dent catalog showed a very complicated watch with star charts. This may have been the origin of the star chart Patek Philippe super complications.
 

Dr. Jon

Moderator
NAWCC Member
Dec 14, 2001
7,578
1,995
113
New Hampshire
Country
Region
I recalled another error. The books comments that one of I think Packards' watch was ununsual in that the ROman numeral dial ised IIII instread pof IV and this is very rare. Either I have a very strange collection and have seen a lot of odd clocks but in my experience the two versions show up almost equally.
 

Similar threads

Forum statistics

Threads
178,952
Messages
1,569,575
Members
54,025
Latest member
Lurch
Encyclopedia Pages
909
Total wiki contributions
3,088
Last edit
Swiss Fake by Kent