BO0KREVIEW: Peeters and Beringen; Dutch Pocket Watches (2titles) - Holandse HorloGES

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Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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Sep 23, 2001
A thorough documentation of 16[SUP]th[/SUP] to 18[SUP]th[/SUP] century Dutch Pocket Watches

A Bookreview of two Dutch Titles recently submitted for publication in the Watch and Clock Journal

Holandse Horloges (in Dutch) by Cees Peeters (Text and most Photography). Published 2012 (but undated), by Museum van het Nederlandse Uurwerk, Zaandam NL. ISBN 978 90 74083 03 4; 327 pages, black fabric hardcover, dustjacket, 30cm x 24cm. multiple color illustrations on virtually every page, Available through [email protected] for about Euro 120 plus shipping.

Horloges van Nederlandse Uurwerkmakers, 17e- vroeg 19e eeuw
by John Beringen. Published 2012 Stichting Museum en Archief von Tijdmeetkunde. ISBN 978 90 818942 0 3; 90 pages, softcover, 29 cm x 21 cm, numerous color illistrations throughout. Available
through [email protected] for Euro 25plus shipping

Most antiquarian horologist have at least a basic understanding of the significant contributions of Dutch clockmakers to horological history, but few know much about historic Dutch watchmakers. The two new titles under review start to fill this gap. The only older title on the subject that I know of is: Spierdijks: Horloges en Horlogemakers (1984) which is long out of print. The two books , although different in their presentation style and format are after an ultimately identical goal, to document in print hereto mostly unpublished Netherlands made early pocket watches.

For the bigger book no costs were spared. It presents a total of 164 objects (1 pocketwatch case, 156 complete watches and 7 loose movements) dating from 1580 to 1786. Each object is shown in several high resolution photographs, typically at twice or more its actual size, with multiple images of cases, dials, movements and details. Few entries have less than 3 pictures, one has as many as 12; entries vary in length from 1 to 7 pages. The text description is relatively sparse and includes dimensions, history and special features. Many of the objects are owned by some of the most famous horological museums around the world, others are in private collections. A one paragraph English language summary of the descriptive text of each object can be found in the appendix. A biographical appendix provides background on the 104 covered masters. Name index and Bibliography.

The second book, softcover, with a quarter as many pages, is much more affordable, and presents 90 examples of historic Dutch made pocketwatches of the same era in a catalog section of 56 pages, i.e. either one or two watches per page, with 1 to 5 color pictures per entry. The catalog section has no narrative “text”, but presents the pertinent facts (including dimensions) in keyword format. It appears that there is minimal overlap in objects covered between the two books. The smaller book seems targeted to a more casual readership, who may not know yet much about pocket watch technology and history, because it starts with a well thought through 25 page historic and technical overview of pocket watch making. The majority of watches in this book are in the collection of the Gold, Siver and Clockmuseum in Schoonhoven (The Netherlands).

Both of these books are valuable additions to a so far underserved sector of horological history. Collectors and scholars of Dutch pocket horology are encouraged to add these two books to their reference libraries, as there is precious little else published on the subject.

Fortunat F. Mueller-Maerki, Sussex NJ January 2013


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