BOOKREVIEW: Evans: Time, Time and Time again

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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BOOKREVIEW

Reminiscences on British Horology in the post World War II decades

Time, Time and Time again, by Geoffrey Evans. Published 2008 by Quinto Press, Vale of Glamorgan, UK ( www.quintopress.com ) ; hardback, dustjacket, 227 pages, 16x24cm; ISBN 973-1-905960-07-1, sparsely 18 plates, 20 b&w illustrations in the Appendix; Index. Text in English. Available at www.amazon.com for $16.50 or borrow from the Library & Research Center at the National Watch & Clock Museum.

Some horological books deeply impact me by blasting open entirely new areas of knowledge and insight; others I enjoy because they are amusing, entertaining or well crafted. Some books are extremely useful to me as information sources to be consulted again and again because they provide well organized facts on an important subject. And then there are books that I am glad they exist, because they provide the only permanent record on a relatively obscure corner of horological history. The book under review falls in the latter category.

The book consists of the autobiographical reminiscences of Geoffrey Evans, who was well positioned to observe British horology in the second half of the 20th century. The author, after coming of age during World War II, began his professional career as a Design Engineer in watch factory in Wales UK, rising to Chief Engineer of the Anglo-Celtic wrist watch factory in Ystradgynlais, Wales, putting him in a position to document more than three decades in a virtually unrecorded chapter in British horological history: The valiant, but eventually unsuccessful efforts to extend Britain’s period of horological glory into the age of mass production, which are described in the first 100 pages of the book under review (and in a 30 page technical appendix).

By the early 1980’s Evens had become the National Secretary of the ‘British Horological Institute BHI’, putting him at a central point of the efforts to maintain professional standards in the British horological trades at a time when formal horological education was collapsing. This soon also let to his involvement with the ‘British Watch and Clock Manufacturers Association BWCMA’ as their Secretary General. BWCMA merged with the ‘Watch and Clock Importers Association” to form the ‘British Horological Federation BHF’. After serving this trade group in parallel to his duties at BHI, Evans continued part time as Secretary General of BHF after his retirement from BHI in 1995 until 2005. Some 80 pages of the book recount episodes and encounters of the author while serving these professional and trade bodies. This again is a poorly documented sector of British horological history. While part of this sector makes for somewhat tedious reading this reader is glad that these facts are preserved in this book for future generations of horological historians.

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki. Sussex NJ November 30, 2008
 

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