BOOKREVIEW: Musée International d'Horlogerie,

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, Aug 31, 2002.

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  1. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
    1,486
    48
    48
    Male
    Horological Bibliographer -
    Sussex New Jersey USA
    Country Flag:
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    Bookreview

    By Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Musée International d'Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland)

    Catalogue of Selected Pieces
    By Catherine Cardinal & Jean-Michel Piguet


    English edition published 2002 by Institut l'homme et le temps, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), 28x20 cm, hardcover, 384 pages, ISBN 2-290088-10-1. Approx. $50. Available from the publisher, www.mih.ch or on loan from the NWCM lending library (Shelf Nr. BC100 Cha 2002).

    The Musée International d'Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) is commonly considered among the most comprehensive public collections on timekeeping anywhere in the world. For the horological enthusiast MIH by itself merits not only a detour, but a trip to Switzerland. But not everyone can do that, and since early 2002 - when they published their first scientific and comprehensive catalogue in English - there is an alternative to investing many days and many dollars in a visit.

    This hardcover book will not be taken for a "coffee table" book that focuses only on pretty pictures of clocks for casual browsing. For that it is too comprehensive, too factual, too "scientific". On 384 pages the reader is introduced to 449 items from the MIH collection, each illustrated with clear color photographs. Typically there are one to four photos per item, often including a picture of the movement, and close-ups of interesting details in movement or case. Each text entry accuratley describes both case and movement of the item, and adds provenance, exhibit history and bibliographic information. In some cases a two-page spread is dedicated to a single object, in other cases as many as four or five watches share a double page.

    The book has separate chapters for complicated clocks, regional clocks, decorative clocks, chronometers, non-mechanical timekeepers, and five chapters (by date) on watches. Even though the catalogue bills itself as "Selected Pieces", the book covers just about every major piece that is exhibited at MIH. Of course, there are comprehensive indeces of craftsmen, manufacturers, keywords etc.

    This book, however, goes far beyong only providing dry "reference material". In my opinion, the chosen format strikes a healthy and pleasant balance between being a scientific reference tool for the serious researcher, and offering a thoroughly enjoyable read to the serious horological amateur who cannot visit the MIH personally. It is a "must read" for any horologist preparing for a visit at MIH.

    The two authors, Ms. Cardinal, the recently retired Director and Curator of MIH, and Mr. Piguet, the Assistant Curator, know their subject well and have provided a most valuable addition to the horological literature. The book provides a model to be emulated by horological museums everywhere (including our National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia) which have not made the content of their collections available in printed format yet.



    ------------------
    FortunatMueller-Maerki
    NAWCC Life # 174
    Publisher of Horology - The Index, your horological Internet Portal
    http://horology.com
    your gateway to 3000 horological websites
    You can reach me at horology@horology.com

    [This message was edited by horology on November 20, 2003 at 10:51.]
     
  2. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki National Library Chair
    NAWCC Star Fellow NAWCC Life Member

    Aug 25, 2000
    1,486
    48
    48
    Male
    Horological Bibliographer -
    Sussex New Jersey USA
    Country Flag:
    Region Flag:
    review: Musée International d'Horlogerie,

    Bookreview

    By Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

    Musée International d'Horlogerie, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland)

    Catalogue of Selected Pieces
    By Catherine Cardinal & Jean-Michel Piguet


    English edition published 2002 by Institut l'homme et le temps, La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), 28x20 cm, hardcover, 384 pages, ISBN 2-290088-10-1. Approx. $50. Available from the publisher, www.mih.ch or on loan from the NWCM lending library (Shelf Nr. BC100 Cha 2002).

    The Musée International d'Horlogerie (MIH) in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland) is commonly considered among the most comprehensive public collections on timekeeping anywhere in the world. For the horological enthusiast MIH by itself merits not only a detour, but a trip to Switzerland. But not everyone can do that, and since early 2002 - when they published their first scientific and comprehensive catalogue in English - there is an alternative to investing many days and many dollars in a visit.

    This hardcover book will not be taken for a "coffee table" book that focuses only on pretty pictures of clocks for casual browsing. For that it is too comprehensive, too factual, too "scientific". On 384 pages the reader is introduced to 449 items from the MIH collection, each illustrated with clear color photographs. Typically there are one to four photos per item, often including a picture of the movement, and close-ups of interesting details in movement or case. Each text entry accuratley describes both case and movement of the item, and adds provenance, exhibit history and bibliographic information. In some cases a two-page spread is dedicated to a single object, in other cases as many as four or five watches share a double page.

    The book has separate chapters for complicated clocks, regional clocks, decorative clocks, chronometers, non-mechanical timekeepers, and five chapters (by date) on watches. Even though the catalogue bills itself as "Selected Pieces", the book covers just about every major piece that is exhibited at MIH. Of course, there are comprehensive indeces of craftsmen, manufacturers, keywords etc.

    This book, however, goes far beyong only providing dry "reference material". In my opinion, the chosen format strikes a healthy and pleasant balance between being a scientific reference tool for the serious researcher, and offering a thoroughly enjoyable read to the serious horological amateur who cannot visit the MIH personally. It is a "must read" for any horologist preparing for a visit at MIH.

    The two authors, Ms. Cardinal, the recently retired Director and Curator of MIH, and Mr. Piguet, the Assistant Curator, know their subject well and have provided a most valuable addition to the horological literature. The book provides a model to be emulated by horological museums everywhere (including our National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia) which have not made the content of their collections available in printed format yet.



    ------------------
    FortunatMueller-Maerki
    NAWCC Life # 174
    Publisher of Horology - The Index, your horological Internet Portal
    http://horology.com
    your gateway to 3000 horological websites
    You can reach me at horology@horology.com

    [This message was edited by horology on November 20, 2003 at 10:51.]
     

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