REVIEW: Derek Pratt (Memorial Book) by T.Treffry{Ed.} et al.

Discussion in 'Horological Books' started by Todd W, Dec 31, 2012.

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  1. Todd W

    Todd W Registered User

    Mar 6, 2004
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    I just received my copy of the book that the BHI published of the proceedings of the memorial seminar for Derek Pratt. If your interested in watchmaking at the highest level you should get a copy of this book. Derek was a watchmaker at the level of a George Daniels but not as well known. His specialty was remontoires he made a series of tourbillion pocket watches in the 1980's and 1990's that had remontoires on the escapements and was working on a remontoire wrist watch at the time of his death as well as making another Harrison H4.

    While I can't write a proper review I hope what I have written here makes you aware what a fine book this is and a good read.




     
  2. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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

    Aug 25, 2000
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    Re: Derek Pratt Memorial Book

    A proper review is in the works, as my copy must have left Upton Hall in the same shipment and arrived at my place Saturday
     
  3. Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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

    Aug 25, 2000
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    Re: Derek Pratt Memorial Book

    Homage to a ‘WATCHMAKER’ in the real sense of the word

    Derek Pratt FBHI, Watchmaker – Proceedings of a Memorial Seminar, Edited by Timothy Treffry, contributions by Derek Pratt, Richard Thomas, Andrew Crisford, Roger Stevenson, Helmut Crott, Stewart Lesemann, Anthony Randall, Jenny Haller Pratt, Allan Midleton, Philip Whyte, Jonathan Betts and Derek Goldsmith. Published 2012 by the British Horological Institute, Upton, United Kingdom. ISBN 978 0 9509621 9 1. Hardcover, 205 pages. Numerous pictures, majority in color. Available for UKP 30 plus (significant) postage only directly from the publisher, contact maxine@bhi.co.uk for details.

    Nowadays all too often we forget that in the past somebody who called himself a ‘watchmaker’ was not only a person who repaired watches, but had the ability to make a watch from scratch. That expectation rapidly disappeared once watches were produced on an industrial scale (starting with Waltham after the middle of the 19[SUP]th[/SUP] century). Initially the top watchmaking schools still produced craftsman capable of making all parts but by the middle of the 20[SUP]th[/SUP] century that tradition was disappearing as well. The most famous individual steering against this tide was George Daniels (1926-2011) of London, who has inspired a whole new generation of creative individual watchmakers. While Daniels was a genius, both in mechanical skills and as a promoter, there were others following a similar path out of the limelight. One of the best, but virtually unknown to the wider public, was the Englishman Derek Pratt (1938-2009) whose life and oeuvre is memorialized in the book under review. Settling permanently in Switzerland in 1965 he eventually found his niche in designing and making unusual and complicated watches for a discriminating clientele which included both making one-of-a-kind pieces individual collectors, as well as developing prototypes for some high-grade Swiss brands.

    His professional life was memorialized during a full day seminar held on September 18[SUP]th[/SUP] 2011 at the British Homological Institute in Upton, United Kingdom. A dozen horological luminaries presented papers, and some of his works were exhibited. The book under review is the printed version of this event.

    The majority of contributions are illustrated, descriptive articles on specific one-of-a-kind watches designed and built by the honoree, plus the prototype for his gravity escapement water clock that graces the village square of Lauterbach in Switzerland (His widow presented the prototype to the BHI museum on occasion of the seminar). In addition the book contains a summary of the keynote lecture by Jonathan Betts on the history of the Marine Chronometer, as well as the reproduction of some Workshop Notes by Pratt. An important component of the book are the reproductions of 20 articles on horology by or about Derek published over the years in the Horological Journal and in the Model Engineer; they take up about 60% of the pages.

    This limited edition book should appeal to enthusiasts of complicated unusual watches and/or making one-of-a-kind timekeepers and the BHI deserves credit for once again publishing an important watch book that is unlikely to be a commercial bestseller.

    Fortunat Mueller-Maerki
    Sussex NJ
    January 2, 2013
     
  4. John Weigel

    John Weigel Registered User

    Apr 17, 2005
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    Re: Derek Pratt Memorial Book

    Thanks for the review. No response from BHI! Is it still the New Year's Doldrums? John Weigel, holding my breath...
     
  5. Keith H

    Keith H Registered User

    May 18, 2004
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    Re: Derek Pratt Memorial Book

    Hi,
    I spoke to Maxine at the BHI today (15th Jan 2013) and she has now received copies from the second printing from the publisher. I suggest anyone interested contact Upton Hall http://www.bhi.co.uk/contact-us to obtain a copy or two while they are still available. The first print run sold out immediately.
     

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