A Watchmaker's Library
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  1. #1
    Member dacattoo's Avatar
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    A Watchmaker's Library

    It occurs to me amateur watch repairers might benefit from and be unaware of some of the books professional watchmakers might have in their libraries. I am not suggesting three page book reports but a photo if possible and a sentence at least describing the tome would be helpful. I don't know where to begin as there are so many to choose from. Some technical, some historical and some that offer perspective. I think this is good stuff because it is the most important tool in the shop. No one ever died from too much edimication.

    I will start with a book you have seen me promote several times on the WUS forums because I believe it gives context and perspective on watchmaking historically. It also was made into a PBS movie. A relatively easy book to read and it is a riveting story. I actually was moved to go to London after reading it and see the "subjects" on display at the Maritime Museum. I dragged my wife along and it turned out to be the highlight of our trip.

    The book is Longitude written by the author Dava Sobel. Available in most bookstores often for a couple of bucks.

    This is the story of the quest for a watch capable of keeping time accurately enough by which to navigate the high seas. Up until this time sailing was dead reckoning. "Where ever the wind takes me" The story is captivating because the King Edward II has offered a Kings ransom to any man that can offer a watch accurate enough to determine longitude. The man that captures the Kings imagination is John Harrison, a carpenter.

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    Member ZuZuDaDDy's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    That is a great book and a very powerful story. It has a special place in my heart because I specialize in Marine chronometer restoration. I gave a talk at an NAWCC convention about John Harrison and the history behind navigation at sea some years ago. Nice first choice !!!!

    Like you said there are so many, I must have at least 150 books about watches. So here is one for the beginner.

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    Member dacattoo's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    I am guessing you have read Time Restored. A great followup to Longitude to those that have read Longitude already. So Zuzu, how about a contribution to the WUS library?
    Last edited by dacattoo; November 14th, 2013 at 17:07.

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    Member ZuZuDaDDy's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    Yes is have, Rupert Gould was a great man. Sorry I don't know what the WUS library is ? How does one contribute?

  5. #5
    Member dacattoo's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    Well, you and I just started it. Our two books are first contributions to a virtual WUS unofficial library. That would make you a charter member me thinks. Hopefully the library will be populated with many more books by our forum members.

    The Bulova school of Watchmaking. You know it wasn't long ago the school was going. This is an excellent starter place for beginning enthusiasts. It covers every basic in both theory and practice. And it can be found online and in used book stores. I understand at one time it was even reprinted. Easily digestible by most people. Mine has a history of the school (swimming pool and dormitories). The text book of the school. Good choice.

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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library


  7. #7
    Member dacattoo's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    Anybody contemplating working on a chronograph would be smart to consult this book first. Mssr. Humbert was an instructor of chronographs at the School in Watchmaking, Switzerland. This is not a brief over view but a detailed in depth look a various chronograph movements and their repair and adjustment. Lots of excellent drawings as well. Good choice.

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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    Quote Originally Posted by dacattoo View Post
    Anybody contemplating working on a chronograph would be smart to consult this book first. Mssr. Humbert was an instructor of chronographs at the School in Watchmaking, Switzerland. This is not a brief over view but a detailed in depth look a various chronograph movements and their repair and adjustment. Lots of excellent drawings as well. Good choice.
    I was rushing the kids to school, so I didn't have time for a blurb - yours will do, thanks

    Only other things to add, are:


    1. Not only was Bernhard Humbert a professor of complications, but he also wrote the defacto reference books Modern Calendar Watches, and Swiss Self-Winding Watches.
    2. He also was responsible for the design of the (Roamer) MST 420 and contributed to the design of the MST 436 (44 jewel) automatic movements.
    3. While enormously respected, he was simultaneously feared and hated by the majority of his students. I have this story first hand from one of his former students.
    Imbiton likes this.

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    Member radger's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    I also have these two books on Harrison, great reads.
    The BBC did a drama about Harrison which was based on David Sobels book, it starred
    Michael Gambon as John Harrison, worth watching.

    I was pleased to find this old 1910 catalogue on Ebay.
    It is massive with 456 pages, crammed with pics and prices of watchmakers tools and materials.









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  10. #10
    Member dacattoo's Avatar
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    Re: A Watchmaker's Library

    The Wide Awake Cat. Always fun to see how little watchmaking tools have changed. Wonder if I can order Rolex parts? Hmmm!

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