Rare Horology Books are a Must for Any Watch Lover
Sometimes, for the truly impassioned watch collector, acquiring an assortment of beautiful timepieces doesn’t fully scratch the itch of conquest. So instead, a parallel pursuit—a side quest, if you will—must also be undertaken. This is the search for some of the most divine, vitally important, and rare horology books of history.
Of course, laying claim to these printed intimate insights into watchmaking history also paves the way for identifying further time-telling treasures to seek out. When the pages before you provide a bountiful insight into every delight created by—for example—Rolex, Tudor, or Cartier, one certainly has the means to gaze and dream of prizes previously unknown.
Understanding the need to quell the watch-lovers’ thirst, here, we have compiled some of the most exquisite horology books for your perusal. With a sense of which watchmaker and brand ignites your horological interests the most, you can choose for yourself which of these precious pages are worthy of the hunt, and which might reveal an intricate glimpse into the world of watchmaking that truly satisfies.
Universal Watch Geneve by Pietro Giuliano Sala
In 2010, impassioned collector and horology aficionado Pietro Giuliano Sala introduced a masterpiece to the world. His book, Universal Watch Geneve, is dedicated specifically to Universal Geneve complications and explores the cutting-edge workshop timepieces that earned the label its prestigious “Manufacture” title.
The book, which was published in Italian, English, and French, features more than two hundred different models, with roughly 1000 original photographs—many of which feature timepieces from the author’s own extraordinary collection—accompanied by hundreds from Universal’s black and white archives.
White Cartier Bianco by Osvaldo Patrizzi
Beneath the entrancing burgundy cover of White Cartier Bianco lies a deliciously detailed chronicle of each of the white gold models this iconic luxury brand has ever released. Passionately curated and compiled by Osvaldo Patrizzi and produced by Antiquorum Editions, this book offers up to 568 pages of fascinating insight into white gold editions of the Pasha, Tank, Carré, Crash watch, and more.
Each timepiece can be examined thanks to 255 large color photo illustrations and smaller supporting images—catering most courteously to those who must see every intricacy. Osvaldo Patrizzi, the founder of Antiquorum, offers his watch books in three languages—Italian, English, and French.
100 Superlative Rolex Watches by John Goldberger
The infamous John Goldberger—known for having built one of the world’s most esteemed rare watch collections—brings us his take on the 100 finest Rolex watches ever made. Drawing upon decades spent trawling for horological gold within the world’s auction houses, watch shops, flea markets, and conventions, Goldberger presents 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, with tantalizing details on the production and features of each.
Alongside selecting his favorites, Goldberger also expertly demonstrates the innovation and evolution of Rolex from many of the earliest models to those closer to the book’s publication in 2008—enhancing the reader’s journey with more than 600 color illustrations and every watch collector’s need-to-knows, such as references, calibers, and movements. Long out of print, 100 Superlative Rolex Watches, is certainly one of the harder rare horology books to find.
Breguet (1747 – 1823) by Sir David Lionel Salomons
Stepping back in time, we discover a compiled guide to the majestic creations of Breguet that was published circa 1921. Limited to an edition of only 1000 copies, Breguet (1747 – 1823) serves as a gorgeous vehicle for time travel, transporting us back as we explore the pocket watches and clocks produced by the brand between 1747 and 1823.
Sir David Salomons was an English Member of Parliament, a scientist, a philanthropist, and the first director of the City of London Electric Lighting Company. But more notably for those of us who share his passion, he was also the greatest Breguet collector of his time and a renowned horological historian. In this elegant tome, Salomons provides the curious with over 150 photographic reproductions, thoughtful descriptions, and depiction of the front and movements of each model created during his chosen time-frame by this iconic French watchmaker.
Rolex Jubilee Vade Mecum by Rolex
Now, turning our attention to not only a single book but rather a set, we discover the Rolex Jubilee Vade Mecum. Released circa 1946 in an edition of 1000 copies, this exceptionally enticing and colorful collection of four books came in a matching slipcover. The charming multi-piece publication is comprised of the titles: Step By Step, The Evolution of the Wrist-Watch Chronometer, How The Waterproof Watch Came Into Being, and The Story Of The Self-Winding Watch.
Each book within the set, as well as the slipcover itself, features a vibrant color, decorated with a diamond pattern and the repeated Rolex crown motif. Within lies illustrations of the brand’s wristwatches and pocket watches, accompanied by descriptions of the brand’s history as well as that of its founder Hans Wilsdorf.
Tudor Anthology by Alberto Isnardi
In the final of the limited-edition publications featured on our horological wish list, we turn to Rolex’s sister brand, Tudor. While Alberto Isnardi’s Tudor Anthology shares its number of editions with the aforementioned historical publications—once again, only 1000 were produced—it also brings us firmly back into the 21st century, having been published in 2013.
Within this large luxury edition, we find a deep-dive analysis of Tudor’s complete production since the brand’s inception in 1936. Providing every last scrap of detail that a watch collector on a quest might hope to have at their disposal, this is undoubtedly an excellent guide for anyone with an affection for tracking down Tudor timepieces.
Thrillingly, this is the very same author as the Alberto Isnardi behind The Master of Omega Speedmaster Flightmaster Speedsonic and the much-beloved Omega Seamaster Vintage, which was also limited to an edition of 1000 copies and signed by the author. So, with that in mind, it’s safe to say that those getting lost within the pages of this book place themselves in very safe hands.
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