It’s summer again. Time for barbecues, and, of course, hitting the beach to cool off. What would going to the shore be without a good book tucked in your bag along with the chips, beer and paddleball? In between baking in the sun, tossing a ball around and taking a dip in the ocean, you’ve got to have some easy reading but fun material. It’s a bonus when you actually learn something. We’ve come up with a good list for the horologically inclined.
1. A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch by Stacy Perman
If ever there was an epic battle in the watch world, this is it. Financial entrepreneur Henry Graves, Jr., and genius engineer and luxury car builder James Ward Packard were in an unofficial duel to own the most complicated watch. Though they never met, they closely followed each other’s movements down the rabbit hole of horology. In pursuit of the best of the best, Packard and Graves’s competition pushed Patek Philippe to find their best too, expanding the boundaries of what was possible.
2. A More Perfect Heaven by Dava Sobel
Dava Sobel has a thing for time and the universe. She makes the complex understandable through her blend of fact with down home good storytelling. She’s so entertaining you don’t even realize you’re learning history. Here she takes as her subject Nicolaus Copernicus, the man who dared question the Earth’s position as the center of the universe. His “crazy” idea formed the cornerstone for man’s understanding of the universe, leading to the Scientific Revolution. He kept his theory silent for 30 years, fearful of its reception—until a young intellectual named Rheticus came to visit the scientist. In this play, Sobel dramatizes and explores the relationship between mentor and student and what led Copernicus to finally break his silence.
3. All in Good Time: Reflections of a Watchmaker by George Daniels
George Daniels (August 19,1926 – October 21, 2011) is the man who singlehandedly put independent watchmaking on the map. Working during a time when the quartz crisis threatened to make traditional watchmaking extinct, Daniels flouted conventional wisdom and built every part of a watch, including screws, dials and hands. He sought guidance and inspiration from the halls of horologic history, in particular Breguet. Not only a gifted watchmaker Daniels also had a passion and enviable collection of antique Bentleys. In this memoir from the man himself, you get a window into his life and loves.
4. Watch Repair for Beginners: An Illustrated How-to-Guide for the Beginner Watch Repairer by Harold C. Kelly
Even if you aren’t going to make watchmaking your career, it’s good to know how your watch works. In this way you can troubleshoot and make competent decisions regarding whom to trust to repair your baby—and also know what it should cost. Besides, you’ll be able to impress your friends. If you’re really ambitious you can use your beach towel as a workbench and work on your watch in between sunbathing and surf sessions. Remember to bring along your loupe and tool kit.
5. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel
Yes, Dava Sobel appears twice because no list would be complete without the inclusion of her incredible novel about John Harrison’s epic journey to build and get credit for the first marine chronometer. A humble joiner, Harrison took on the problem of determining Longitude at sea, an essential measurement so sailors would know where they were going and avoid crashing and sinking. It’s a true David and Goliath story with Harrison going up against the greatest scientific minds of the century and fighting the Royal Society to claim his prize.
Leave a comment telling us your favorite watch book and be entered into our drawing to win an autographed copy of A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch by Stacy Perman