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On the weekends you can find me curled up on the couch with a hot cup of coffee and the latest horological page-turner feeding my inner watch geek. The most recent horological book that has caught my interest is “Chronographs for Collectors” by Joël Pynson and Sébastien Chaulmontet. This hardcover book details over thirty important chronographs in chronological order, including crowd pleasers like the Omega Speedmaster, Rolex Daytona, and Breitling Navitimer to personal favorites like the Heuer Monaco or Universal Tri-Compax.
In the preface, Pynson and Chaulmontet disclose their admiration for chronographs and set the stage by explaining their motivation behind the book.
“This book has been born out of a passion for this watch which is like no other, and has a twofold mission,” they write. “Firstly, to introduce the chronograph classics, those watches whose design, technical skill and history characterize their period, and secondly to help the collector, because there is a high demand in the market of vintage watches and it is unwise to venture into that market without a minimum of knowledge.”
More than ten years of research, countless hours in museums, and trips around the world to visit with collectors are captured throughout the pages of this library-worthy book. All 232 pages expound on the history and significance of thirty chronographs as well as pay tribute to the watchmakers involved. Original pictures of the watches and movements, plus several of the corresponding advertisements particular to each watch, tie it all together and help us understand the complete picture. Additionally, each watch is reviewed in a section called Expert Opinion in which the authors share the particulars of the chronograph, pointing out which design aesthetics are perceived as valuable, limited editions or key traits to look for when at auction or hunting for a piece to add to your own collection. Also helpful is a legend for each of the chronographs identifying the level of technology involved in the watch, its rarity, and price – a handy reference to help understand the watches status and value.
Perusing the pages of “Chronographs for Collectors” delivers an abundance of well-researched facts for chronographs dating from 1913 with an Omega to 1984 with the Ebel QP.
Find out more about well-known chronographs or maybe even discover an unknown pearl like the Jet Graph from a now-defunct brand like the Enicar. This book may even inspire a wild hunt for a vintage chronograph.