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Recommend Books on Watches

You can never learn too much about a subject. Even if you just have your grandfathers watch, I highly recommend buying a or two books on the subject. Many of the introductory books cost less than $30. You will appreciate your watch more and they can save you from making costly mistakes.

So, here is my short list of recommended books:

  • "Complete Price Guide to Watches" by Cooksey Shugart, Tom Engle and Richard Gilbert. New versions are released every year and it can be found at many local book stores. The 1999 edition is ISBN 1-57432-130-7 . If I was forced to have only one book, this would be it. It is the most complete and most accurate single book on watches that I know of. That being said, it is neither complete, nor is it error free. A good first word on the subject, but certainly not the final word.

    It contains about 100 pages of background information on watches, plus a glossary. The other 900 pages are filled with price information on watches, with lots of additional information mixed in.

    This book is available at many local book stores, and, of course, almost all of the online book stores.

    All books have errors, this one is often criticized as being full of errors. I think the complaints are overblown and, in part, a case of "sour grapes" because it has become so popular. There is a list of Known Errors in the Elgin section that will give you an idea of type types of errors you may find.

  • "New Collector's Guide to Pocket Watches" by Barry S. Goldberg. This is a short book, but geared more to the beginner than Shugart's "Complete Watches" book.

    You can obtain this book at Barry's website.

  • All the books at Heart of America Press.

    These books are primarily written by Roy Ehrhardt, but often in conjunction with other people such as Bill Meggers and George Townsend. For the most part, these books are excerpts and reprints of original source material, rather than distilled information and narratives. None of theses books are subsets or duplicates of others, so you should buy all that look remotely interesting. You get a quantity discount and you will end up buying most of them anyway.

    You can obtain these books at the Heart of America Press website.

    Like the "Complete Watches" book, there is a list of Known Errors in the Elgin book that will give you an idea of type types of errors you may find.

  • "Revolution in Time - Clocks and the Making of the Modern World" by David S. Landis ISBN 0-674-76800-0 (HB). A good book on how time keeping has changed, and how it changed the world.

    Paper back versions are available at amazon.com.uk and you can still find hard backs at places like abebooks.com and usbooks.com.

  • "American Watchmaking - A Technical History of the American Watch Industry 1850-1930" By Michael C Harrold. This was published as a supplement to the NAWCC Bulletin in 1984.

    I'm not sure if the NAWCC still sells copies, but you can frequently find it on places like eBay

While I'm not an expert, I believe the information on this page is correct. Please send suggestions and corrections to the webmaster.
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