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Over the last few years, the world of fine timepieces has exploded in popularity, with more people than ever before being drawn into the complicated world of mechanical calibres and the rich community and culture that surrounds them. Of course, with new interests come new avenues to learn about the finer points of watches. With this in mind, we've put together some of the most interesting voices in watches at the moment — beyond the typical recommendations (yes, we're looking at you Watchmaking by George Daniels). From social media that never disappoints to actual books, here are some resources that will definitely teach you something.
Hands of Time: A Watchmakers History of Time by Rebecca Struthers
It's easy to get caught up in the details of watches — the reference numbers, the dial variations, production quantities and all the rest. But in this book, published a few months ago, Rebecca Struthers takes a longer view — looking at some 40,000 years of timekeeping in nearly 300 pages. From celestial timekeeping and sundials through to modern wristwatches and atomic timekeeping, Struthers takes us on a tour of the innovations and the impact timekeeping has had on the world. It should be noted that Struthers is a remarkably well-qualified guide; she holds a PhD in horology and is also an accomplished watchmaker and co-founder (with her husband Craig) of Struthers Watchmaking. What this means is that Struthers knows what she's talking about, and her grasp of both the social and historical context of watchmaking and the intricacies of engineering innovation over time really stand out.
The Magic of Watches: A Smart Introduction to Fine Watchmaking by Louis Nardin
This charming little book was first published in 2016 and does exactly what it promises — provides a clear, concise and almost clinical explanation of key concepts in fine watchmaking. The book breaks down key nomenclature and goes into detail about terms many take for granted. There are clear diagrams showing what things like dauphine hands look like, as well as outlines of the differences between different guilloché patterns. There are plain-language explanations of a wide range of complications, from chronographs to various types of striking watches. In 200-odd pages, Nardin manages to comprehensively encapsulate the joy of watchmaking for newcomers and provide a valuable reference tool for veterans.
@Tony_Traina on Instagram
Chicago-based Tony Traina shot to prominence with his popular 'Rescapement' newsletter, which specialised in deep dives on vintage watches with a dash of pop culture analysis. Rescapement hadn't been posted since 2022, when Traina was hired as an editor at Hodinkee. Over at Hodinkee, Traina typically covers the vintage beat, and anything written by him is typically worth a read. We've chosen to recommend his Instagram as it offers even more behind-the-scenes insights into what's cool in vintage, from obscure Cartier to chronographs you've probably never heard of before.
@LydiasWatches on Instagram
So far, we've been focussing on educational resources around watches themselves, but with Lydia Winters, we're switching gears a little — but still keeping it 100% about the timepieces. Winters is an American living in Sweden, a watch collector who happens to be an exceptional photographer, and anyone who's spent more than a minute on watch Instagram knows that the right photo can turn a good watch into something great. Of course, Winters' Instagram feed features some top-tier images, but what makes her account invaluable is that for each image, she provides a hand-annotated glimpse into what goes into getting the shot, from propping, framing and lighting. For an aspiring watch photographer, this is exactly what you need to get your collection Instagram-ready.
The Fourth Wheel on Substack, by Chris Hall
Newsletters have been enjoying something of a renaissance of late, cutting out some of the clutter of social media and getting right to the good stuff. Getting to the good stuff is exactly what Chris Hall does every week with the Fourth Wheel. Hall, a veteran of the UK-watch media scene, is currently the Senior Watch Editor at Mr Porter, but this newsletter lets him dig a little deeper, offering industry insight and the story behind the story. If you've ever wondered what people who work in the watch industry *really* think, The Fourth Wheel is a good place to find out.
Watches of Espionage
From James Bond's Omega to dive watches made for combat divers — watch brands (and buyers) love watches with a link (real or imagined) to the shadowy world of spies. Watches of Espionage is the place where regular folk get a glimpse behind the curtain into the world of squadron watches and operator timepieces. Started as an Instagram account by a former CIA Case Officer, WOE (as it's known) shows tool watches in their intended environment. Some recent articles have included a look at watch culture among US Navy SEALS and how the CIA uses timepieces to analyse foreign leaders.
As with every other category of media, there are a lot of great watch podcasts out there, from light-and-breezy pop culture pods to watch news wraps and niche-specific deep dives; you've just got to find what works. Significant Watches is a great place to start, though. A regular podcast hosted by a rotating roster of collectors and experts (including well-known dealer Eric Wind of Wind Vintage), Significant Watches covers a bit of everything but has a particular focus on vintage and independent watches, specifically the auction scene and the world of watch dealing. If you're looking to get a handle on the market from people who know what they're talking about, have a listen to Significant Watches.
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