Author(s): Ryan Schmidt
Despite the functional obsolescence of the mechanical wristwatch (our phones and computers tell more accurate time) the early 21st Century has seen a boom in the development, production, and appreciation of all things horological. Whether it is presented to the collector as an alternative investment, as a feat of micro-mechanical technology, or as a showcase of artisanal mastery, the mechanical wristwatch has never possessed more forms, functions or facets than it does today. The Wristwatch Handbook is written from the epicentre of a renaissance, a place in time between the Quartz revolution and the rise of the smart device - where the mechanical wristwatch is the antidote to the microprocessor and the permanent buzz of your inbox. From the multi-axis tourbillion, to the split-second chronograph, to the sidereal sky chart, The Wristwatch Handbook covers it all and does so with more than 470 rich illustrations from over 90 of the World's leading brands.The book is separated into two sections. The first section provides the reader with a comprehensive understanding of the mechanical movement. Its chapters explore power, transmission, distribution and regulation illustrating the basic concepts before considering the innovation and complexity that takes place further toward the cutting edge. From the fifty-day power reserve, to the constant force mechanism, and the 1,000Hz mechanical escapement, section 1 will allow the reader to understand and appreciate what is happening beneath the dial of their watch. Section two allows the reader to take this understanding and apply it to the vast range of complications (functions) that exist in modern horology. Each chapter showcases a distinct category of complication. For example, the regatta timer, pulsometer, and monopusher chronograph join a host of others in a chapter entitled 'Recording Lapses of Time'; The power reserve indicator, dynamograph, and crown position indicator are featured in a chapter for 'Power and Performance Indication'; The moon phase indicator, annual calendar, and planetarium can be found in the 'Astronomical Complications' chapter. Once the functional categories are exhausted, the final three chapters explore whimsical complications that have little regard for practical function, novelty time indication, and the 'super-complicated' watch - a rare breed of timepiece that houses an intimidating host of complications featured throughout the book. Upon completion of The Wristwatch Handbook the reader will be able to identify even the most exotic complication from across the room, and be able to share their appreciation and understanding of what makes it so useful and compelling. The Wristwatch Handbook is "brand agnostic", using only those watches that most aptly illustrate the given subject-matter. As a consequence the book places equal emphasis on the classic and the cutting edge, on watches produced in large volume or exclusive runs, by industry-leading technology or at the hand of a master. In doing so the book provides an unparalleled range of watches from over 90 brands, allowing the reader to determine for themselves which brands, complications, and styles they will build their collection from.
This is not an average book about watches. 'Comprehensive' is an understatement. In fact, The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Watches, by Ryan Schmidt, makes the case that it is the definitive guide to analog timepieces. -- Geoff Nudelman The Manual, October 16, 2016 Many books focus on a single brand or even a single complication, while The Wristwatch Handbook aims to be as over- arching as possible. At 352 pages in large format, the handbook is a beautiful book, filled with captivating images and explanatory text which never gets too dry or too technical... The Wristwatch Handbook, $85 .00, published by ACC Art Books, is definitely worth consideration by anyone wanting to become serious about watches. Revolution Magazine A beautifully written and comprehensive overview of what goes into the making of a watch and what is available... Schmidt's thirst for knowledge shines in his excellent and truly comprehensive research. -- Elizabeth Doerr Quill&Pad Ryan Schmidt's monumental book takes you from the basic principles to the most complicated derivations of watchmaking and is designed to to be a map and compass for you own personal journey", without being cryptically elitist or pretentious. The Jewellery Editor At times it was a little maddening, but my absolute priority with the book was to deliver complex subject matter in an accessible yet accurate manner. It is one thing to gain a basic understanding of a complex topic, but to explain a complex topic in a basic manner you need to really understand it, and that sometimes meant going back to school in order to craft a single paragraph. aBlogtoWatch I have always had a fascination with watches and clocks. I have disassembled dozens of watches in an effort to understand their inner working and much to my dismay, my education about clockwork mechanisms is severely lacking. Discovering, The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Watches, by Ryan Schmidt, was one of the best treats of 2016. Nerd Rage News Whether looking for an understandable, yet informed, overview of watch movementsfrom the general to the specific, such as Roger Smith's Daniels Anniversary movement (below)or if you are desperately seeking insight into whether life can be lived without a Telemeter ('a key tool for calculating firing range'), Mr. Schmidt's brand agnostic" tome could be the place to find your answer. Wall Street Journal