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The Wristwatch Handbook : A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches - Ryan Schmidt

The Wristwatch Handbook

A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches

Hardcover Published: 1st November 2016
ISBN: 9781851498291
Number Of Pages: 352

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'The Wristwatch Handbook' provides the reader with a comprehensive anatomy of the mechanical wristwatch; every conceivable function and form. It is the foundational text for the novice and the reference book for the seasoned enthusiast. Where other books about watches focus on advising the collector, on a single brand, or on a timeline of key historical figures and events, The Wristwatch Handbook takes a detailed look at mechanical wristwatch complications (functions) and leaves no stone unturned. The reader will gain the ability to identify a complicated watch from twenty paces and perform a top-to-bottom assessment of even the most exotic timepiece in a matter of seconds.

Despite the functional obsolescence of the mechanical wristwatch (our phones, computers, even microwaves tell more accurate time), there are more varieties of mechanical watches available than ever before. Today, innovation is no longer exclusively preoccupied with accuracy; pioneer manufacturers are also exploring friction reduction, anti-magnetism, scratch resistance, dial decoration, exotic materials and so on. Whether it be the use of butterfly marquetry on a dial, mounting five hands on the same central point, or building the entire watch case out of crystal, The Wristwatch Handbook covers it all; and takes the reader to a level of detail that does not only identify the function/form but also explains its applicationand even takes the time to ponder and indulge.

The book starts with an introduction to the core mechanisms, covers the functions and forms in the main body and concludes by zooming out from the minutia to the massive organism that is the watch industry, contextualising the manufacturing process, key brands, conglomerates and independents manufacturers. The Wristwatch Handbook is "brand agnostic" and places equal emphasis on vintage and cutting edge and as a consequence will remain relevant and be enjoyed for longer. The book is presented in an accessible, usefully illustrated and goodhumoured style throughout its almost 400 pages.

About the Author

Ryan Schmidt has spent over a decade cultivating his enthusiasm for mechanical wristwatches. Through his travels, scholarship, and endless curiosity he has amassed a network of industry insiders from brand CEOs, to watchmakers, journalists, auction specialists and fellow enthusiasts. A qualified management accountant with a diploma in law and a masters degree in human rights, Ryan has worked for a range of global corporations in both London and New York. He is currently a contributory writer for QuillandPad.com. Born in the United Kingdom to US parents, he currently lives with his family in New York. Ryan is a member of the Horological Society of New York and holds a certificate in watchmaking knowledge issued by the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

Industry Reviews

'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, is definitely worth consideration by anyone wanting to become serious about watches.' Revolution Magazine

'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

'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 movements - from the general to the specific, such as Roger Smith’s Daniels Anniversary movement - 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

Loads of technical information, fantastic photography


This is a weighty tome, and covers mechanical watches of every type, explaining them in great technical detail. The photography on every page is fabulous.





Covers a wide range of high horology brands. Amazing photos.

Brisbane Australia



4.5 2



Overview of a Watch Movement
Distribution and Regulation
Alternative Movements

Recording Lapses of Time
Diving and Nautical Complications
Power and Performance Indicators
Complications for the Explorer
Additional Time Zone Complications
Calendar Complications
Astronomical Complications
Chiming Complications
Novelty Indication
The Whimsical and Playful
Super-Complicated Watches

Technical Index
Brands Index

ISBN: 9781851498291
ISBN-10: 185149829X
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 1st November 2016
Publisher: ACC Art Books
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 29.0 x 24.5  x 3.4
Weight (kg): 1.56

Earn 138 Qantas Points
on this Book