A New Book Highlights Rare Watches and Thirty Years of European Watch Company

Being a watch collector sometimes means acquiring many other things that are tangentially related to the hobby. We talk about this stuff all the time on Worn & Wound. It’s not just the watch “stuff” that you’d expect, either. Things like straps, storage, and tools of course will naturally accumulate as a collection grows, but there are seemingly endless additional rabbit holes one can fall down that in one way or another support a watch collecting habit. Anyone who has been to a Windup event (or any large watch meetup for that matter) has surely noticed all of the collectors with nice cameras slung over their shoulders. You have to document these things somehow, right? And the bounds of enthusiasm stretch to things like sneakers, apparel, writing instruments, and EDC related gear, all areas we’ve explored in these pages, and all areas that have embraced watch collectors and that watch collectors, in turn, have welcomed. And then there are the books. Certainly many in this community have built libraries of watch reference volumes over the years. There are many to choose from, and some offer rare glimpses of watches with beautiful photography that gets you as close as you can to a dream watch short of owning it. 

Last week saw the release of a new volume that borrows on three decades of tradition and knowledge for a book that is packed with information on some of the rarest watches. The Connoisseur’s Guide to Fine Timepieces is inspired by the life’s work of Albert and Joshua Ganjei, the founder and CEO, respectively, of European Watch Company, the legendary independent watch shop based in Boston, MA. For years, European Watch Company has been a major resource for collectors interested in, well, just about any kind of watch you can imagine. Their website is filled with listings for watches by Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet, but there’s a lot more to EWC than the hottest sellers of any given moment. You don’t stay in business, let alone grow at the pace of EWC, trading on hype. 


Something that became clear at a launch party for the book in New York City last week where Joshua Ganjei and Alex Assouline spoke is that the business is born out of a genuine love for these objects, and a commitment to offering the highest possible level of service to clients. The book is a reflection of that enthusiasm and expertise, and features a selection of watches that are less commonly seen than your run of the mill Rolex sports watches. Among the rare watches featured in the book that have passed through the European Watch Company doors are an F. P. Journe Tourbillon Souverain with a red dial released for the Chinese market in 2010, and an original military issued Tornek Rayville TR900.

As a New Englander who can proudly call European Watch Company something akin to a hometown watch shop, it’s exciting to see them behind a project like this. Their website, for many of us, has to be one of the most frequently viewed on a daily basis, as their online inventory is ever changing and constantly being updated. It’s fun to scroll through and find new stuff in the mix, and every once in a while something truly bonkers comes in. The cover watch on the new book, for instance: a Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon. Or the incredibly rare yellow gold Omega Seamaster Skeleton, released for the 50th anniversary of the Seamaster, seen below.

The book itself is a significant piece of work, and the quality of the package will be familiar to anyone who has handled an Assouline volume in the past. If you haven’t, you can expect an extremely high quality binding with colorful, lifelike images throughout. It’s also quite heavy, and the book is housed in a beautiful and robust slip case. Clearly it’s meant to last as long as the watches that are covered inside. This is a large coffee table style book, measuring 11 x 14 inches and coming in at over 300 pages. The retail price is $195, and it’s available at the Assouline website and at Assouline retail stores. It’s also available directly from European Watch Company.

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Zach is a native of New Hampshire, and he has been interested in watches since the age of 13, when he walked into Macy’s and bought a gaudy, quartz, two-tone Citizen chronograph with his hard earned Bar Mitzvah money. It was lost in a move years ago, but he continues to hunt for a similar piece on eBay. Zach loves a wide variety of watches, but leans toward classic designs and proportions that have stood the test of time. He is currently obsessed with Grand Seiko.