Considering the number of magazines devoted to this wonderful category, you’d think half the population was infected with watchitis. If, like me, you absorb these publications every month, then dwell on another article on worn&wound. I need not preach to the converted. But, if you haven’t discovered what treasures await on the magazine racks, or if you occasionally peruse a few titles, read on.
Almost anything you want to know about watches — from the latest models on the market, to the inner workings of a minute repeater – you’ll find richly detailed in these magazines. You’re going to salivate over International Watch, Watch Time, Watch World, Watch Journal, Watch Around, QP and more. Unfortunately, they’re all so enticing that it’s a tough decision determining which to read.
That’s why I don’t subscribe to a single one. (I should, however, pick up a subscription to Watch Around. More on that later.) First of all, when choosing which magazine(s) to read, don’t be seduced by the front cover. Usually, hot new market entries are depicted, and the same watch will almost invariably be covered by all the magazines. Instead, peruse the table of contents and find what interests you the most. After a while, you’ll learn that most of the magazines may appear the same, but all have their own distinct personalities. Get to know them. It’s fun.
Now, I don’t possess ESP, but I can read what you’re thinking. My answer to your inner mumblings is “Yes, the magazines do, of course, have web sites.” All I can say is, for once, put away your computer. Sure, it’s the only way to read the blogs and forums and scour watch sites. Leave it at that, and discover the old-fashioned pleasure of curling up with a magazine.
What I’m going to do now is briefly highlight a few articles from a small selection of magazines currently on the newsstand. I’m staying painfully current because I don’t want to lead you to something that will momentarily vanish.
On rare occasions, the rarest of all the magazines appears at my local Barnes and Noble. Luckily, I snatched up a copy just two days ago. So I’m glad to begin my first worn&wound magazine review with this spectacular issue. The magazine is Watch Around, the one I previously mentioned that I should subscribe to. Watch Around, which is only published two or three times a year, is totally different from all its competitors.
For starters, all the other publications clutter their covers with large photographs of the latest market entries as well as tons of headlines in competing colors and type fonts. For a refreshing change, Watch Around is starkly clean, featuring only one item, usually a movement or part there of. Yes, there are no headlines.
In this case, you CAN judge a book by its cover because it’s just as different editorially. You won’t find articles on watches simply because they’re pretty, but more likely because they have a pretty incredible movement. The magazine focuses on the technical aspects of modern and historical watches and clocks, and offers unique opinions on the subject of time itself.
Within the Spring-Summer 2012 issue you’ll find simply fascinating articles covering a mind-blowing range of topics: how 3D printing will change the world of watches, and not for the better; a startling new type of gold developed by Hublot; a comprehensive history of baguette shaped movements; high-frequency movements from TAG Heuer, Montblanc and De Bethune; the making of the Ikepod hourglass; an intimate look at the heirs of Abraham-Louis Breguet and their amazing non-horological achievements; the history of resonance from Janvier to Journe; and lots more.
It would be impossible to recommend any of the articles. They’re all fascinating and thought provoking. So just do what I do and read it from cover to cover. Period. You’ll be a better watch person for it.
I also picked up the April 2012 issue of International Watch (iW) and was not at all disappointed. As one of the very first watch magazines on the market, iW has evolved over the years to become a very respectable read. They cover the gamut, but, unfortunately, like all their brethren, they tend to focus on the luxury end of the market. Well, I may never own one of these, but they’re a joy to read about, and the new technologies they employ are fascinating, to say the least.
Recently, iW underwent an art direction revolution, and their covers feature bold watch photos enhanced by selective spot varnishing. The covers come to life, and with this issue, a magnificent Girard-Perregaux minute repeater leaps out and kicks you in the teeth. The article featuring this watch and other GPs is informative.
I would also recommend the following articles:
A lengthy, richly detailed expose on this January’s SIHH (Salon International De La Haute Horlogerie) show in Geneva. Learn about all the mouth-watering watches from the manufacturers that participated at this show of shows. Imagine actually being there.
The GTE (Geneva Time Exhibition), which runs concurrently with the SIHH, showcases highly specialized, very limited production watches from some of the most obscure, independent watchmakers. Read about iW‘s coverage of this scintillating exhibition.
Of course, iW was firmly entrenched at Basel World, which is an annual religious event for every watch believer on the planet. Their article displays a wide selection of the latest watches (photos and descriptions) from a very wide selection of brands. I didn’t know what to look at first. This is dangerous grail territory, my fellow watch addicts. You’ll see everything from Doxa’s latest diver to an obscenely outrageous Harry Winston Tourbillon.
The IW guide to watches with manufacture movements. (For those not in the know, a manufacture movement is a movement made in-house for serialized production.) Thirty two great watches are depicted and explained in this heart-wrenching article. You’ll see everything from a “dirt cheap” $4700. TAG Heuer to a $365,000 Greubel Forsey.
If you haven’t had a meltdown by now, read IW’s UPDATES & DEBUTS section. Yeah….more spectacular watches illustrated and explained. Take a close, loving look at the Journe Octa and the Heritage Viator.
I’ve only scratched the surface of this intimidating issue. Also read about collecting Rolex “tool” watches; the history of tank watches; an intimate look at the newest UTS diver (I’m smitten); and lots more.
While you’re out browsing the newsstands, the April issue of WatchTime might still be available. You’ll know it right away by the cover: a huge shot of a Rolex Submariner. That’s reason enough to covet this issue. As you may have surmised, the watch is thoroughly reviewed by their editorial staff, as well as by a professional diver. But that’s not all, folks. They show and detail the specs of all 8 Submariners on the market. Turn the page and, brace yourselves, they tell and illustrate the history of the Submariner – from the luminaries who wore one, including Fidel Castro, to the monster that descended 3,131.8 meters strapped to the Bathyscape. The article may give you the bends.
Of course, as with IW, WatchTime provides a complete review of the Geneva shows – over 25 pages to be exact. Now, let’s travel to Japan for a very informative article on Seiko’s Grand mechanicals. These are watches you should know about.
Also, check out the article on pilots’ watches, Chanel ceramics, a stunning new Hublot and gobs more. There are even non-watch articles on the new Lexus GS 350, the Conklin Crescent pen, Irish whiskeys, and fine cigars.
One more magazine to look for if it hasn’t been removed from the shelves is Issue Fifty Two of qp. It’s filled with watches you’ll probably see nowhere else. And it’s really well written.
What to look for? An informative article on the new Schofield watch and its designer/owner Giles Ellis. The MB&F Legacy Machine (Smitten again). The English watchmakers of the 18th and 19th centuries. A close look at NOMOS. Piaget Dragon watches. But don’t stop there; the issue has lots more to offer.
by John Weiss