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p. 35 David Ramsey; oval gilt-brass verge watch with alarm.
p. 37 Jean Vallier; clock-watch with calendar and alarm.
p. 43 David Bouget; gold and enamel caseed watch. London, 1650
p. 47 Jean Baptiste Duboule; silver cased verge coach watch with hour striking, calendar and alarm. c 1650
p. 34 David Ramsey; oval gilt-brass verge watch with alarm.
p. 36 Jean Vallier; clock-watch with calendar and alarm.
p. 42 David Bouget; gold and enamel caseed watch. London, 1650
p. 46 Jean Baptiste Duboule; silver cased verge coach watch with hour striking, calendar and alarm. c 1650
The History of Watches
Text by David Thompson
Photographs by Saul Peckham


Size: 9 5/8 x 9 5/8", 
Cloth, 176 pages
250 illustrations in full color
Published 2008
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0918-4
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$45.00

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Showcasing the incomparable collection of watches at the British Museum, this volume is a unique history of watches as timepieces and as works of art.

"The History of Watches ... is a colorful and enlightening tour of the superb British Museum collection of rare timepieces ... Illustrations as precise as the inner workings of the watchworks themselves offer a dazzling display of gold repousse cases, exquisite enameling, engraving and fretwork, as well as presenting the various technical innovations and variations." -- Copley News Service

"A visually stunning, highly informative, authoritative overview." -- The Midwest Book Review

The British Museum’s collection of watches is unsurpassed anywhere in the world. With examples ranging from sixteenth-century early stack freed watches (the first with built-in mechanisms to prevent them from running faster as their mainsprings wound down) to decorative watches of the seventeenth century, from precision made chronometers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to mass-produced watches of the modern era, the collection follows the complete history of the watch through an incredible 500 years.

Strikingly illustrated with 250 color images, this authoritative compendium presents that history with a range and depth unequaled by any other book. All the major makers of Europe and America are represented in its pages, many with multiple examples. Here you will find gems from the London workshops of Thomas Tompion, whose reputation stretched far and wide even in his own time; samples from the craftsmanship of Swiss-born Abraham Louis Breguet, who supplied the finest and costliest watches to the crown heads and aristocratic families of the Western world; and many other exquisite masterworks. Saul Peckham’s photography captures every finely-wrought detail, from the ornamentation of faces to the precision and intricacy of gears. An essential volume for horologists, collectors, and aficionados alike, The History of Watches will take you on a fascinating journey through time as recorded by the world’s most illustrious timepieces.

David Thompson is Curator of the Horological Collections in the Department of Prehistory & Europe at the British Museum. He studied clock and watch making at Hackney College in East London from 1977 to 1979, and is a Fellow of the British Horological Institute as well as a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society. Saul Peckham has been a photographer for the British Museum for twenty years. His subjects have included everything from monolithic stone sculptures to the secret signatures of the watchmaker Breguet. He was previously the photographer for David Thompson’s volume Clocks.

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