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.
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 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.