There are books and there are BOOKS. Patek Philippe Watches Volumes I and II, made by the Patek Philippe Museum, belong to the second category. These ‘must have’ volumes for Patek aficionados weigh a respectable 6.4kg and measures approximately 295x260x85mm. Definitely something you can put as an art object on your table – and certainly a read that will teach you one thing or two about Patek Philippe, to say the least.
Purpose of the book
The book essentially is a catalogue describing the collection of Patek Philippe timepieces on display in the Patek Philippe Museum. The museum pays homage to the craftsmanship of the watchmakers of yesterday and today. The main purpose of the book is to “inspire the young people of the present and the future and to encourage horological vocations and promote the progress of haute horology” (citation, Mister Philippe Stern).
Content of Volume I
Volume I includes three parts. First, an introduction to the protagonists of the company: Antoine Norbert de Patek, Francois Czapek and Jean Adrien Philippe. The second part covers approximately 110 pages and describes the pocket watches without horological complications: early watches from 1839-1842, watches made for specific markets or companies, theme-related watches (nature, religion, objects incorporating), watches made for royalty, and other types. The third part covers approximately 270 pages and describes the pocket watches with horological complications, including repeaters, independent seconds, time zones, calendars, chronographs, double/triple/grand complications, sonneries, and singing birds. It covers the period between 1839 and 2000.
Content of Volume II
While Volume I focuses on pocket watches only, volume II expands into wristwatches and clocks. Volume II starts with pocket and deck chronometers, art nouveau and art deco specialties as well as watches made for Brazilian retailers Gondolo & Labouriau and industrialists James Ward Packard and Henry Graves Jr. Wristwatches are grouped into wristwatches without and with complications (chronographs, spilt seconds, calendar, perpetual, repeaters). Special sections have been included for prototypes, enamel and engraving, the calatrava cross, and commemorative watches.
How to use this book?
Most likely, you will use this book as a reference guide when you want to learn more about a specific model. Or when you want to learn more about a specific type of watch, such as chronographs or repeaters made by Patek Philippe. This is not a book that you will read as a story before going to sleep. The book has a clear structure: for each type of watch a photo of the case and dial, a photo of the movement, and a description of reference, complications, numbers, sizes and rarity. For example, this is written about the ‘wristwatch with triple date in apertures’ at page 281: “this watch is one of approximately thirty pieces purchased from Niton, Geneva, in the late 1930s. The ebauches of these watches’ movements were numbered and later finished by Patek Philippe. While certain of the cases were used, others were not, and their movements were given new cases”.
The book is very useful if you want to learn more about a Patek Philippe watch you hear about or when you want to compare the dial with a watch you see on auction or when you want to do some research into watches made by Patek. The literature references help you to find even more information. Things that we miss are tables with cross-references between reference numbers and calibres as well as an index to quickly find the page that includes a description of a specific reference number. The latter is not a big deal if you know what type of watch the reference number refers to.
Buy the book if you love Patek Philippe and/or would like to do some research into Patek Philippe watches and are willing to spend Sfr. 660. If you are looking for a tabletop book that complements your design table and want to impress your visitors in the office or at home, this book could be something. And if you can get it for free, don’t hesitate and make sure you get it! Ps. This will happen soon on Monochrome, as this book will be the subject of our next 10th anniversary give-away… Yes, dreams come true.
This is a link where you can find more information about the book:
You can order the book here: https://www.patek.com/en/company/library/order