Chasing Time is a book written by an experienced watch collector, who highlights vintage watches that have gone through his hands being a collector and dealer.
This book, written by Alistair Gibbons, takes you on a journey of being a watch collector (and dealer). Many different watches – including those from unknown brands – are being described in detail and most of all, what makes them so special. It is not just a book that lists (vintage) watches and their specifications, no, Alistair made sure to make it a worthwhile read by adding some very interesting facts about these watches. It also gives an insight into the mindset of a collector, showing the things that matter most when buying (or selling) a vintage watch.
It is interesting to see how different a seasoned collector like Gibbons works compared to those who are rather ‘quick & dirty’ on the ‘gram these days, it almost has a scientific approach. Background information comes from old brochures, books and by talking to brands and other collectors, all well documented in Chasing Time. It reads like a log book from a serious collector, which it certainly is.
Even if you are not specifically hunting down the vintage watches that are in Gibbon’s book, the well-written descriptions will inspire you to look at watches in a different way. Have more eye for its historical significance, or to appreciate a certain movement a bit more. This book contains mainly chronograph watches, famous ones, like the Navitimer, Speedmaster and Carrera for example, but you will also find little treasures like the valjoux 72 powered Baylor Speedway or an Aquastar Deepstar with valjoux 23.
Reading his book (and I did not read all of it yet), I was mainly amazed by the level of detail that he uses to describe each and every watch (brand). Even with very niche watches, like the Memosail Regatta from 1978, Alistair has interesting facts to share about a specific historical event (the America 3 that won the America’s Cup in 1992 that was sponsored by Memosail), the movement (a Valjoux 7737 and how to operate it during the yachting competition) or the founders of the company (apparently watchmakers that were also into sailing).
Author Alistair Gibbons has a professional background in the film industry, trained as a special effects editor. Mechanical watch collecting became his passion in the 1990s and when it also found its way to the internet, Alistar started his website ATGVintageWatches which he still runs today. He offers fully restored and serviced watches in collector’s condition from very interesting brands. This book represents over 25 years of watch collecting.
About the book itself: It is a hardcover edition with 21 x 2.5 x 24.1 cm dimensions. I found myself carrying it back and forth between home and my office, as I was going through it for this book review. The size is perfect, especially when you like to take it with you (holidays, friends etc.). You can immediately see that Alistair has a background in film and has been part of the online watch community for quite a while, as the pictures are of great quality. Nowadays, that’s hardly a topic anymore (although…), but considering the fact that this book also describes watches that he had a long time ago, the photos are all amazingly good and suitable for use in a book like this.
So, for who is this book? Some might say this book is for someone who knows about watches already, as it talks about movements, details and certain brands. But I beg to differ, this book is perfect for those who just started collecting watches or becoming a watch enthusiast, it just requires some extra effort in getting familiar with some of the discontinued brands and the used (discontinued) movements from Valjoux, Venus, Lémania and so on. Becoming, or being, a watch collector means you are a student (again) and will be as long as you are into this passion. This book is perfect study material.
Chasing Time contains 240 pages of vintage watch knowledge and can be purchased via Amazon for just GBP24.
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