A little while ago, a copy of vintage watch collector Aashdin K. Billimoria’s new book landed on my desk. That name might ring a bell for you as he’s also the author of Nivada Grenchen Antarctic — The History of a Legend. And now he’s proudly presenting his book titled A Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Swiss Watches. It’s a book comprising 340+ pages with countless images of (vintage) watches.

Aashdin K. Billimoria

A Comprehensive Guide To Vintage Swiss Watches

This book, the author’s third publication on watches, will take you on a journey of discovery through vintage watches in all sorts of styles and covering a variety of themes. Of course, it’s impossible to cover every aspect of watch collecting or vintage watches. Nevertheless, this book guides you through many different topics. It touches on some on a surface level, while it tackles others in an incredibly in-depth way. What I thoroughly enjoyed about this book is that there’s no preference for specific brands. Consequently, it includes watches and brands I’d never seen or heard about.

I had the opportunity to ask the author some questions about him and his book just before this introduction.


Robert-Jan Broer: For those who don’t know you yet, can you tell us something about yourself and your passion for collecting vintage watches?

Aashdin K. Billimoria: I’ve been a full-time horologist, archivist, historian, and author for around three decades. I have been composing and designing my flagship book, A Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Swiss Watches, for more than four years. It is a unique publication encompassing 21 chapters on various topics and examining mid-range timepieces. I’m also the author of Nivada Grenchen Depthmaster — A True Diver’s Watch and Nivada Grenchen Antarctic — The History of a Legend. I research and study horology for a couple of hours per day. This has rendered me a veritable authority in the discipline. At the age of six, I began amassing timepieces, a passion in the family. My private collection is meticulously curated.

Nivada Antarctic-Diver

Combining my artistic and graphic design prowess, I have authored, designed, and printed this volume. Fratello, Timekeepers Club, MasterHorologer, Gemme Fashion, Chronographes.net, Neueuhren.de, GMT India, and numerous other online publications have featured me in a plethora of articles, in addition to the apogee of the watch industry, Europa Star.

For me, collecting vintage watches is a genuinely captivating and romantic pursuit. This encompasses a lot of reasons that leave a void in new timepieces. For instance, vintage watches offer historical significance, timeless design, craftsmanship, and much more. They provide a glimpse into the past and bring out a feeling of nostalgia. Each timepiece has a soul and a story to tell, thus making it more enigmatic. Unraveling your vintage watch’s provenance and historic trail can be a captivating and exciting journey, adding to its allure and mystique. Furthermore, vintage watches create a sense of connection and sentiment if they’re family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.

RJB: What makes a specific watch interesting to you?

AKB: The watch has to sing to me and bring a smile to my face when I look at it, whether it costs less than €100 or more than €1,000.

Jardur Bezelmaster with a Valjoux 72 movement

RJB: What are the three watches you could not live without?

AKB: This is a very tough question to answer, but here you go, in no particular order:

  1. Omega Speedmaster Professional 145.022-76 from 1976.
  2. Titoni Airmaster and Favre-Leuba Genève. I received them as gifts on the same day in 1979, when I was six. This duo began my journey into collecting vintage watches.
  3. Jardur Bezelmaster powered by Valjoux 72. This lesser-known aviation chronograph was an engineering marvel!

RJB: In this new book, you take readers on your journey of collecting vintage watches. What do you hope they will take away from it?

AKB: This book serves as a comprehensive guide for novice and experienced collectors, offering insights into the world of vintage watch collections rather than solely focusing on my journey. It also provides comprehensive information on the diverse facets of vintage watch collecting, including an in-depth exploration of the numerous varieties of vintage watches.

During my visits to bookstores, I saw that most books focused on timepieces primarily featured luxury brands that were out of reach for most people due to their exorbitant prices. Therefore, I have made a deliberate effort to mostly highlight midrange brands, many of which were forgotten during the Quartz Crisis. The third and fourth chapters provide a detailed account of the allure of collecting old watches and offer guidance on initiating your collection.

Upon completing the book, your perception of vintage timepieces will transform completely. Some of these include the affordability of owning valuable items, the availability of historically significant watches at reasonable prices, the overlooked craftsmanship of double-signed dials and etched crystals, and various other rarely spoken subjects.

RJB: You divided your book into specific sections (wrist alarms, presentation watches, skin divers, GMTs and world timers, chronographs, character watches, etc.). Why did you structure it this way?

AKB: Since the book is more of a guide than merely a collection of photographs of vintage watches, it was arranged into chapters. Each chapter’s description is well explained and supported by images to give the reader a comprehensive understanding of the subject. “Country-specific watches: Swiss brands with a stronghold in other countries and regions” is my favorite.

RJB: It is called A Comprehensive Guide to Vintage Swiss Watches, but you didn’t rule out mentioning several modern watches. How come?

AKB: There were a few chapters, such as “Reissues,” in which it was necessary to compare the contemporary reissue with its vintage equivalent. The three modern Omega Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award models, courtesy of yourself, are displayed together in the chapter on “Character Watches.” This reminds us that even though character watches are fun timepieces, Omega received the Silver Snoopy award for the Speedmaster’s accuracy in saving the lives of the astronauts on Apollo 13. These sweet and entertaining character watches were produced in response to a worthy and important cause. It would have been unfair to the chapter to exclude the aforementioned information.

RJB: Was it challenging to source images for your book? Did you get any cooperation from brands?

AKB: No. Thanks to friends like you, Roni Madhvani, Serge Millard, and José Pereztroika, it was not a challenge at all. I didn’t need any cooperation from the brands since most of the watches are from my collection.

RJB: This must be your most comprehensive title thus far. What will be next?

AKB: It certainly is! It took me four years to complete it. I’ve started writing a book on “vintage quirky watches.”

RJB: Why should watch enthusiasts buy your book?

AKB: Both novice and seasoned collectors can use this book as a thorough guide. It provides insights into the world of vintage watch collecting rather than focusing simply on my path within it. This source offers a comprehensive collection of information on the various aspects of vintage watch collecting, including an in-depth examination of the numerous vintage timepieces available.

The book covers subjects that have only been touched on infrequently in the past. Important midrange brands, many of which went bankrupt during the economic crisis, are brought to attention due to this approach. The book provides a thorough explanation of the thrill of collecting vintage watches. It also highlights the factors you must consider before buying one and provides direction on how to begin your collection. After reading this book, you will learn to see vintage watches from a new perspective and cherish them even more.


A Comprehensive Guide To Vintage Swiss Watches by Aashdin K. Billimoria is now available via his Instagram page. The book has forewords from Serge Maillard (Europa Star), José Pereztroika (also known as Perezcope), Roni Madhvani, and yours truly. The price of the book is €125.