Horology: the Art of Measuring Time

04Mar11

‘Horology’ is a Greek word meaning the study of time, and nowadays it’s basically the clever way to refer to all things watches and clocks. There is a huge worldwide community of horologists: watch fanatics who care not just about how a watch looks, but also about its history, workings and provenance.

Picture courtesy of antique-pocket-watch.com

When G and I go to watch fairs to buy vintage stock, we find them full of a wonderful mix of high-end watch aficionados and old men who, in spite of their big fingers and failing eyesight, like nothing more than to tinker with an interesting watch and get it going again. In some ways we align ourselves more with the second camp – we tend not to go buying Patek Philippes and Rolexes (although G is often very tempted!), rather the less valuable but handome and lovable old watches made by smaller brands.

Having said that, since we both got into collecting watches some years back we’ve learnt a huge amount about the history of timekeeping, the famous Swiss watch houses, the different types of movements and mechanisms inside a watch, and the things to look out for when buying. Horology is both a science and an art: you need to know what you are looking at to assess its quality and value, but you also need a good eye and your own sense of style to choose the watches that look and feel great.

We thought we’d share with you some of our favourite watch websites for those who want to know more…

http://vintagewatchbrands.com/ – excellent site with reviews of premium vintage watches

http://horologyzone.com/watch/watch-school/watch-history.html – nice potted watch history

http://www.bhi.co.uk/ – the British Horological Institute

http://www.qpmagazine.com/ – QP watch magazine about high-end watches, new designs etc

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