Labeled the “leading watch industry expert” by the Financial Times, Balfour brings his considerable expertise to this beautiful volume celebrating 30 of the world’s top-selling wristwatches. Accurate timepieces have always held prestige and value beyond that of simply telling time, a fact collectors have long appreciated. Naturally Rolex, Cartier and Breguet were included in this compilation but surprisingly, so was the ever trendy Swatch, don’t miss the furry bezel model, it’s a hoot. Detailed, full color photography show off the fine details while Balfour provides a wealth of fascinating historical information. Follow the evolution of Rolex’s Submariner for example, which touches on Auguste and Jacques Piccard’s 10,335 descent into the ocean depths, working and non-working models used in different James Bond movies and the development of a special valve to keep the watches from exploding during decompression among other things. From the intricate Astolabium Galileo Galilei produced in 1985 to the elegance of Movado’s white mother-of-pearl Museum Watch with a diamond-studded bezel to Tissot’s watches with cases crafted from stone and wood, these are works of the watchmakers’ art.
There are a few minor typos such as the page reference given in the introduction that forwards readers to page 18 when the watch in question is pictured on page 21 but these are trifles. The detailed, understandable schematics showing how some of these time pieces were constructed are amazing, they make one appreciate all that goes into the not-so-humble wrist watch.