This guide is our curated list of the best vintage watch books available to buy. Whether you are looking for a beautiful coffee table book or a gift for a vintage watch enthusiast, here you’ll find plenty of great quality publications to choose from.

Vintage watch books make great gifts for both seasoned collectors and novices alike, from detailed reference books to generalist titles, there is something for everyone.

Whether as a source of wisdom or a token of admiration, these books enrich the collector’s experience and celebrate the enduring allure of vintage watches.

The Best Vintage Watch Books

Good vintage watch books reveal the intricate craftsmanship, historical significance, and captivating stories behind some of the most celebrated watches ever made.

Through these enjoyable and informative watch books, you can immerse yourself in a literary journey through the evolution of iconic brands, the allure of classic designs, and the fascinating world of watchmaking heritage.

Wristwatches: A Connoisseur’s Guide, Edwards, Frank

A practical and informative reference to the best in wristwatches. It tells the story of the development of the watch from sundial to solar-power, providing hints on starting a collection and what to look for in a good watch. The main directory lists over 50 prestigious watch brands; from the Swiss watchmakers who make and finish watches by hand, to the high-tech companies whose multi-functional timepieces are marvels of scientific ingenuity.

Moonwatch Only: The Ultimate Omega Speedmaster Guide,  Grégoire Rossier and Anthony Marquié 

This knowledgeable guide is a captivating ode to the Omega Speedmaster. With encyclopaedic detail, it chronicles the Speedmaster’s extraordinary journey, its lunar connection, and myriad variations. A must-have for Speedmaster aficionados, it leaves no lunar stone unturned. Moonwatch Only is certainly one of the best books ever written about a single watch model.

Vintage Rolex Sports Models, A Complete Visual Reference & Unauthorised History Martin Skeet and Nick Urul

Skeet and Urul’s unauthorised history is a riveting exploration into the world of vintage Rolex sports watches. Lavishly illustrated, it delves into each model’s evolution, providing collectors with invaluable insights and a glimpse into Rolex’s fascinating past. Colour photographs vividly depict each watch model, while a multitude of diagrams offer valuable insights into the evolution of each design.

The publication features an assortment of twenty-two elusive Rolex brochures. Each is accompanied by an abundance of catalogue snapshots and recorded transaction values for sports models auctioned between 1997 and 2017 at global venues such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s. Furthermore, there’s a contemporary pricing guide for all showcased models thoughtfully incorporated within the book’s contents.

The Wristwatch Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Mechanical Wristwatches, Ryan Schmidt

Schmidt’s handbook is a mechanical masterpiece seamlessly blending technical depth with accessibility. It guides readers through the intricate workings of wristwatches. Novices and connoisseurs alike will appreciate its thorough yet comprehensible approach.

Released in October 2016, this book delves deeply into the intricacies of the mechanical wristwatch. Its pages are enriched with easy to understand yet enlightening content, complemented by diagrams and detailed photographs.

Schmidt’s exploration begins with a comprehensive breakdown of the fundamentals of mechanical watch movement. The journey then ventures into an in depth analysis, encompassing the chronograph, repeater, tourbillon, and perpetual calendar. The volume boasts 470 colour illustrations, showcasing timepieces hailing from an impressive array of 90 distinct watchmaking brands.

The Best of Time: Rolex Wristwatches: An Unauthorized History, James M. Dowling and Jeffrey P. Hess

Dowling and Hess deliver another unauthorised historical gem that delivers Rolex’s legacy through anecdotes and expertise. It casts a spotlight on the brand’s remarkable journey, making it an essential addition to any Rolex-loving watch enthusiast’s library.

The watches produced by Rolex over the last 90 years are celebrated in this lavishly illustrated new volume. The book contains perhaps the most extensive history ever written of the company. Information for collectors and current market values of the watches make this a truly useful volume and one that will be cherished by watch lovers around the world.

Heuer Monaco: Design Classic, Richard Crosthwaite

Richard Crosthwaite pays homage to that much overused but nonetheless deserving word, an icon. This book explores the revolutionary Heuer Monaco’s impact on design and culture. With captivating visuals and engaging narratives, it celebrates the enduring allure of this timepiece with its unforgettable links to the King of Cool, Steve McQueen.

The book is packed with pertinent information to spot fake or repainted dials, correct serial numbers and numbers known, and production estimates on the rare variants. You won’t find another book out there that can give you such detail on the Heuer Monaco.

100 Years of Rolex. 1908 – 2008, Guido Mondani

Weighing in at 4kg, it is a hefty hardback packed with information. Published to celebrate 100 years of the Rolex wristwatch brand, this book describes and illustrates many of the fine watches produced, together with period advertisements, etc. A ‘must have’ for Rolex enthusiasts.

This book is what we call ‘an oldie but goldie’. It was written in English and Italian and was published by Guido Mondani as an indispensable guide for the passionate collector. It covers Rolex watches right through to the 2008 Baselworld launch models.

The Vintage Rolex Field Guide: A survival manual for the adventure that is vintage Rolex, Colin A. White

White’s guide is for vintage Rolex adventurers. It skillfully navigates the intricate world of Rolex collecting, offering practical wisdom, and insights garnered from years of experience. The Vintage Rolex Field Guide is your best shot at buying wisely and avoiding all the pitfalls. It is full of advice and details to help you access facts and specs without any gushy superlatives. Spot, identify and assess the best vintage Rolex watches with the right data and become a more astute Rolex collector.

The Watch Book, Gisbert L. Brunner and Christian Pfeiffer-Belli

Both a visual delight and an informative read. Bursting with exquisite imagery, it showcases horological masterpieces spanning eras and styles. A feast for the eyes, it’s a testament to the artistry and craftsmanship of watchmaking. Within the pages of The Watch Book, watch enthusiasts are invited to indulge their senses and intellect in a beautifully depicted and meticulously documented narrative of the planet’s most outstanding timekeeping creations.

Commencing with a concise exploration of the significance of time and its quantification through intricate systems of gears and hands, the journey proceeds to delve into the realms of over 18 eminent makers, encompassing renowned names like Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Cartier.

Omega: A Journey Through Time, Marco Richon 

This particular journey is a captivating chronicle of Omega’s evolution. From its inception to modern innovations, Marco Richon’s book paints a vivid portrait of a storied brand, making history come alive on each page. A Journey Through Time is recommended for anyone interested in Omega Watches and its history. Indeed, it’s also a must-own for anyone interested in collecting vintage Omega watches.

The book contains photos and information about very nearly every model of watch ever produced by Omega. Packed with thousands upon thousands of photographs in full colour, it faithfully records the timeless beauty that drove so many collectors to purchase their first Omega watch.

The Watch, Thoroughly Revised, Gene Stone and Stephen Pulvirent 

This is Stone and ex-Hodinkee journalist Stephen Pulvirent’s exhaustive revision, an authoritative guide to watch brands and trends. It offers a panoramic view of the watch landscape, making it an invaluable resource for enthusiasts navigating the ever-changing world of timepieces. The book serves as an authoritative compendium. It not only delves into watch brands and trends but also provides an encompassing overview of the dynamic watch market.

This revised edition is an indispensable guide for dedicated enthusiasts seeking to navigate the intricate world of timepieces. Together, Messrs Stone and Pulvirent have thoroughly revamped the book to reflect the current state of the watch world. There’s the addition of new brands, new models, and more focused and nuanced coverage of the traditional brand leaders, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, and TAG Heuer.

Chronograph – Wristwatches To Stop Time By Lanf Gerd R & Meis Reinhard

Here, Land and Meis offer this outstanding identification book. The text deals with the dial of the chronograph and all the indications that can be read from it. In precise detail, the text deals with the dial of the chronograph and all the indications that can be read from it. There is also a technical section that shows the historical development of the chronograph mechanism.

With collectors in mind, the authors have arranged the illustrations by the indications on the dials. Pictures of the movements are always included with those of the chronographs. This book is an invaluable identification guide for collectors, dealers, and auction houses.

Jaeger-LeCoultre: A Guide for the Collector, Zaf Basha

The collector’s guide to the world of Jaeger-LeCoultre. With meticulous attention, it explores the brand’s diverse creations, offering a roadmap for those captivated by its craftsmanship. This is undeniably a great read for enthusiasts of Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces. Comprising nearly 200 pages, it meticulously unveils the intricacies of more than 140 vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre watches.

Within its pages are a wealth of particulars, including movement calibres, case references, production statistics, and insightful repair annotations. It’s also an indispensable asset for anyone seeking to restore a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. Basha’s astute suggestions empower collectors to use this publication as a definitive manual for authenticating genuine Jaeger-LeCoultre timepieces.

The Rolex Story, Franz-Christoph Heel

With wonderful storytelling prowess, Heel traces Rolex’s rise to horological prominence. The book weaves a captivating tale of innovation and success, making it a must-read for anyone intrigued by Rolex’s brand history. This informative and entertaining book traces the manufacturer’s development from the 1920s, when it began its steady rise to unprecedented international acclaim right up to the present.

Heel describes the ingenious innovations in technology and marketing behind Rolex’s swift success. The book is rich with lavish images and both historical and technical details on some of Rolex’s most revered models. This includes the Submariner, the Cosmograph and Yachtmaster that auto-racers and boat captains trust for their precision and durability.

Sourcing Rare Vintage Watch Books

Bear in mind that some of the watch books recommended here may be out of print or hard to find. At Vintage Gold Watches, we have an extensive library of vintage watch books, even out-of-print or hard-to-find titles. In some cases, we may have only one or two copies, so you might be able to snap one up.

However, if you tell us about a book you are trying to get hold of we will do our best to source it for you. If you would like to purchase any of the above books please contact us by email: [email protected]

Online Resources

Vintage watch collectors now have an abundance of digital resources, e-books, and online publications at their fingertips, revolutionising the way they explore and appreciate horology.

Vintage watch E-books offer instant access to a vast repository of horological knowledge, covering topics ranging from the history of renowned brands to in-depth guides on identifying authentic pieces. Online publications, often updated in real-time, provide collectors with the latest market trends, auction results, and industry news.

Closing Thoughts

You may know a little, you may know a lot, but by exploring these vintage watch books you can elevate your knowledge of fine vintage watches and the craft of watchmaking.

If you have any questions about watch books or you would like to get hold of some of the books we have featured in this guide, do get in touch.

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Alan Wood
Alan Wood, founder of Vintage Gold Watches, is a trusted vintage watch dealer with 35+ years of experience. His passion and expertise have earned him a respected reputation in the industry. Vintage Gold Watches, established in 2011, is known for Alan's knowledge and skilled restoration team. With a love for vintage watches since his youth, Alan is thrilled to share the finest timepieces from the 1950s, 60s, and 70s with others, fueling his obsession.