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The Illinois Watch: The life and Times of a Great American Watch Company, by Fredric J. Friedberg
Yesterday I received Fred Friedberg's personal, amazing, and remarkably beautiful book, The Illinois Watch: The Life and Times of A Great American Watch Company. This book was published by Schiffer Publishing, and is available directly from the publisher, from the author (www.illinoiswatches.com), or even from Amazon.
Just in time for Father's Day, this remarkable book has arrived. I read 2/3's of the book last night. I've always had a passing interest in Illinois, as the Hamilton Watch Company bought this maker of high quality watches in 1928. My first horological love is, of course, Hamilton. This book has set in motion a new, related obsession: Illinois watches.
This book will no doubt join the "top shelf" book list. It will hold a special place on my book shelf, next to Don Sauers "Time for America", Rene Rondeau's "Hamilton Watch, A collector's Guide", Hess & Dowling "The Best of Time, Rolex Watches", and Unger & Faber's "American Wristwatches: Five Decades of Style and Design". Fred's Book, in it's beauty, style, and comprehensive yet readable approach, belongs on this top shelf.
This is a large, colorful, and beautiful book. Twelve inches long, by 9 inches wide, and almost one inch deep, this 270 page book is worthy of the coffee table. In my home, it is on the night stand. The book covers every aspect of the Illinois Watch Company one could imagine, including the history, dials, movements, case makers, ephemera, and values. The Identification guide, which is the heart and perhaps the soul of this book, lists all known Illinois watches. I saw many that I never knew existed, and learned of variations of known styles were shocking in their beauty.
One of the lingering pre-publication questions was "Will this book hold interest for the Pocket watch collector". My answer is clear: Yes. Much of the information in this book is applicable to Illinois pocket watch, and as a result, pocket watch collectors will find this book as important and worthwhile as those silly wrist watch collectors.
Finally, the overall design of the book, the photography, and the stories of amazing finds by real life collectors, transform this book from a deep exploration of the history of a great American company, to a celebration of design, determination, and achievement.
My Father, who knows nothing about watches, is in for a remarkable treat this fathers day.
IHC Life Member
Life Member# 17
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