A review of Timepieces Masterpieces of Chronometry by David Christianson

Reviewed by Molly Martin

Timepieces Masterpieces of Chronometry
by David Christianson
Firefly Books
Hardcover: 160 pages, November 21, 2002, ISBN-13: 978-1552976548

Horological historian David Christianson, a certified Master Watchmaker for more than a quarter century, brings his skill and proficiency to bear with his publication Timepieces Masterpieces of Chronometry. The Celestial Clock, the natural timekeeper in the sky provides the narrative base, and is underscored with use of many graphics depicting some of the methods early man used to show the passage of time. From water flow to sun dials to astronomer priests to armillary spheres and more, humans have wanted to track time from the earliest days.

The chapters are rich with illustrations, photos, and other graphics and move from the use of monastery bells in early Christian communities through to early domestic clocks of the 14th century, wound mainspring during the 15th century, the history of watchmaking, the impact of the Industrial Revolution, the part of women in the early 20th century, the necessity for solving scientific problems of time, and the impact of quartz. Smaller size and economical cost have caused timepieces to become common place.  The multi-page Glossary begins with Analogue display and ends with Zodiac. The glossary as well is jam-packed with photographs, tables, and drawings. I found this work to be abundantly filled with scientific information presented in a straight forward, effortlessly read manner. I enjoyed reading the book, and envisioning the evolution of time pieces from earliest days to the present.

Knowing that Christianson is a capable craftsman who has served as president of the American Watchmakers and Clockmakers Institute, that he not only mentors regarding clock and watch restoration, and is a Fellow of the British Horological Institute, but that he also writes for Professional Jeweler and Watchmaking publications lends much to his credibility. Timepieces Masterpieces of Chronometry is a lovely work filled with the dedication to detail, and result of research presented by a renowned craftsman.

Reviewed by: molly martin