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Book Review: ‘Retro Watches’ By Josh Sims And Mitch Greenblatt | Quill & Pad

Book Review: ‘Retro Watches’ By Josh Sims And Mitch Greenblatt | Quill & Pad” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”> is the website where you can before long get some of the vintage treasure he finds. “The inventory is [already] here,” he advised me, “however my time is hard to come by with my other businesses. I intend to launch a gathering of watches weekly on a certain day so one can anticipate a certain time to view and reserve immediately. I intend to offer many cool vintage watches for sale!”

‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt with photography by Tyler Little

Currently at that website you can likewise order a special, limited edition (1,000 copies) Horolovox engraving of his book Retro Watches, which Greenblatt will finish paperwork for you before he ships.

Retro Watches: structure

Retro Watches was written by Josh Sims, a UK-based freelance writer and editor specializing in style and design, who has likewise written about watches. The book was actually Sims’ idea. “Josh has come to me every so often for my obscure vintage watches over the previous 15 years,” Greenblatt explained. “He figured my collection may make a decent expansion to [a book about vintage watches he was already working on] when thus it became the entire book! I likewise have a heap more of really irregular stuff that I hope will be in a second edition!”

Retro Watches begins with an introduction by Sims. In it, he explains that the watches photographed and written about in this book all come from Greenblatt’s own collection.

“Much like Marie Kondo , I included large numbers of the watches from my collection that brought me personal happiness and represent the experimental side of watch design going from long-defunct brands to some of the biggest names today. Much unlike Kondo, I won’t be leaving behind large numbers of them unless one day in an auction when they’re more appreciated,” Greenblatt explained the selection, likewise giving that his personal collection comprises more than 400 pieces and continues to grow.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Disco Volante from ‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt with photography by Tyler Little

“Some of these watches are my most prized possessions,” he continued. “One was my wedding watch, one was the primary watch I ever received, and one was my first vintage watch purchase ever. There are personal stories behind a considerable lot of the watches featured in the book. A few are watches that took me as long as 20 years to locate a prime example – or any example whatsoever – of. Many are likely the remnant of a dying breed in decent condition, while others are so uncommon you’ll need to endeavor to discover another. Not to say this means they’re all valuable, because many are quite affordable due to obscurity, yet extraordinariness is its own thing.”

Zenith Time Command Futur from ‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt (courtesy Tyler Little)

Retro Watches then launches, catalog-style, directly into what are chiefly spreads of the more than 100 vintage watches from the late 1950s, 1960s, and early 1970s. Some watches have warranted more pages with what we call “beauty shots” in publishing.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master-Quartz from ‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt with photography by Tyler Little

Some of the watch brands (Advance, Clipper, and Swank are genuine examples) are not, at this point presently known or active, while others like Girard-Perregaux, Hamilton, Rolex, and Bulova – to name a few – remain household names right up ’til today, having survived their idiosyncratic period of design experimentation.

If you were Greenblatt, you may even say they survived, yet managed to propel themselves back into the “exhausting” horological design era.

Retro Watches is an eccentric and interesting collector’s guide for those who need to differentiate themselves and their wrists – now and again outlandishly.

Omega Driver’s Watch from ‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt (courtesy Tyler Little)

Retro Watches: content

Each of these smaller than usual chapters is light on text, however heavy on photographs, simply the way that amount of the present media-consuming public prefers. With a few exceptions, the excellent and expertly placed photographs were taken by Tyler Little , a San Francisco-based photographer. Greenblatt is additionally at home in the Bay Area.

Each watch’s description is composed of a short introduction text giving some context and a catalog-style set of bullet focuses that includes year of release, movement used, the “relative value” on the vintage market appeared by a three-star system (one star being cheap and three stars being the most expensive), and the watch’s notable feature(s).

A set of Spaceman watches from ‘Retro Watches’ (photograph courtesy Tyler Little)

Interspersed among the watches are short, easily digestible featurettes on pertinent elements of watch history or technology and design principles, easily discernible by their beige-colored pages. This is splendid as it breaks up what may become the dreariness of watch after watch. These chapters have titles like “The Retro Esthetic,” “Space Age Design,” and “Mechanical versus Quartz.”

The book ends with a page on Greenblatt and a three-page timeline of watchmaking in key words. Some of the three-page timeline of watchmaking history’s listed focuses are very relevant to the material handled in this book and probably won’t be found elsewhere.

As a timeless purchasing guide to inexpensive vintage collectibles with astounding and surprising design from an outlier of a period in watch history, this book functions perfectly, informatively, and very aesthetically.

Spaceman watches from ‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt with photography by Tyler Little

And I even discovered one vintage watch that I personally own in here: the Spaceman .

“I had a ton to do with rekindling the brand in 2001 when I met Felix Huber and I started to purchase the old stock of Spaceman and other vintage watches he produced; it is the thing that I used to propel my unique vintage watch site,” Greenblatt revealed to me.

“I mean, someone would have eventually discovered them, yet back in 2000 I had become obsessed with them, started searching for who made them, got in contact with Andre Le Marquand, who thus directed me to his child, who advised me to contact Felix Huber for the new old stock. I credit the Spaceman era of my life for nearly everything that happened since in my career.”

Retro Watches: quality

Very, very rarely do I get a book in my grasp these days where everything fits together the manner in which a book ought to: engaging, well-written text; very clearly carefully copyedited; great paper quality; great, clear, pleasing-to-the-eye design; super photography, and an engaging subject matter.

If these things matter to you (like they do to me), then Retro Watches is a great fit to add to your personal horological library.

You can flip through the pictures or dive into the text at your leisure and be entertained and informed, and do it without agonizing over when the next error will appear – however I discovered one erroneous detail in the LeCoultre category, where Sims opines, ” . . . Jaeger-LeCoultre (which, until 1980, sold the majority of its watches under the shortened LeCoultre name) had been . . .”

LeCoultre HPG Memovox from ‘Retro Watches’ by Josh Sims and Mitch Greenblatt (courtesy Tyler Little)

Regular readers of Quill & Pad will realize that use of the “LeCoultre” name signifies a JLC watch sold by its North American wholesaler from 1932 through approximately 1985 (confirmed by Jaeger-LeCoultre: A Guide for the Collector by Zaf Basha ). At that time, JLC was dispatching movements to the U.S. from Switzerland, where the merchant assembled the rest with cases, dials, and hands made in the USA.

However, that is the solitary gaffe of this sort I have found up until now. At less than $30 for a conveniently sized hardback edition, in addition to the fact that you have nothing to lose financially in the event that you purchase this book, I love that you can actually hold it comfortably while resting in your favorite chaise lounge. Much like one of the gorgeous vintage treasures described within.

You can purchase Retro Watches at

and the signed edition at

Quick Facts Retro Watches

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

ISBN: 978-0500022962

Pages: 256 pages

Photos: more than 300, most firsts by Tyler Little

Restricting: hardcover

Language: English

Price: $25

Impediment of Horolovox engrave : 1,000 books, $35 (with Mitch Greenblatt’s signature!)

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