Book Review: ‘A Man And His Watch’ Features Personal Watch Stories And A Few WIS Surprises
A Man and His Watch, a new book by men’s style editor Matt Hranek, was published by Artisan/Workman Books in late October 2017. It carries the interesting subtitle “Iconic Watches and Stories from the Men Who Wore Them.”
Many readers are likely to focus on the book’s photos of Paul Newman’s own Rolex Daytona Reference 6263 as another of Newman’s own watches is going under the hammer at the upcoming Phillips Winning Icons auction (for more on that see Paul Newman’s Own Paul Newman Rolex Daytona To Go Up for Auction). The Rolex Daytona featured in A Man and His Watch currently graces the wrist of Newman’s daughter, Clea.
For the indoctrinated watch WIS, however, a number of other stories could prove to be a tad more interesting as they provide personal histories and backgrounds to well-known figures in the watch world, semi-famous New Yorkers, and famous vintage watches.
Take Sylvester Stallone, for example, who is known to many watch people as the guy who kickstarted Panerai’s modern era. Thus, it came as a surprise (at least to me) that out of all his watches Stallone feels most emotionally connected to a Tiffany Rolex Submariner Reference 1680, and the book explains why (I won’t spoil the surprise, though).
Moving to the intimate world of watch people in greater New York City, we are confronted with Adam Craniotes’ Casio F-7. I write “confront” very thoughtfully because if you’ve ever met this magnetic watch collector, you’d know that you can’t get around (or past) him when it comes to the microcosm of timepiece collecting in NYC – or his great love of all things that tell time.
RedBar co-founder Craniotes – who has a stellar collection of interesting watches – chose to show his Casio F-7 in this book because it was bought for him by his grandfather when he was eight years old. And while he chose the model himself, the fact that it landed on his pre-pubescent wrist did come as a surprise. It still puts a smile on his face.
Sticking with the New York watch insiders for a moment, the 1967 Doxa Sub 300 Professional Black Lung on page 48 belonging to Analog/Shift founder James Lamdin also caught my eye. Lamdin tells the charming story of how he came to acquire this timepiece based on his love of adventure novels as a youth – and in particular Clive Cussler, whose main character, Dirk Pitt, always wore a Doxa diver’s watch with orange dial. Analog/Shift, the premier online destination for vintage watches, has also recently launched SHIFTed, a men’s timepiece and vintage-inspired digital lifestyle magazine, which fits the theme of Hranek’s book very well.
Hamilton Powell, founder of pre-owned watch retailer Crown & Caliber, also makes an appearance in A Man and His Watch with his Heuer Abercrombie & Fitch Seafarer, explaining how this rare vintage timepiece allows him to live more thoughtfully – a sentiment I’m sure any WIS can related to.
And then there’s the Popeye-kitted Rolex belonging to George Bamford, founder of Bamford Watch Department. Bamford, who has made quite a name for himself through after-market modifications of standard Rolex models, often turning them into something completely different than these watches began as, explains by way of a certain yellow gold Rolex Yacht-Master how his business started in 2003 with, of all things, a Popeye figure on the dial. (See more about Rolex “pimping” at Why I Pimped My Rolex.)
“Archive” spreads peppered throughout the book reflect vintage watches connected to a personality without that personality actually telling his own story (as the title of this book loudly proclaims, it only contains stories of men and their timepieces). One features the Longines Lindbergh Hour Angle Watch that Charles Lindbergh designed together with Philip Van Horn Weems. The vintage 45 mm watch pictured in the book is usually on display in the Time and Navigation collection of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Another such spread really caught my eye as I am a huge music fan: a Corum Buckingham Reference 5971 that once belonged to Elvis Presley. You can actually see the King wearing this timepiece in Elvis Is In The Building: In Honor Of The King And His Watches. In A Man and His Watch, the reader gets to see the square Corum in much greater detail, which Presley apparently had later gifted to Richard Davis, one of his “Memphis Mafia.” Hranek unfortunately does not explain how he came to handle the watch, but I suppose that’s part of the very New York-style charm of this quite visual tome.
Find more personal stories and watches from celebrities such Andy Warhol, Ralph Lauren, James Bond, and Nas when you read the book.
For more information and/or to purchase the book, please visit https://www.workman.com/products/a-man-and-his-watch.
Quick Facts A Man And His Watch
Author: Matt Hranek
Publisher: Artisan, New York
Page count: 216
Illustrations: more than 100 color photographs of watches
Binding: paper-over-board with slipcase
Size: 7 x 11 inches