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Book revue, price guide and profile: The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century by Catherine Cardinal. A superbly researched, written and illustrated book charting the social, economic, technological and artistic history of the watch, from the fifteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century.
Book about early watches
The Watch, From its Origins to the Nineteenth Century

About the Book: The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century by Catherine Cardinal

The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century by Catherine Cardinal and translated by Jacques Pages, is a well researched, well illustrated and well written book.

There are a lot of books out there in the second-hand market which deal with the subject of timepieces - and watches in particular. Some are rather basic, little more than picture books, while others can be quite technical, aimed at collectors who want to strip a watch to its component parts and then rebuild it. The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century falls somewhere nicely in between those two extremes: It studies the social, technological and artistic history of watches.

Here you will learn in detail about the history of horology from the sixteenth to the end of the nineteenth century. Included are some of the key personalities behind the evolvement of the watch: Innovators, designers and watch makers. In particular this book focuses upon the watch manufacturing industries in France, Switzerland and England, and highlights some of the most important commercial enterprises in watchmaking history. You will further learn about the early, primitive watch movements and how they evolved to the extraordinary precision timepieces of the late nineteenth century. And you will discover the fascinating world of watch decoration and how it developed: From basic designs to intricately engraved cases, and others with elaborate enamelling.

I know a little about watches but I realised how limited my knowledge was when I first saw this book. The author, Catherine Cardinal, was both curator and scientific director of the International Museum of Horology from the late 1980s to the turn of the century. Her knowledge on the subject of timepieces is immense and this English translation (by Jacque Pages) of her best known book loses none of its impact.

A book which anybody with an interest in antique watches should read and digest.

Book by Catherine Cardinal
By Catherine Cardinal

Contents: The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century

  • Introduction
  • Social and Economic Evolution:
    • From 1500 to 1600: The Expansion of Horology In Miniature
      • The Birth of the Watch
      • The Growing Use of the Watch
      • A Princely Clientele
      • The First Watchmaking Centres
    • From 1600 to 1660: The Strengthening of the Watchmaking Industry In France
      • The Prestige of French Watchmaking
      • The Development of Two Great Watchmaking Centres
      • Other Watchmaking Centres
    • From 1660 to 1730: The Predominance of English Watchmaking Over the French and Swiss Industries
      • The Decline of the French Industry
      • The Vitality of English Watchmaking
      • The Genevan Factory
    • From 1730 to 1820: Three Great Watchmaking Countries - France, Switzerland and England
      • The Revival of French Watchmaking
      • The Flowering of the Horological Art In Switzerland
      • The Vigour of English Horology Is Maintained
    • From 1830 to 1900: Transformations In the Watchmaking Industry
  • Technical Evolution:
    • The Primitive Watch Movement
      • Description of the Main Components
      • Regulating Systems
      • Complications
    • "Small-Work" Horological Research and its Applications From 1650 to 1765
      • Research and Inventions
      • Changes In Movements
    • The Conquest of Precision In the Watch, From 1765 to 1820
      • Research and Inventions
      • Changes In Movements
    • The Triumph of Precision In the Nineteenth Century
  • Decorative Evolution:
    • Decoration From 1500 to 1675: International Fashions
      • The First Watches
      • Oval and Octagonal Watches
      • Form Watches
      • Puritan Watches
      • Round Watches In Engraved Metal
      • Watches Ornamented With Enamel
      • Watches Ornamented By Painting On Enamel
      • Decoration of the Movements
    • Decoration From 1675 to 1720: Appearance of National Styles
      • Louis XIV Watches
      • Swiss Watches: The French Influence
      • English Watches
      • German and Dutch Watches: The English Influence
      • An International Vogue: The Production of the Huaud Brothers, Enamel Painters
    • Decoration From 1730 to 1820
      • The French Watch
      • The English Watch
      • The Swiss Watch
    • Watch Decoration After 1830
      • Conclusion
  • Appendixes:
    • Notes
    • Bibliography
    • Archival Documents
    • Acknowledgements
    • Index

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Illustrated watch history book
Many colour and black and white illustrations throughout

About the Publisher: Wellfleet Press

There is little available information about the original Wellfleet Press. The publisher was based in New Jersey. I have found references to books published by the company from as early as 1964, so I can only assume the firm started out as an independent publisher. From the late 1970s to the early 1990s Wellfleet Press published many illustrated books relating to art, antiques and collecting. The company was particularly prolific in the late 1980s.

In its present day format Wellfleet is an imprint for the Quarto Group, a leading publisher which is headquartered in London, England and is quoted on the London Stock Exchange (since 1986). The imprint is now based in New York and still retains a reputation for publishing well illustrated books. The Quarto Group has a number of imprints around the world. It was founded with a philosophy of publishing a book for several markets at one time, to reduce production costs. The company prides itself on a range of economical books which are highly illustrated.

Subject matter from the Wellfleet Press imprint has changed somewhat in recent years. The main focus now is on spirituality, faith and wellness.

The Wellfleet Press, Select Publisher’s Bibliography

This select bibliography of Wellfleet Press books is focused on books of the art, antique and collecting genres. The titles included are all thought to be US 1st editions:

  • 1964 Durer: The complete Engravings, Etchings and Woodcuts by Karl Adolf Knappe
  • 1968 William Hogarth, The Complete Engravings by Joseph Burke and Colin Caldwell
  • 1974 Impressionist Prints: Litographs, Etchings, Drypoints, Aquatints, Woodcuts by Roger Passeron
  • 1978 The Paintings of Lucas Cranach by Max J. Friedlander and Jakob Rosenberg
  • 1978 Dali by Ramon Gomez De La Serna
  • 1980 Early Dutch Painting: Painting in the Northern Netherlands in the Fifteenth Century by Albert Chatelet
  • 1980 Edward Lear's Birds by Susan Hyman
  • 1986 A Redoute Treasury: 468 Watercolours from Les Liliacees of Pierre-Joseph Redoute edited and compiled by Peter and Frances Mallary
  • 1986 Lithography: 200 Years of Art, History & Technique edited by Domenico Porzio
  • 1987 Propaganda The Art of Persuasion World War II by Anthony Rhodes and Victor Margolin
  • 1987 300 Years of American Art, 2 volumes in slipcase compiled by Michael David Zellman
  • 1988 Rembrandt: The Complete Etchings by Karel G. Boon
  • 1988 Encyclopedia Of Desks by Mark Bridge
  • 1988 The Painted Garden: The Garden Through the Artist's Eye by Anthony Huxley
  • 1988 Design: Graphics, Illustration, Airbrushing by Peter Bridgewater, Brian Lewis and Brett Breckon
  • 1988 The Impressionists by Gilles Neret
  • 1988 Art Deco Source Book: A Visual Reference to a Decorative Style, 1920 - 1940 by Patricia Bayer
  • 1988 The Art of Food: Culinary Inspirations From the Paintings of the Great Masters by Claire Clifton
  • 1988 Early Dutch Painting by Albert Chatelet
  • 1988 Fashion Source Book by Amy De LA Haye
  • 1988 An Encyclopedia of Chairs by Simon Yates
  • 1988 The Art of Rene Lalique by Patricia Bayer and Mark Waller
  • 1988 Lichtenstein: Drawings and Prints by Roy Lichtenstein
  • 1988 Toulouse-Lautrec: His Complete Lithographs and Drypoints catalogued by Jean Adhemar
  • 1989 The Art of George Stubbs by Venetia Morrison
  • 1989 Layout Source Book by Alan Swann
  • 1989 Old and Curious Playing Cards. Their History and Types from Many Countries and Periods by H T Morley
  • 1989 The Classic Watch: The Great Watches and Their Makers from the First Watch to the Present Day by Michael Balfour
  • 1989 An Encyclopedia of Tables by Simon Yates
  • 1989 Audubon's Quadrupeds of North America by J.J. Audubon
  • 1989 Miro: Ninety Years by Lluis Permanyer
  • 1989 The Collector's Guide to Antique Fishing Tackle by Silvio Calabi
  • 1989 The Art Of The Cigar Label by Joe Davidson
  • 1989 The Art of Louis Comfort Tiffany by Vivienne Couldrey
  • 1989 The Art of Botanical Illustration: The Classical Illustrators and Their Achievements from 1550 to 1900 by Lys De Bray
  • 1989 The Watch From Its Origins to the XIXth Century by Catherine Cardinal (English translation edition)
  • 1989 Bruegel by Michael Gibson
  • 1989 Giacometti by Bernard Lamarche-Vadel
  • 1989 Master Drawings: From Cave Art to Picasso by Terisio Pignatti
  • 1990 The Collector's Encyclopedia with an introduction by Roy Strong
  • 1990 A Collector's Guide to Dolls by Kerry Taylor
  • 1990 Charles Rennie Mackintosh by Anthony Jones
  • 1990 The Poster in History by Max Gallo
  • 1990 The Art of J.M.W. Turner by David Blayney Brown
  • 1990 Fruit Crate Art by Joe Davidson
  • 1990 Techniques of the Artists of the American West by Peggy, Joan and Harold Samuels and Daniel Fabian
  • 1990 A Collector's Guide to Fans by Susan Mayor
  • 1990 The Art of Bird Illustration by Maureen Lambourne
  • 1990 A Collector's Guide To Masks by Tomothy Teuten
  • 1990 The Art Of Faberge by John Booth
  • 1990 A Collector's Guide to 20th-Century Toys edited by James Opie with Duncan Chilcott and Julia Harris
  • 1991 Chinese Brush Painting by Pauline Cherrett
  • 1991 Sketchbooks of the Romantics by Robert Upstone
  • 1991 Art of Nautical Illustration: A Visual Tribute to the Achievements of the Classic Marine Illustrators by Michael E. Leek
  • 1992 World of Golf Collectibles by Sarah Baddiel
  • 1992 The Encyclopedia of Weaponry: From Stone Age Spears to Stealth Bombers by Ian V. Hogg
  • 1992 A History of Postcards: A Pictorial Record from the Turn of the Century to the Present Day by Martin Willoughby
  • 1992 Gems and Jewels - Fact and Fable by Christopher Carvey
  • 1997 Smoker's Art by Joe and Sue Davidson
  • 2002 Leonardo da Vinci by D. M. Field
  • 2002 Michelangelo by Trewin Copplestone
  • 2003 Monet by Janice Anderson
  • 2003 Rembrandt by D.M. Field
  • 2004 Maxfield Parrish and the American Imagists by Laurence S. Cutler and Judy Goffman
  • 2004 Van Gogh by D.M. Field
  • 2005 An Artist In Nature by Robert Bateman and Rick Archbold
Illustrated book includes many Georgian and Victorian watches
Many Georgian and Victorian watches illustrated

About the Author: Catherine Cardinal

The horological world, both historically and in the present day, has tended to be dominated by men. It is refreshing therefore that such an important and well written book as The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century, was brought to us by a woman.

Catherine Cardinal has a PhD in art history and is an art historian. She studied at the Paris-Sorbonne University and went on to become a researcher at the Conservatoire National des Arts et des Métiers in Paris. Here she looked after the astronomy, watch and automata collections and began to build her longstanding international reputation.

In 1988 she moved on to become the curator and scientific director of the Musée International d’Horlogerie in Switzerland. During her twelve year stint here she was responsible for organising a number of international exhibitions and, as well as improving the museum's international recognition, she continued to further her own reputation as a respected historian. Her position as scientific director led to her organising research symposiums around the world.

Catherine has a particular interest in the creative side of watchmaking and the artistry which is often associated with this. A number of the exhibitions she organised for the museums reflect this interest: Such exhibitions included:

  • 1980 Charles Ed. Guillaume
  • 1984 Ferdinand Berthoud
  • 1991 L'Homme et le Temps en Suisse 1291-1991
  • 1997 Abraham L. Breguet

After leaving the Musée International d’Horlogerie in 2000, Catherine focussed on teaching the history of decorative arts and painting of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. She has continued to work with a number of museums.

Catherine Cardinal, Select Author’s Bibliography

There is another Catherine Cardinal in the USA who is a life coach and writer. Her books are not included here.

Some of the books below were prepared to support exhibitions and were frequently published in multiple languages, hence there may be numerous other editions available.

  • 1984 Ferdinand Berthoud 1727-1807, 1st edition published in Switzerland by Musees International d'Horlogerie
  • 1985 Die Zeit an der Kette, 1st German language edition published in Germany by Klinkhardt und Biermann
  • 1985 La Montre des Origines au XIX Siècle, 1st French language edition published in France by Office du Livre - Editions Vilo
  • 1989 The Watch: From Its Origins to the XIXth Century, translated by Jacques Pages, 1st English language edition published by The Wellfleet Press (the original edition was published in 1985)
  • 1989 La Révolution dans la Mesure du Temps: Calendrier Républicain Heure Décimale 1793-1805, written in collaboration with Jean-Michel Piguet, 1st edition published in Switzerland by Musée International d'Horlogerie
  • 1991 Der Mensch und die Zeit in der Schweiz. 1291-1991, 1st edition published in Switzerland by La Chaux-de-Fonds, Institut der Mensch und die Zeit
  • 1993 Musées d'Horlogerie La Chaux-de-Fonds Le Locle, written in collaboration with François Mercier, 1st edition published in Switzerland by Museen der Schweiz
  • 1998 Trésors d'Horlogerie le Temps et sa Mesure du Moyen Age à la Renaissance: Exposition du 30 Mai au 27 Septembre 1998 au Palais des Papes, Avignon, written in collaboration with Dominique Vingtain, 1st edition published in Switzerland by Rmg-Patrimoine
Watch decoration and enamelling
Some of the finest examples of watch decoration

Physical Outline: The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century by Catherine Cardinal

  • Title: The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century
  • ISBN: 0-55521-476-2
  • Author: Catherine Cardinal
  • Translator: Jacques Pages
  • Published by Wellfleet Press, 1st translated edition, 1989
  • Format: A large hardcover book with its original dust jacket
  • Pages: 238, detailed text, 74 black and white line illustrations and photographs and 116 colour photographs, with full photographic credits to the rear of the book
  • Size Approx: 250x286mm
  • Approx weight: 1578g

Estimated Book Value:

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

The Watch - From Its Origins to the XIXth Century by Catherine Cardinal and translated by Jacques Pages, estimated value of the pictured copy, a first translated edition, which is in very good condition in a fine dust jacket, £28.00

Estimated value of the same book in good condition in a good dust jacket, £16.00

External Links:

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Enamel decorative art

International Museum of Horology

Quarto Group/Wellfleet Press

William Hogarth

Edward Lear

Roy Lichtenstein

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

J.J. Audubon

Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Leonardo da Vinci

George Stubbs

Maxfield Parrish

Paris-Sorbonne University

Conservatoire National des Arts et des Métiers

Charles Ed. Guillaume

Ferdinand Berthoud

Abraham L. Breguet

Huaud Brothers

Louis Comfort Tiffany