David Chokron is a specialist watchmaking journalist based in Paris.
People always ask me where my passion for watches comes from. I have been a journalist writing almost exclusively about watches for ten years and this always surprises those asking the question. I give the answer that is easiest to explain and understand. A friend of my father always wore fine watches and my admiration for him focused on the objects he collected. But the reality is that watches fascinate me. It's subject with gigantic dimensions, encompassing time, geography, technology and, in terms of its language, the watch is a universe in itself. Yet the watch itself is so small, as are the brands and their histories, relatively speaking. This difference of scale is unusual. I spend my time trying to explain what is beautiful, valid, interesting, new, or what is a failure and inacceptable, in this vast microcosm.
Budget should not be an issue as long as the approach is honest, or thought through, or superlative. Watch are based on such varied foundations that it would be unfair both to the items themselves and those who love them to try to distil its essence. Nevertheless, the temptation to focus on the best, the most crazy, the most pleasing and the most powerful can be great. But I like to show the best of what is on offer, avoiding rabble-rousing and pedantry. This may well often end up being exceptional watches and that is all well and good, because we have to be able to dream, to be carried away by the strength, the poetry and the sheer ingenuity of things. It's vital for our sanity. But we should also stay reasonable and not lose sight of the reality of everyday wear (and tear). I therefore focus a lot on questions of quality, price and ergonomics.
There is nothing better than a scholarly work for understanding watches, a book that actually serves as a textbook for students of watchmaking at all levels. I have seen it in the hands of teenagers and on the desks of heads of research and development. "Theory of Horlogy" by Messrs. Monnier, Jeanneret, Pelaratti and Reymondin is a bible. For those who are put off by its scholarly approach and its focus on engineering, "The Magic of Watches" by my colleague Louis Nardin, has a clear, educational and inspired approach to the world of watchmaking. It is perfect for watch fans and collectors who want to imporve their general knowledge of watchmaking. For those who want to go back to the historical, economic and strategic roots of the world watch industry, "L'Heure qu'il est" by David S. Landes is THE workd of reference. First published by NRF, it has been out of print for quite a while, but finding one can pave the way to enlightenment.
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