for their prized timepieces. The seriously addicted collector—sometimes called a Watch Idiot Savant or WIS on the ‘net—eventually moves past forum posts and even monthly magazines and begins looking for book-length tomes on watches and watch collecting. Michael Korda’s charming book, Marking Time: Collecting Watches and Thinking about Time would be high on our list of first stops for the budding or even veteran collector to read. It’s that rare collector’s book that even someone who isn’t a diehard watch aficionado might read and enjoy.
The reason’s are many. It’s superbly well written for one thing. Besides being a successful novelist, Korda was Editor-in-Chief at Simon & Schuster publishers for many years and it shows in the book’s clear, entertaining prose. Indeed, you feel while reading it almost like you’ve sat down beside a terribly witty, erudite gentleman raconteur on a train…one who just happens to very much like watches. It’s never boring. There are no dry, dull historical passages to slow down the proceedings. Korda tells amusing anecdotes about how he came to be a watch collector and the fascinating journey its led him on for over fifty years. Perhaps most importantly, he does a better job than anyone we’ve encountered in explaining the seemingly impossible: why we watch lover’s are so watch-obsessed in the first place. His answer is worthy of a direct quote:
“We cannot possess time or stop it or hold onto it; it’s like water running through our fingers. But we can possess the instruments that measure time—hence, the endless fascination with clocks and watches, and the fact so many people collect them, often without knowing why, except for the fact they’re pretty or mechanically interesting or expensive, or simply because they draw envious glances from those who know the value of the object on our wrist.”
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