A Man and His Watch: Iconic Watches and Stories from the Men Who Wore Them Info

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“I’ve paged through stacks of books on the
history of watches. . . . But I hadn’t come across a book that
actually moved me until I picked up A Man and His Watch. The
volume is filled with heartfelt stories.”
—T: The
New York Times Style Magazine


Paul Newman wore his
Rolex Daytona every single day for 35 years until his death in 2008. The
iconic timepiece, probably the single most sought-after watch in the
world, is now in the possession of his daughter Clea, who wears it every
day in his memory. Franklin Roosevelt wore an elegant gold Tiffany
watch, gifted to him by a friend on his birthday, to the famous Yalta
Conference where he shook the hands of Joseph Stalin and Winston
Churchill. JFK’s Omega worn to his presidential inauguration,
Ralph Lauren’s watch purchased from Andy Warhol’s personal
collection, Sir Edmund Hillary’s Rolex worn during the first-ever
summit of Mt. Everest . . . these and many more compose the stories of
the world’s most coveted watches captured in A Man and His
Watch
. Matthew Hranek, a watch collector and NYC men’s style
fixture, has traveled the world conducting firsthand interviews and
diving into exclusive collections to gather the never-before-told
stories of 76 watches, completed with stunning original photography of
every single piece. Through these intimate accounts and Hranek’s
storytelling, the watches become more than just timepieces and status
symbols; they represent historical moments, pioneering achievements,
heirlooms, family mementos, gifts of affection, and lifelong
friendships.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for A Man and His Watch: Iconic Watches and Stories from the Men Who Wore Them:

2

November 25, 2017

Setting aside the inherent sexism, this is an excellent book for all watch fans - it sets out individual people, their watches, and the stories behind them - where and when they came to have them, and ...Full Review
5

May 08, 2019

As someone who has a lot of love towards watches ever since a child, and is now getting into watch collecting, I have a lot of appreciation for this book. There truly is a special bond behind a man (I'm sure the same can go for women, but I personally haven't encountered such stories) and his watch. Whether it's an heirloom, it has some special story and meaning to it or it's the watch you've been wanting to buy your whole life, a watch can be a very special item. If you are into watches or are As someone who has a lot of love towards watches ever since a child, and is now getting into watch collecting, I have a lot of appreciation for this book. There truly is a special bond behind a man (I'm sure the same can go for women, but I personally haven't encountered such stories) and his watch. Whether it's an heirloom, it has some special story and meaning to it or it's the watch you've been wanting to buy your whole life, a watch can be a very special item. If you are into watches or are curious about the subject and you'd like to hear some heartfelt stories connected to them, I recommend you get this book. Besides the stories it's full of very good photos of the mentioned watches so you're not just reading about them. Also, the book is a beautiful hardcover and it just looks amazing all in all. It's definitely something I'm going to be rereading in the future. ...more
5

Jan 28, 2018

A Horological Waltz

I found myself immersed into the stories behind each watch like an audience member at his favorite opera. I for one am an avid watch enthusiast and this book hit the spot in so many ways. Highly recommend it for anyone that prides themselves to be a fan of history, design and genius.
5

May 05, 2019

Reading this book was pure joy to me. There are multiple reasons for this to be the case.

To start with, this book was gifted to me by a close friend of mine who actually got me into watches in the first place. Hence it will always have a special place in my small personal library.
Secondly, I believe one of the most interesting aspects of this book is the fact that it portrays many different kinds of watches: from basic and cheap quartz watches, to high-end luxury vintage watches. However, they Reading this book was pure joy to me. There are multiple reasons for this to be the case.

To start with, this book was gifted to me by a close friend of mine who actually got me into watches in the first place. Hence it will always have a special place in my small personal library.
Secondly, I believe one of the most interesting aspects of this book is the fact that it portrays many different kinds of watches: from basic and cheap quartz watches, to high-end luxury vintage watches. However, they are all elegantly matched to an interesting story, either about the watch itself, how they were obtained or their relationship to their owner. And this leads me to the third and final reason I loved this book. People.
"A Man and His Watch" works as a perfect reminder that man is by nature a social animal. Watches, as most things in life, are better and more deeply appreciated when related to human experience.
...more
5

Mar 31, 2018

I’m a watch guy. I especially like mechanical pieces, and there are plenty of them showcased in Matt Hranek’s manly book.

Most of the stories shared are a delight to read, like Dr. Jack Carlson’s 1914 Waltham Trench Watch. Made for American soldiers in World War I, the watch “has a shrapnel guard...In a way, the idea is morbidly humorous—you’ll get blown up, but the crystal won’t get cracked.”

Or the story of watch dealer John Cristcitiello’s Breitling Chronomat, a piece he bought at a watch show I’m a watch guy. I especially like mechanical pieces, and there are plenty of them showcased in Matt Hranek’s manly book.

Most of the stories shared are a delight to read, like Dr. Jack Carlson’s 1914 Waltham Trench Watch. Made for American soldiers in World War I, the watch “has a shrapnel guard...In a way, the idea is morbidly humorous—you’ll get blown up, but the crystal won’t get cracked.”

Or the story of watch dealer John Cristcitiello’s Breitling Chronomat, a piece he bought at a watch show twenty years ago. It belonged to an American GI who took it to a repair shop in the south in 1941 to get serviced and “never came back for it.” The story gave him “goose bumps” when he heard it.

Or the forty-four Speedmasters that James H. Ragan, NASA engineer, helped test and later transferred to the Smithsonian for preservation after astronauts wore them around the moon during the Apollo program. “And at first [the Smithsonian] didn’t want them!”

Although Paul Newman’s Rolex Cosmograph is on the cover, the book is not exclusively focused on luxury timepieces. Casio, Timex, and other less expensive brands are also spotlighted with great stories from the successful men who own them.

The photographs are exquisite—all tight close ups revealing the character and grace of every piece. At least 23 of the 38 contributors in this book are New Yorkers. That’s not a criticism, only an observation. But if Hranek decides to write a second volume, which I think he should—there are thousands of watch stories out there—perhaps it should include fewer Yankees. Hahahaha!
...more
3

Jan 03, 2019

So, I’ve developed a bit of a watch habit over the last year. I’ve always liked watches but never been that worried about the details.

I stuck this on my Christmas list as it sounded interesting — a collection of photographs and stories about watches and their owners.

It’s more of a coffee-table book if I’m honest. Even the sort of thing you’d find in a waiting room, something you can dip into and read a few stories while waiting to be called for an appointment.

The photographs are beautiful. The So, I’ve developed a bit of a watch habit over the last year. I’ve always liked watches but never been that worried about the details.

I stuck this on my Christmas list as it sounded interesting — a collection of photographs and stories about watches and their owners.

It’s more of a coffee-table book if I’m honest. Even the sort of thing you’d find in a waiting room, something you can dip into and read a few stories while waiting to be called for an appointment.

The photographs are beautiful. The range of contributors is a bit odd though. There are some famous names, some chefs, and a lot of watch sellers/journalists/company owners. That makes for a very narrow field. It feels like a boys club.

There’s also a lot of very expensive or luxury pieces, and a predominance of Rolex (I classified 52 as luxury, with 17 being from Rolex, 25 as non-luxury — and I was generous in my classification of non-luxury).

There are a few lower-end pieces (a couple of G-Shocks, a Sears Winnie the Pooh watch, some Swatches, etc), but invariably it’s all about watches that are super expensive — even among the high-end these are the ultra-rare Swiss pieces.

It’s nice enough to flick through, but with such a narrow field and limited space to discuss each piece (some contributions are literally a single paragraph) it doesn’t provide much more than an auction catalogue. ...more
5

Feb 24, 2018

This was a fantastic read. I love watches so the author is preaching to the converted, but i'd never given that much thought to owning a vintage watch, or associating memories and meaning to watches - possibly because for me, no other family member has an interest in, or owns a watch of any value or meaning. I also now appreciate the beauty of an aged watch and the individuality of each watch as time leaves its mark on the case. New watches seem very sterile in comparison. I get it. I completely This was a fantastic read. I love watches so the author is preaching to the converted, but i'd never given that much thought to owning a vintage watch, or associating memories and meaning to watches - possibly because for me, no other family member has an interest in, or owns a watch of any value or meaning. I also now appreciate the beauty of an aged watch and the individuality of each watch as time leaves its mark on the case. New watches seem very sterile in comparison. I get it. I completely get it.

It has opened up a new interest for me, and I will now consider buying vintage watches (where previously I always bought new).

One quote from the book by Hamliton Powell really resonated with me:

“Taking a moment to wind my watch means giving myself twenty seconds of the day to create a sense of purpose as to how I’m going to use my time—to ask myself, Am I going to live today with intention?”

I find that statement pretty deep, and owning a wind-up watch really highlights how precious life is, and how we should make the most of it. I don't even own a wind-up watch as it seemed like too much hassle, but now I want to; just so that I can think more clearly about what time is, and not to waste it.

Brilliant. ...more
5

Dec 26, 2018

Beautiful stories, beautiful photos, and beautiful overall presentation. Great book.
5

Feb 19, 2018

Everyone has a story to tell

A very entertaining book with tales of men and their watches, a kaleidoscope of experiences told by men from a dynamic range of backgrounds.
5

Aug 19, 2018

A great book that all people who are into watches should read.

This book is a great read. It tells stories about special watches and people that have had memories attached to them.
2

Mar 14, 2018

Pretty pictures and some interesting stories, but ultimately unsubstantial.
4

Jan 16, 2018

More engaging than I anticipated- I may just have to start collecting watches!
3

Apr 07, 2019

Features images of watches, some owned by famous, such as Sly Stallone, ELVIS PRESLEY, and James Bond.
4

Jan 23, 2019

Good intro to horological interest

To all fans of watches and horological stories. Good examples of rare and exotic watches with also normal and accesible pieces
4

May 16, 2018

Quick read. Very interesting and a great idea for a book. I hope he does another one.
5

Jul 02, 2019

One of the best watch books you can find right now. Watches are all about the stories behind them, and this book is exactly that.
5

Apr 28, 2019

Interesting read

If you love watches or even just love the stories of watch enthusiasts,this is a good read to the history and lore of watches.
4

Dec 16, 2019

A good book about men and their watches, but one side note: the author called Stalin a "premier", that fact rubbed me the wrong way and gave a bad aftertaste. Also almost all people in this book live in NYC. A good addition in ones own personal library.
3

Jun 08, 2019

I became extremely interested in watches only a few months ago and now I am fully hooked. I liked the extremely detailed photos in this book a lot. Also it shows that there is way more to a watch than status and utility. A watch can tell a story.
3

Jan 05, 2018

Not as interesting and gripping

The book is not as interesting and gripping as i imagined it would be. Nevertheless it's still a one time read. My favourite segment is the Ralph Lauren one.
5

Jul 15, 2019

Enjoyable read. Numerous watches ranging from Casio F-7, Swatch, Timex Indiglo, Patek Philippe, (several) Rolex and more showcased with meaningful stories behind them. This let's you appreciate the history and sentimental value to each timepiece.
3

Mar 02, 2019

The photography is excellent. Very nice, close-up pics of watches.

I thought the stories were very hit/miss. For every "I found this in my grandfathers drawer" story, there was a "Yay, I bought a 1 of 3 Rolex for only $350,000!" And I also fond the story-tellers to be a very small, limited group of New Yorkers. It's like a group of collectors got together and wrote a book about their stories, and oh yeah, we'll throw in one from Mario Andretti and Sly Stalone.

Meh.
5

Oct 18, 2019

What an enjoyable trek through the worlds of both expensive watches and every day watches! The book provides narratives written by the owners of various watches (along with photographs) describing the sentimental value and love of the watch. The variety of watches is impressive: there are mind-numbingly expensive watches such as a $40,000 Swiss watch and the more typical, but equally wonderful watches such as the Casio G Shock, the Timex indiglow, and the Timex Ironman. In particular, the brief What an enjoyable trek through the worlds of both expensive watches and every day watches! The book provides narratives written by the owners of various watches (along with photographs) describing the sentimental value and love of the watch. The variety of watches is impressive: there are mind-numbingly expensive watches such as a $40,000 Swiss watch and the more typical, but equally wonderful watches such as the Casio G Shock, the Timex indiglow, and the Timex Ironman. In particular, the brief story of the creation of the G Shock and also the description of how Omega went to space with NASA were interesting.... a fascinating read about the passion and appreciation of watches. ...more
5

Aug 04, 2018

Finally, a book that delves into the stories behind the watches, the collectors -- or watch idiot savants (WIS) -- who enjoy them, and why these fine timepieces have captured the hearts of many men and women across the world. Hranek has collected short, but insightful stories from collectors, with each story accompanied by beautiful photos of some of the rarest and most coveted timepieces. But don't be put off by the dazzling Rolexes; this book includes watches recognizable by the everyman, from Finally, a book that delves into the stories behind the watches, the collectors -- or watch idiot savants (WIS) -- who enjoy them, and why these fine timepieces have captured the hearts of many men and women across the world. Hranek has collected short, but insightful stories from collectors, with each story accompanied by beautiful photos of some of the rarest and most coveted timepieces. But don't be put off by the dazzling Rolexes; this book includes watches recognizable by the everyman, from Timex to Casio's G-Shock. It has a little bit of everything.

More important than the value of these watches are the stories and memories they hold. A Man and His Watch explores that relationship and why watches endure and will endure beyond smart phones.

"If you want to have a good time . . . Then you need a good watch." -- Rocky Balboa

I highly recommend this book to watch lovers everywhere. ...more
5

Sep 21, 2019

This book opened up a new world for me.
Wow!
I never thought that watches would hold much historical importance until and unless it is personal for someone else to talk about it in relation to his or her own life.
The different unique, branded/crafted watches which were worn by each distinct personalities described in this precious book are so like a detailed story of their own - in short, the real glossy pictures put up in this book is so worth it!
Each of the watch featured is not an ordinary one; This book opened up a new world for me.
Wow!
I never thought that watches would hold much historical importance until and unless it is personal for someone else to talk about it in relation to his or her own life.
The different unique, branded/crafted watches which were worn by each distinct personalities described in this precious book are so like a detailed story of their own - in short, the real glossy pictures put up in this book is so worth it!
Each of the watch featured is not an ordinary one; each has a remarkable story to tell.
Stories that say much more by those who own them or wear them can ever tell and stories which can never be told by just mere onlookers who see them decorating the wrists of those who wear them.
This one book happens to be one incredible read????
I thoroughly enjoyed turning page after page reading and fixing my eyes on the watches shown...wow... I am still mesmerized.
I can totally understand the watch craze.
As I am with hoarding books, so does the watch hoarder does this kinda stuff.
The presentation is awesome????
The pictures... I can keep staring at them forever.

Ah those personalized watch inscription at the back of the watches.... Damn nostalgic moments!
What I miss while reading this book was the littlest details of the personalities mentioned. Otherwise 'watchwise' too I would have loved to go much into finer details of each watch mentioned.
But still, it is a great book to read while travelling???? ...more

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