Fine jewelers and watchmakers are giving insight this winter into their storied histories through a series of new books. Fine jewelers such as Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels are highlighting their centuries-long histories, for one, focusing on their inceptions and major milestones. Jewelry designers like David Webb and Francesca Amfitheatrof are also giving peeks into their design processes through their own books, which showcase some of their most unique pieces. In watches, Patek Philippe is giving a comprehensive overview of the brand’s history in a new Assouline tome, which focuses on the craft behind the iconic timepieces.
Here, WWD rounds up seven new watch and jewelry books to read this winter.
“Bulgari: Beyond Time”
Assouline’s new coffee table book celebrates Bulgari’s rich heritage in horology, taking a look at some of the jeweler’s best-known watch collections such as High-Jewelry Serpenti, Bulgari Bulgari, Octo and Grandes Complications. The book offers essays from watch enthusiasts like Christie’s jewelry auctioneer Rahul Kadakia, artist Marina Abramović and Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, among others.
“Cartier Design: A Living Legacy”
Author Ana Elena Mallet takes readers through Cartier’s storied history, highlighting how the heritage jeweler has inspired new generations of designers. The book takes an in-depth look at Cartier’s early days in the 1800s and how its legacy has continued over the centuries. Mallet also focuses on the work of jeweler Jeanne Toussaint and the creations made for Mexican actress María Félix, like her famed “crocodile necklace.”
“Patek Philippe: The Impossible Collection”
Part of Assouline’s “The Impossible Collection,” this new version focuses on the history of Swiss watch brand Patek Philippe, starting from its inception in 1839, when it was founded by Polish refugees Antoine Norbert de Patek and François Czapek. The book examines the craftsmanship behind the brand, focusing on watch components like the precision regulator, perpetual calendar mechanism and the double chronograph, as well as some of the brand’s famed styles.
“The Art of David Webb”
David Webb’s philosophy that jewelry should be regarded as art is the focus of this new book, which showcases more than 120 of his unique pieces during his seven decades in the industry, including his enameled and diamond Mondrian bracelet and Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘60s sheath dress. The book is includes photographs, paintings and fashion that highlight Webb’s storied career.
“A Dictionary of Wonders: Van Cleef & Arpels”
This A-to-Z dictionary guides readers through the reigning themes and design codes of Van Cleef & Arpels since the fine jeweler was established in the late 1800s. Written by Fabienne Reybaud, the book takes readers through Van Cleef & Arpels’ history in jewelry and watchmaking, highlighting unique pieces and artistic collaborations.
Author Ariel Adams takes readers through the history of watch brand G-Shock, following founder Kikuo Ibe in the early ’80s as he sets out to create an indestructible watch. The book follows the evolution of the G-Shock watch, chronicling its innovations and offering behind-the-scenes photographs from the brand’s headquarters in Japan.
“Francesca Amfitheatrof: Fantastical Jewels”
Artistic director of jewelry and watches at Louis Vuitton, Francesca Amfitheatrof gives a closer look at four of her jewelry collections. The book focuses on her design process, offering sketches, collages and personal photographs that show her own personal journey with jewelry.