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One of the reasons I love watches is that there is always something for everyone, and that any watch can develop an inherent sentimentality with its owner. However, sentimental value is of course something that only an individual can attribute to a watch over time; I have one of my grandfather’s watches in my watch box, a Citizen Eco-Drive, and this to me is a daily reminder of one of my heroes.

When I learned of Matt Hranek’s “A Man and His Watch” I was intrigued, I decided I had to get myself a copy. An entire book dedicated to celebrating the relationships between iconic watches, from all walks of life, and the stories from the men who wore them? Perfect!

A Man & His Watch by Matt Hranek

The book was everything I had hoped for and more. It talks the talk and walks the walk. The book is presented in a slipcase, embossed with a relief depicting the outline of a chronograph, which when you remove the book from the slipcase presents the front cover of the book as a stunning photograph of one of the single most iconic watches – Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona.

You can easily read this entire book in one sitting; it is an utterly captivating series of accounts written by the owners of each watch, revealing the stories which underpin the personal bond between them and their watch. Make no mistake, these are not all ‘safe-queens’, or inordinately expensive timepieces; these are very well loved, well used, and in some cases have been through everything the world could possibly throw at them. This book is a real testament to the universality of sentimental value, a tone it sets eloquently from the outset where the author describes his father’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust, which he has to this day.

Each of the stories is accompanied by a jaw-droppingly beautiful photograph by Stephen Lewis. Nothing fancy, no ‘wrist shots’ or ‘pocket shots’, no renders – just raw images, celebrating the wear-and-tear and placing the character of each watch front and centre. Every photograph is a front on shot, showing a portion of strap above and below the case – a concept well facilitated by the large, portrait format of the book.

Some examples of watches included in the book are Sir Edmund Hillary’s Rolex Oyster Perpetual worn at the summit of Mount Everest with Tenzing Norgay, the author’s own Sears Winnie the Pooh watch, President John F Kennedy’s inauguration Omega, and Ralph Lauren’s own Cartier Tank. Other pieces include an indigo-dyed Casio G-Shock, a Tornek-Rayville TR-900 which saw its owner through six years of combat in Vietnam, and a Rolex Submariner found on a beach in Dorset. There are of course a great many more watches in the book, each with a real story to be told.

This book is a timely and poetic reminder that watches will last a long time. This longevity is perhaps a key trait as to why a timepiece can take on such importance and significance to an owner. By wearing a watch, you breathe life into the story of it which one day will be fondly looked back upon by future generations of owners.

As the author puts it “Watches tell the world a bit about who you are, and they can, if you’re lucky, connect you to the people in your life who matter most.”

Time with Matt Hranek’s A Man and His Watch is truly time well spent, and I would not hesitate to recommend this book to any watch lover, or even to someone who is not particularly enthused by watches – if one coffee-table book is able to convey why some folks are infatuated with watches, it is most certainly this.


Weight 3 lbs
Dimensions 13 × 10 × 2 in


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  • Package Size: 25cm x 32cm x 5cm (9.84in x 12.60in x 1.97in)
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