The book begins "Some 13.5 billion years ago....." and proceeds to lay out the progression of the development of time keeping through the ages until the present.
It is a monumental work based on vast research by one of the leading experts on horology. The book is well organized in six sections, each composed of several chapters. In the opening section <Horlogy, A child of Astronomy> it sequentially describes the evolution of chronology from the need of early Homo Sapiens to understand the annual cycles, to the massive stone calendars of the Ancient civilizations, to the sundial and ultimately to the mechanical devices.
The next section <From Clock to Watch> spans two centuries when mechanical clocks became more sophisticated, and with the advent of the spring mechanism, shrunk down to a size easily carried in a pocket.
In the section <Achieving Precision>, Flechon delves into the minutiae of technical progress and artistic styles of watchmaking until the beginning of the 19th century. A paragraph is included about the Englishman John Harrison and his work on the Primary Meridian and Longitude lines that helped mariners sail the seven seas.
The remaining half of the book from the chapter<During the Industrial Revolution 1790-1918> to the final chapter < Precious and Technical Fine Watchmaking from 2000 to the Present Day> is dedicated to the watchmaker's craft, describing in details with illustrations and photographs simple mechanisms to Quartz precision and the rebirth of highly sophisticated and complicated (and very expensive) watches.
At a public reading for his book, Dominique Flechon said : "because we wanted this book to reach the widest possible readership, it was only natural to go beyond the first mechanical clocks of the late thirteenth century and to explore the history of humanity; to return to the origins, first to the early calendars, then to non-mechanical clocks and ultimately Fine Watchmaking whose timepieces are works of art and which, when worn, are the very essence of an art of living."
This 450 pages tome has accomplished its author's goal, but has a few deficits that prevent me from giving it 5 stars; namely the dearth of information on the contribution of specific American watchmakers and the superficial treatment of Harrison and his momentous contribution to chronology, geography, seafaring travel and commerce, which deserved a much more detailed description.