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on 8 December 2007
This book is of course not intended for the repairer of modern quartz watches and would not be bought by such except out of interest. When written it was generally held in high regard and still should be for those requiring an introduction to the workings and repair of the older mechanical watch. There is also a chapter on the workings of the Bulova Accutron. It is profusely illustrated by clear line drawings in many of which the size of the watch parts v. the hands manipulating them is exaggerated for clarity. This is quite amusing until you get down to handling the fiddly bits and want to know what to do next when something pings off into the far distance.
For the non-practical the book gives an insight into the 'works' and for the practical a host of useful information and instruction. The point about tools and solvents by the previous reviewer is well made but such tools are available some new while others may require a trip to eBay.
One does not have to follow de Carle to the letter but he is an excellent guide and although this may not be your only book on the subject it would be a very good first. You can go elsewhere if you are going to take up serious repair work using modern techniques. de Carle knew what he was talking about and if you are a collector at least you will have a fair idea of what goes on inside your acquisitions.
A word of warning to anyone about to tackle a cherished possession. Replacement parts for even moderately 'old' watches are unbelievably difficult to obtain.
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on 8 February 2012
If only there were a Haynes Manual for watches, one could be sure it would tell you what tools are available, which ones to buy, and in what order. It would show you how watches work, using clear "exploded diagrams". It would, first, show you how to service a watch and to perform the routine replacement of the crystal (and there would be "level of difficulty" symbols, viz one or two or three spanners). Then, finally, it would deal with actual repairs (four spanners). The point is, many readers would get what they needed out of the first couple of chapters, and looking at the rest would soon prompt them to realise that if their "pride and joy" ever needed that sort of attention, the best course would be to take it to a specialist. There is no shame in recognising that some things are beyond you.

Meanwhile we must continue to rely on the "classic" books on the subject. This one dates originally from 1946, and is a very good example of this sort of approach. In particular it has good clear diagrams, it goes into a lot of detail about servicing, and at the end there is a list of reasons why a watch might have stopped. But the bulk of the book is given over to a description of repairs involving the manufacture of replacement parts, which is way beyond anything I would be prepared to undertake. And even in relation to servicing, it recommends the use of various techniques which are now out of date, e.g. cleaning watch parts using benzene (which is now known to be carcinogenic) and applying oil using what is essentially a pin.

The diagrams, which are of necessity complex, suffer from being only line drawings - the line linking the name of the part to that part can be difficult to follow. There is very little about the mundane business of replacing a crystal, and what there is appears in the chapter on waterproof watches, detailing various designs for ensuring watertightness which are now, I suspect, mainly of historical interest. How you get an ordinary crystal out of an ordinary watch is not dealt with at all. Until Haynes turn their attention to this field, however, this continues to be the best available book on the subject.
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on 22 August 2011
Obviously a very good technical text. It does however expect you to know quite a bit. It would be better for beginners if it started with basics , ie how a watch works, then all the components before jumping into serviceing etc. Diagrams not great either,. expect thats down to age
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on 11 December 2010
This book is an absolute must for the aspiring watchmaker. If you're into tinkering, you must have it. From the most simple, to the high qualty movements with adjustable balance wheels - it's all there. highly recommended.
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on 9 February 2004
This book was written during the War and last updated in the 60's, so no mention of quartz watches. Also it may not be easy to get hold of the parts and tools and impossible to get the solvents he suggests.
It is very wordy and very short on pictures. I would have preferred a Haynes manual approach.
I may find it interesting to read but wouldn't risk taking an heirloom apart under its guidance.
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on 23 April 2010
Donald De Carle is an old time watch master, and if like me you prefer to sport a mechanical watch in traditional fashion, then this book is excellent in describing the workings of top quality watches such as Rolex, Omega, Bulova ect, it is however, more for the dedicated watch repairer or maker with plenty of spare time to utilise or has watches as a hobby. Their is no reference to battery watches,so pehaps no interest to the younger man. But to the discerning watch fan this book is a must.Practical Watch Repairing
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on 23 February 2012
Even though this book is now over 60 years old, it is still the #1 reference for me.

De Carle describes all necessary techniques involved in watch repairing - including making your own parts!

Also, adjusting a watch to different positions, the use of a timegrapher (back then vibrograph, but still the same), it's all in the book.

The most complete reference when it comes to watch repair.

WatchGuy[...]
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on 22 February 2015
Bought this to accompany the book by the same author on Clock Repairing. Also I have a small collection of quality watches I'd not dare try and fix myself.

it's nice to understand the craft even if you don't dare pull your Tag Monaco to bits, understanding the evolution of watches and how accuracy is obtained makes the wearer just appreciate what they have more. Maybe you'll even take better care as a result.

An old book now but the mechanical watches haven't really changed and although the writing style does show it's age with lectures on a service persons decorum, attitude to the customer, respect of tools, honesty and diligence....if only we all cared about customer service as much as Donald appears to.

So even if you don't think you will be repairing your watch I'd recommend this to any Watch fanatic with a technical mind.
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on 21 March 2013
Whatever your ability, this is a first-rate book. Makes a fascinating read. I would really recommend this book to anyone.
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on 24 April 2013
I really find this one a joy to read. It is well written, contains 100's of well drawn pictures to explain what it necessary and covers almost everything. It is written with amusing anecdotes and lots of pictures to explain the text.

A great reference book for starting horology
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