Book Reviews and Commentaries


“I have for months anxiously awaited my 2 copies of your new book. The first word that comes to mind on first perusal is “stupendous” in every imaginable way. I am so happy that you published with Schiffer as they are a class act and fulfilled the impressive possibilities of this book in terms of size, lay-out, quality, and color. You, Joy, and Linda must be given beaucoup credit for the organization, look, and final content of the book. Fred, I give you the ultimate credit for the wealth of wonderful, useful information and history. This is more than a reference book and identification/price guide. The obvious labor of love is manifest from cover to cover.
As you know, I have lots of areas of collector interest and the books to support those interests. I also have many, many wristwatch books….and I have all the best ones…whether you are talking about American watches, Rolex, Patek, Omega…whatever… I must say that your book is the absolute best wristwatch collector book I have ever owned. There are so many things totally unique to your book; particularly the section devoted to individual watch identification where before one even gets to the text you have given us an exhaustive list of observations as to rarity, configurations, collectibility, case wear characterisitics, numbers known to exist and variations, dimensions…..everything one could possibly want to know to feed the brain, the habit, and to authenticate. Your hard work shows. This is the best. I love it. Your dedication seeps through every page as an obvious labor of love. Even the little personal vignettes about special finds is totally unique and really fun.
I can’t thank you enough for this book. It is nice to see such a worthy project turn out to be even better than anyone could have hoped or imagined. You will be giving many people many hours of pleasure and breathe new life into the Illinois wristwatch legacy. For that all readers owe you the debt of gratitude that is always owed to scholars of your level and fortitude who create the definitive work on an area of history deserving a warm spotlight.”
—Hammond Scott

“Your book is a masterpiece. You will never know how indebted our whole family will always be to you for writing this scholarly and illuminating, readable, beautifully illustrated book on the company and the beautiful watches. My mother remembers when her dad, Willard Bunn, sold it! She says that for years after the sale people would ask him if he thought about the Illinois Watch Co., and he said, “every time I look at my watch.”…Your info about the Bunns is right on target, and we were so pleased with how you treated them. By the way, according to my mother, her grandmother Ada Richardson Bunn had the first watch.”
—Elizabeth Greer, great-great granddaughter of Jacob Bunn

“[A]n extremely impressive book…you have REALLY raised the bar! It’s a fantastic piece of work…”
—Rene Rondeau, Hamilton watch authority and author

“Magnificent job…Fred Friedberg has accomplished the impossible! This book is incredibly thorough and detailed. It provides a comprehensive overview and analysis of the Illinois phenomenon, and will surely be the ‘bible’ of Illinois collectors for generations to come.”
—Phil Harnage

“I love this book…I have learned a lot from it already!”
—Roy Erhardt, horology author and researcher

“I just arrived back from a short vacation to find that the book has arrived. It was well worth the wait. At a quick glance, it is “outstanding” ! ! ! You have done an excellent job giving personal experiences, historical facts, and detailed descriptions. This will book is a great addition to my reference books on fine timepieces.”
—Phil Maietta

“I can only say that this book is fantastic. I am quite impressed. You did a great job and a great service to collectors everywhere. This book is the one all others will be judged by.”
—Larry Holzman

“Fantastic book…..I just got it in the mail yesterday. Boy, you really did your homework! So much interesting information, I feel as though I had a ringside seat at the factory myself.”
—Jon Borden

“Received my copy of The Illinois Watch book and have only one word for it —SPECTACULAR! Congratulations…a very nice piece of work!”
—Frank Nagy

“Just saw a copy of your new book…WOW!!! The book is better than I ever imagined it would be. You have done an OUTSTANDING job on this!!! When can I come over and get my autographed copy!!????”
—Jon Rosenbaum

“I got the book yesterday and just finished reading it from cover to cover. It’s an awesome book. The best collectible book I have seen! I love the fantastic finds.”
—Dave Markey

“You should feel terrific about the book since it really tells a story of watch history in the state and the country.”
—Dave Allen

“This is one great book…You did a great job Fred.”
—Bernell J. Burns

“WOW!!! Congratulations… the book is incredible!”
—Bryan Girouard

“I received your fantastic book the other day. It certainly is a masterful piece of work! You must have put an immense amount of time into this book. You can be very proud of your intense research and hard work.”
—Joanne Blumberg

“Got the book, it’s awesome.”
—Mark Cardalucci

“Just received your book – many kudos!! What a wealth of information and history! Great photos!”
—William Thomas

“…impressed by the quality of your research. This book will be a key reference for many generations into the future.”
—Larry Burks

“The book came yesterday and it’s great! I just got started reading it last night and I’m finding it to be very interesting. I think the historical notes add a lot to the general interest of the book so that even somebody like me who isn’t a collector can appreciate it better.”
—Eric Lindgren

“The book is GREAT! I knew it would be good, but had no idea how GOOD! WOW! The pictures, the details, the history, it is just fantastic! It’s easy to see it is an act of love. My God, if you did this in your off time, and on your travels, I can’t imagine what you could do full time!”
—John Ariatti

“The book is great! And lots of text, not just a bunch of pretty pictures! I started reading last night, it is interesting! When you said you’d been doing research, I had no idea how much research!”
—Julie Stevens

“You have produced a gem.”
—Paul Kierstein

“…represents a monumental addition to horological history. I know a little bit about doing research…just a little bit to recognize what an incredible effort you have made just in gathering, compiling, sifting and sorting the facts and the human interest side of the Illinois watch. Further, the way you have written and organized the wealth of material is outstanding. This is going to be both a ‘good read’ and the proverbial ‘gold mine’. The layout and picture quality are first-class.”
—Alex Black

“I just brought the book down to show to off to my parents who are visiting. They were amazed that someone could know this much about one watch company. The book is beautiful, fun to read, a great resource and of course fascinating…Wow is the best word to describe it. Congratulations and thank you on behalf of all of us crazy…collectors. I can’t wait to continue reading all the great stories. You have really exceeded everyone’s very high expectations.”
—Rick Broern

“Got the book a couple of days ago and it exceeded my expectations. It’s fantastic!!!”
—Chris Odgers

“Received our copy of The Illinois Watch in the mail last week. It is BEAUTIFUL! Thanks much for such a wonderful labor. It is truly a tribute to the workers, city, and history of the factory. My very best wishes on the book’s success.”
—Bill Furry, Illinois Historical Society

“…started reading the book seriously this AM. I love the book! Well organized, very nice graphics, easy fast informative readying. Delightful first hand accounts of great finds. Very personal and passionate account, informed and modest. Like your personality, no bravado or hyperbole! A job well done…can’t wait to get home from work and read some more. Thanks for doing such a great job. All accolades are well deserved. Congratulations. I’m delighted.”
—Ken Jacobs, owner, Wanna Buy a Watch?

“WOW! It’s so much more and better than I was expecting. Your organization of such a vast amount of information seem so logical and the inclusion of comments from friends, collectors and experts, as well as the historical perspectives, adds a great deal.”
—Wes Betsill

“Your book arrived yesterday, and I had my first chance to look into it last night. It is a gorgeous tome. You must have put a lot of work into it and should be very proud.”
—Frank Preiser

“I think that the book embodies you quite nicely. It is , beginning from the cover onwards, an aesthetic and publishing marvel… The book also is a wonderful reflection of your spirit… The book also demonstrates your passion, discipline, erudition and vision. In short, my friend, I congratulate you on a stupendous job and welcome addition to a world in need of aesthetic balance.”
—Elliot Abemayor

“Just received my copy yesterday. Outstanding book! My watchmaker was so impressed he asked me to order one for him, which I just did. Thanks for putting this together.”
—Dathan Weldon

“I skimmed thru the book last night and even that cursory look impressed me mightily! This is not just a book of ‘pretty pictures of my collection’…but a substantial work which just oozes with archival research details. The photography is excellent…”
—Stan Wolcott

“I just received the book in the mail and have been enjoying going though it.There’s alot of work that went into writing a book like that.It will be a must have book for any serious watch collector.”
—Ken Lynn

“The Illinois watch book arrived Monday and I wanted you to know that it is really a beautiful book and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I had no idea it would be as extensive as it is and I can’t imagine how much time it must have taken you to put it all together. I am not an Illinois collector but I now know more about Illinois watches in two days of reading about them than I have learned over the last 20 years that I have been collecting watches.”
—Daryle Johnson

“it is more than I had hoped for. I’m sure I will spend hours between its covers. Your pictures are large and exceptionally clear, showing the details we collectors look for. Although I’m not an author, I do recognize the fact you had to put a life time of knowledge and thousands of hours of work into compiling this work…even though it is on a subject that will not allow millions of copies to be sold. However those of us that are interested in Illinois watches, and history of the company, will always be in your debt. The book would be a bargain at twice the price. I am a very impressed, I hope you have sent a copy to the Library of Congress.”
—Bill Miller

“The book is magnificent. I can’t get over how fantastic it is. I received the books yesterday and read the much of it last evening. The history is so well detailed. The photographs are sensational. My wife is rather alarmed that I am now totally convinced that Illinois watches will make a great compliment to my Hamilton obsession.”
—Bill Hansen

“WOW!!!! WOW!!!! Words cannot express my amazement at “THE BOOK” that arrived today…You have done a masterful job and I’m sure this will be the definitive record and resource for Illinois watch collectors for years to come…”
—Steve Patton

“Congratulations! Today I received “The Book,” a work you can and should be proud of. The book will surely be acclaimed as the definitive text for the Illinois Watch Co…Way to go.”
—Harold McMahon

“…I can HONESTLY say that it is the most useful collecting book that I have EVER seen! (I also have a relatively large collection of books from perhaps a dozen or so different American and European artists from the 19th and 20th century…so I’ve looked at and own a LOT more of these than I do watch books.) As far as watch books go, I have never seen one that approaches your book for usefulness and for basic and complex information. I also REALLY like how you intertwined the 1st-hand accounts and the historical references. You should be very proud…as this will now be the standard for all others!!!”
—Rick Vess

“Got your book today and am blown away. Outstanding.”
—Spencer Krupp

“I got the book today. It is much nicer, more professional and more interesting than I had ever expected. Congratulations on something really wonderful!”
—Gary Bernstein

“I just got the books this morning, and I must say, it is an AWESOME achievement! There is so much interesting information, so many stellar pictures, and all done in a very engaging way. There are many wonderful aspects to it, but I especially enjoy the little stories of people’s “finds”. Super job! I know I’ll be glued to it for a long, long time. Sorry I was so impatient for its arrival. Well worth the wait…”
—Len Brunson

“…the book is so scholarly, that once you start to read it, it pulls you in….”
—Dan Zazove

“Wow!!!!!!! ah …er…WOW…OR WHEWEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!! What else can I say. I am at a loss for words. Just take ALL THE KUDOS you are receiving, tape them end to end and sign my name on the bottom. YOU HAVE REALLY EARNED IT. No wonder it took so long. What a wonderful tribute to the Illinois Watch Co. by a wonderful friend and passionate, dedicated collector. You have set a new standard for anyone that has the courage to follow.”
—Farrell Gay

“I loved your book! Kudos for an exceptional work that should be the model for all watch books to follow, without exception!”
—Tim Berndt