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Book Set Reviews / Comments

In this section, I will Post comments I have received about the new book set and reviews.

FORTUNE MAGAZINE BOOK SET REVIEW:

When American Watches Rivaled the Swiss

By Norman Pearlstine

July 4, 2018

It is not easy for addicts to write objectively about their dealers. But Fred Friedberg is essential to any story about my “drug of choice” – vintage Illinois watches from the 1920s and 1930s.

Fred has bought and sold thousands of these iconic beauties over the years, including several dozen to me in the past decade. Other collectors include actor Malcolm McDowell and television producer Greg Hart.

I thought his own obsession was sated in 2004 when he wrote The Illinois Watch: The Life and Times of a Great American Watch Company. He was only getting started and this month he has published a five-volume, 1600-page set, The Illinois Watch & Its Hamilton Years: The Finale of a Great American Watch Company.

Looking at today’s luxury watch market, dominated by European manufacturers such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, and Omega, it is easy to forget there was a time when American manufacturers rivaled the Europeans. Cincinnati’s Gruen and Geneva’s Rolex both bought their movements from the same source, Jean Aegler. Hamilton, based in Lancaster, Pa., introduced an art deco line, with watches costing as much as $125. Elgin, Waltham, and Bulova also produced quality watches.

The Illinois watch, however, was in a league of its own. Founded in 1870 in Springfield, Illinois, the company produced America’s most interesting art noveau, art deco, and pre-modern watches from 1919 through the 1930s, when Hamilton, which had bought the brand in 1928, stopped producing them. During those years, Illinois produced more than 180 men’s and women’s models, many with multiple case and dial variations.

Friedberg, 73, researched and wrote his books in Irvine, California while serving as general counsel and a top executive at Toshiba America Medical Systems Corp. He began collecting watches himself in 1988 after seeing some for sale in small shops in Washington, DC and in New York.

Friedberg’s five-volume opus is remarkable. In addition to including 1,800 images of Illinois watches, he lists over 24 pages of movement serial numbers and other dates.
Signed copies of the box set can be bought for $175 on Friedberg’s website. Fred says all proceeds will go to charity. His site also lists more than 100 watches for sale, with prices ranging from $250 to $7,000.

Norman Pearlstine is executive editor of the Los Angeles Times. He was formerly chief content officer of Time Inc. and Bloomberg LP.

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Hi Fred. Just picked up your books !!!!!! Wow. What an accomplishment. Congratulations. Tell me Fred. Do you ever sleep ? I took a quick look and what a high quality effort in colour . You must be relieved to have that project out the door. Looking forward to looking and reading it. Thanks

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Fred: the book set arrived today and I am utterly and completely blown away. The pictures you posted of the book set on the internet don’t begin to do it justice. I just love everything about it. It has a great feel to it looks very professionally done. I can’t wait to get to the insides of it. You should be incredibly proud, and kudos to Joy as well for accompanying you on this journey. We will talk soon. Your friend,

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Received the book set! It looks great!

****************************************************************** When I saw your Illinois Watch book set discussed in recent NAWCC publications and then in the online watch forums, I knew immediately that I wanted to obtain a copy, and Alison offered to order a set for my birthday.

I also wanted to attempt to address your question regarding my reaction to your books.  Given my birthday was yesterday (Monday), I have realistically just begun to explore your amazing set of books.  First reaction is that your books are beautifully presented and photographed, exquisitely researched, and full of amazing contextual information.  I’m truly in awe of the amount of research that it must have required to uncover the corporate records, as well as collecting period advertising, finding and illustrating examples of rare movements and watches, . . . And you succeeded fabulously at pulling all of the best and most relevant information together into a work of art, assembling and integrating the tidbits of data into a repository of knowledge.  I sense many enjoyable hours ahead as I complete my journey through your books.  Vintage watch collectors certainly should feel a debt of gratitude to you, for your dedication and perserverance in bringing your timeless publication to all of us!
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I am still blown away by the sheer size and amount of content. I think it will take me a weekend to see just how far I can plow through. I bet a week total. The layout and graphics and photos and all the detail is SO mind blowing. I said WOW dozens of times as I turned the pages. It is one surprise after the next!!!

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Yeah! They are here, Fred!

When XXX got home, he brought the boxes in and unboxed one set.

WOW, VERY IMPRESSIVE!! I’m sure people are freaking out completely when they receive their books and start turning through them. (I started with Volume 1 [naturally!], and XXX with Volume 2. Then we swapped. Afterwards it was on to the others in similar fashion, with Volume 3 for XXX  and Volume 4 for me, and then another swap. Then I got Volume 5 first.)

Nobody will have been prepared for the overall effect — not even those of us who’d gone through the proofs. Having the books physically actualized, as we hold these massive volumes in our hands and turn the pages, is an altogether different experience! We’ll give you some specific reactions later, once things sink in a bit.

Meanwhile, congratulations!
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Beautiful and HEAVY! So exciting. Congratulations !

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Just arrived!! They look magnificent, I’ll read them later today.

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XXX had books sent to my house here in Charleston today . I only got a brief moment to scan them, but they are beyond awesome. I can only imagine the work and dedication that went into producing this masterpiece. This project was You should be so proud of them spectacular Fred , they were obviously a labor of love and the Illinois Watch Company will live on forever thanks to you

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You should be so proud of them spectacular Fred love them !😀👍

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I got my books today I am thrilled they are outrageous !!

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Arrived today!
I’ve started browsing through it and it looks fantastic… congratulations on a job well done. I think it will occupy most of my free time for the next several weeks at a minimum.

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Wow! Stand Back In Amazement!

I just received my five (yes five) volumes of Fred Friedberg’s books on the American Illinois Watch Company.

Apart from some amazing research, and new discoveries, we have articles, adverts and beautiful photos.

Of course I have not read all 5 volumes yet, but what I have read and scanned is AWESOME.

Great work Fred – KUDOS to you, and thanks for devoting so much effort for us all.

I ask you all to buy and read these remarkable books.

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I had an awesome surprise awaiting me when I came home from a tough day at work! Fred’s book set!

I can’t wait to sit down and read them cover to cover!

Thank you Fred for all of your work and your patience in putting these volumes together. You will never truly know the gratitude your readers have for your dedication to a truly special watch company and it’s followers!

Amazing! :D

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I received my TWO copies of the book set yesterday, one for reading and being an always at-hand reference book along with an immense enjoyment factor, the other set for a MINT, unopened keepsake. Though I was involved in this project during its development, and proudly so, nothing is like having the final product in hand! ABSOLUTELY SENSATIONAL FRED! You are a Master and deserve some type of award for this amazing feat! And I say that just hours after receipt having just perused the volumes! More to follow as I engulf myself into every detail. This first morning I was already late to work as I could not put Volume One down during my morning coffee!

I urge watch collectors regardless of brand, historians and anyone interested in Art Deco, Antiques, Vintage jewelry, Iconic American companies, etc. to buy this fascinating Book set!!!

CONGRATULATIONS my pal Fred!

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Yay!!! I received the set of books !! I needed help carrying them to my apt.!
They are Magnificent and Majestic to say the least!!!
I already read the first chapter.. AND was engulfed with all the information and history and sidebars…
I even read someone named Hank Greenblatt who gave a glowing message about You and his love of all your research and intensity towards detail!!!

You can be so so proud as I know Joy, Zach and Josh must be!
Love Always,👏😘

XXX

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You deserve an Honorary Ph.d!
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Fred,
Let me just say that the book so far has been better than I could have ever imagined. The outter box holds a treasure that boggles the mind when opened. The sheer weight and size of this set is something that you have to see to believe. This isn’t just some coffee table book filled with watch photos, it is a work of art, from the sleeve that holds the 5 volumes to the covers (front and back) to the absolutely incredible watch photography. This screams Art Deco and taking it all in is really mind boggling. I stayed up all night the first night just thumbing through all the photos and am now sitting down to read volume 1. I look forward to learning the whole story of the Illinois watch company from start to finish.
Congrats,
Greg Hart
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Hi Fred –

Just to let you know that I received the Illinois book set today.  I started leafing through it.  It looks great!!  I’ll be able to spend more time with it on Monday.
Congratulations!
XXX
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I think collectors are going to be surprised when they see the range of the Hamilton-Illinois line. There are some startling things among the uncatalogued models, and they weren’t all budget watches. This is going to be a new field for collectors: we’ve turned up new models in the past month. The Hamilton-Illinois line didn’t last long, but in some ways there might not even be a Hamilton today if they hadn’t tried this experiment.
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Got mine yesterday. Was up late. Overwhelming information. Thanks Fred.
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I will not spoil anything, so let’s just say, I flipped through ALL 5 Volumes  (page by page) and really
couldn’t put them down. The detail, photos and layout made me absolutely Speechless.I hope everyone is as floored as I am right now, when you see them.
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Mine arrived a day ago. I’m going to develop more muscle lifting those heavy books! So much wonderful information to look forward to.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

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Got mine yesterday. I’m not so strong since my arm tendon surgery, and this box is heavy…!

Surprised and delighted to see a near-twin to the JR I bought from Fred a few years ago on first page (of sorts) of Vol. One.

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I got mine yesterday! Still reading.
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Hello Fred,

OUTSTANDING!

Spent some time last night and this afternoon reading and am getting an education on much more than the Illinois Watch Co..  I like the way the book starts at the beginning and is walking me through history.  I also loved the picture of the Big Tick watch on the elephant and the row of women holding one.  I have never seen those photos before!

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 Plowing through Ch 1… amazingly interesting…. Very easy reading.
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I’ve tried to come up with descriptive  adjectives other than “spectacular and awesome” to reflect my appreciation of your impressive work
i can’t come up with any
you’ve made any other watch reference book a dwarf by comparison
this is truly a magisterial effort and the contribution to the watch community of collectors and historians unlikely to be surpassed
mrs friedberg was truly an awesome mother and did well ; we are all kvelling
with all my affection and admiration
elliot
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Fred, I received your book set yesterday as promised and I have to tell you I think it’s a wonderful achievement.  It’s all very well done.  I especially enjoy the historical aspects of the early years of the company.  And the photos are great throughout; especially for the covers.  I think the set is very well put together…Thanks again for sending me the books, I’ll enjoy them.

Corwin

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Returned home today to a wonderful surprise. The Illinois Watch History book set finally arrived.

This was written by Fredric Friedberg, recognized as the world’s authority on this American classic.

In the second of five volumes you can read a chapter on watch dial manufacturing and refinishing. Yours truly contributed  to this section with information, photos and an in depth interview.

Thanks Fred, can’t  wait to read it.

Rob Miller

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Hi Fred,  Received the book set.  WOW.  Nicely done.  You should be proud.  Thanks,  Ray
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 Hi Fred,

Got the books, very impressive set. Lots to read and very exciting. Congratulations for the great work you have done on researching and publishing the books. Saw three watches you bought from me. I was very happy to see the books and then got little sad remembering the watches that I sold. Sellers remorse, I remember it had taken me a long time to search and collect those watches. Greg Hart bought few of the rare models to upgrade. But I’m still hunting for the rare ones and found three good ones last year, Caprice, smooth bezel Consul and a silver Admiral Evans.
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 Hi Fred,
My books came in!  They are very cool and I’m more impressed than ever after seeing the amount of work that went into these books.  Which volume did you enjoy the most?
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Wow. Just wow! I knew it would be great, but it’s better than I thought it would be. Bigger, too! Congratulations on a job very well done, sir. 😉👍

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Hello—
The big box arrived today,  looks like a wealth of information!
Thanks!
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Received my books today. Epic stuff. I immediately opened the caseback on my Andover to see if it might be a rare 14k gf. Dangit,  nope. Fun reading. Thank you Fred, and everyone involved.
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YEAH! Received my book set today. Looks awesome…Can’t wait to dive in!
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 Books came today, ho-lee-cow!
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Hello Fred, The books arrived today, and they are beautiful! I can’t wait to start reading. I thank you and all future Illinois collectors thank you!
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WOW!!

Fred,

I received the book set today. I must say that is is both amazing AND imposing. You should feel very proud… and presumably tired.  😉 I am starting with Volume 1, but I imagine it will take me weeks to read them all.  LOL

Regards,

R

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Fred,
Your boxed set of books arrived yesterday.  What a thrill it was to open the box, smell one of the great things in life, brand new books, and begin the adventure.
You have much to be proud of, as this is a remarkable horological achievement.
I hope Charlie or Michael Cleves have purchased a set.  If not, I may have to do so.  As Rene is to Hamilton, and you are to Illinois, Charlie is to Gruen.
Congratulations on a monumental achievement.
Bill
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Attorney Fred Friedberg, I need you to cover all my depositions and court appearances this week. I received a very large and fascinating shipment from you that I will need to spend the rest of the week (or month) reading! My partners will think I’m locked away in my office really working!

Again, thanks for such a tremendous and amazing undertaking. (So I would love the same comprehensive history of, say, Rolex. Need another project?)

Hank

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Wow, I will tell you this much already after really sitting at Peet’s for the last half hour reading vol 1.  This is really a great history book!   Not just a book about a watch company.
Love all the cultural references to the times.  Really takes the reader back in time.  (I even keep looking up the dollar value of the models in today’s dollars!).   The one ad says “starting at $32.50 which is about $550 today!).
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25 lbs of books arrived yesterday.  Hurt my arm carrying them into the house.  Very impressive in detail and the amount of work you had to have put into this project.  Clearly a labor of love and something you can be very proud of.  Am cancelling everything else so I can get to reading.  Expect that it will take about 3 years to read all 5 volumes.

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…….I was reading in my living room with the lights on & headed upstairs to go to bed at 11:45PM tonight.
Checked my email upstairs. Saw tracking showed it as being left on my front doorstep at 10:45PM—an hour ago. Went back downstairs & checked to see if it was delivered. It was sitting there by the front door. No one rang the doorbell or knocked.
Glad it finally arrived…….
Opening it up now. Heavy box, well packed.
Guess FED EX “by end of day” means just before midnight.
Thanks Pal.
Will check out by natural light of day tomorrow morning.
Good Night !!!
Gary
WONDERFULLY OVERWHELMING !!!!!
I couldn’t wait till morning!!!
Highest Accolades, Pal.
Gary in San Francisco
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Hello Fred,
Just wanted to drop you a line , received my book set yesterday. It exceeded my expectations and I had high expectations lol . I couldn’t be happier!
Thanks a million,
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Hi Fred,
I received the books today.  Fantastic ! I can’t wait to start reading them.
Take care my friend,
Dave
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Hello my friend!

I received your series of books yesterday and they are BEAUTIFUL!!!  OMG, what a labor of love Fred……amazing.

 

My friend who is a huge watch aficionado is coming to visit in August (he buys watches as investments).  He will love these volumes!!

 

Love and hugs

G.

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Fred

No matter how impressive this book set was piecemeal, nothing prepare me for the actual opening of the box and first sight of this magnificent opus.

(Don’t worry — I already had my hernia operation scheduled.)
Though I repeat myself from one of the forums, no hyperbole is possible in describing this result of more than a decade’s work and a lifetime of passion for all things Illinois watches.
What a piece of work — massive in size, breathtaking in its beauty, and astonishing in its scope and scholarship.
The company couldn’t have hoped for a more capable or dedicated historical standard-bearer — and I couldn’t be prouder to have contributed in some way, both because of all the above and because it’s yours.
Kudos and מזל טוב, my friend!
David
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Hey Fred,HooooRay
Books they
Came today
Now I get tooo play
Robt.
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Hey Fred,

The Books arrived and the plaque. They look great on my coffee table. It really classes the place up.

Joe

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I sit at my desk with bloodshot eyes from reading all night, plowing through page after page of goodies!

Not sure where you all started, but I went right into Vol. 1 and the history of the company.

There is SO much new information, it really boggles the mind.

I am sure many folks delved into chapters 3-4 to see all the new discoveries and models.

As time goes on, and everyone gets their books, we will all start discussing the cool “New”
models and revelations.

From what I am reading so far, the story is incredible and the information very detailed.
I hope you are all as blown away as I am.

WOW FRED!!!

Keep checking in, as to who gets their books please!

G

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I just about gave myself a hernia picking up a 25lb box off the front porch.

I wonder what’s inside? :-)

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Someone had a great surprise today waiting for them at home!
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I picked up my box at the local FedEx office late Tuesday night and did not crack it open until last night …. stayed up way too late after that!

All I can say is WOW! I love the entire presentation and the inclusion of so much original documentation and advertising. What really impresses me, and makes the package so enjoyable, are all of the extras and sidebars distributed throughout. It seems like every page has some fascinating nugget of information.

Fred … you have really put together a masterpiece.

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After a hard 5 days of work in the field, and a crazy day in the office, I came home today to find a box sitting on the front porch.

It could only be one thing. That and the label on the outside told me what it was…

Look at that…
Incidentally, where I opened volume 1 too initially was on page 175, and was greeted with a blurb on the Gruen Watch Company. How cool is that! …

I got a lot of reading ahead of me. Incidentally, I do not own a single Illinois made watch. Have a feeling that will be changing sometime soon.

Thank you Fred for the effort you have put into this set. Wow!

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The books are GREAT !!!!  However, I seem to be developing a bruise on my leg from propping up the books to look at them …. weighty tomes, for sure.

I have some 32 Illinois watches but am astounded at all the ones I have never seen before …. looks like years ahead on the hunt.  Fun, fun, fun.

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 Fred!!!! Wow!!!! What a great set! I can’t wait to go through them.
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Fred’s in depth coverage of not only the watches themselves but of the history and economics that shaped the companies (not to mention our country and other industries as well) is remarkable. I have just started reading Volume 1 and can only imagine what I have to look forward to. Thank you Fred for sharing your vast knowledge.
***************************************************************** I picked-up my set on Tuesday from my PO Box. I am slowly working my may through the volumes. This will take a long time, I think. So far, I love it! (And while I had already read much of it, seeing it now all complete is compelling!) The big problem is that I have about 30-feet of various art and watch catalogs… and I need to weed out 1-foot of them so Fred’s new book set will have a proper home.
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Amazing! Thank you Fred. And the cat gets a new box too.
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 This book set is the benchmark for the brand. If it were not written, this info would have most likely never been known and lost to history forever.  Thank you Fred
G.
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 Mine arrived in Orlando on Wed. I started reading just after I cleared out a place of honor on the shelves next to the couch.
 Salute Fred, Joel
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I really like the books. I love the tells section, and all the interviews. The books are like art deco works of art. Much appreciated. I didn’t know the eagle watch had an eagle on the side. That is so cool!! I have to get a jolly Roger someday.
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Hi Fred, rec’d the books. They look great.
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Hello Fred,F

Well….I am about 3/4 of the way through Vol 1 and am getting an education on the watch manufacturing industry in the US.  I am making progress and enjoying every minute!

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 Fred,
Books received. Wow, what a lot of work!
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Fred, received my book order today and all I can say is WOW!!!! Started skimming through and quickly realized that 2 hours has gone by.

Thanks!

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Just spent the past couple hours skimming through these books, which arrived earlier today. Can’t wait to start reading the entire 5 volume set. Looks to be a must have for any Collector of American Watches.

Thanks Fred!

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Dear Fred
I received your books last week and when I opened the box, they took my breath away!!!
Each volume  cover front and back have their own gorgeous, distinctive graphics combined with beautiful colors not typically  seen on resource and historical books.
When I opened each volume, I was amazed at the content layout combined with excerpts from newspapers, advertisements and historical findings that were happening at the time the Illinois  Watch Company was in business.
I also enjoyed reading about the development of ladies watches and love all the deco offerings! ( I could go on and on but people need to buy your books and see for themselves).
I would highly recommend collectors and novices purchase these books for the wealth of information amassed in this collection as well as the aesthetic beauty of the books!
I am thrilled to have my books!!!
Thank you so much Fred for your hard work and dedication!
Sincerely,
A.
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 Rick Vess wrote:

I saw this post (elsewhere) today from Rene Rondeau about Fred Friedberg’s new book set, and it got me thinking about how important these books will be for those who collect Hamilton, Illinois, and every other American-made watch:

“There is so much more in these books than just Illinois and Hamilton. The amount of detail about watch companies, case companies, dial manufacturers, the watch and jewelry trade, the people who ran the companies, the workers who built the watches, and even what was going on in the wide world outside of horology is absolutely amazing. This is by far and away the most detailed study about the watches of the 1920s to the 1960s ever published. Literally something for everyone.” –Rene Rondeau

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Hello Fred,
Just dropping you a line to tell you again how much I’m enjoying volume 2 of your books. I’m slowly but surely working my way through it.
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Fred,

Received them this week while out of town and opened them yesterday.

Amazing.

Thanks for letting me know they were available.

Bob

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 Hi Fred,

Just wanted to let you know that your Illinois Book set, hot off the presses, arrived safely this week.  I’ve taken a peek inside, and all I can say is “Wow”!

You seem to have addressed an immense amount of material and, with an army of collaborators, may have produced the ultimate History of the American Watch Industry.  I can’t wait to take a closer look at each volume to see what you’ve done.  I only hope your excellent publication doesn’t discourage me right out of my long-held hope of doing something on … watches.

Don’t forget that I would like to talk with you sometime about your experiences and thoughts on the publishing industry.  It is quite possible that your just-released collection will represent the high-water mark for this type of hobby/history/collector guide book.

Thank you for doing the research and sharing it with all of us.  Truly a labor of love.

Best wishes,
P
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Hello Fred,

I just finished Volume #1…..excellent.  It is a fantastic historical narrative of the Illinois Watch Company with excellent insight into the all this issues surrounding its demise.
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 Set came this weekend. Thanks so much. Absolutely elegant.
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 Hi Fred,
I received your books – they look great!  There is a lot of reading there; it’s going to be fun!Thanks for all of your work!  I appreciate it and am anxious to get started.
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 We have received the books today!!! I talked to customs to pick up them faster. I have no words to tell you how excited were!!!! There are no words to express how much work you have done!!! Fantastic! I have make several pictures to post. Many, many, many thanks!!!!

Fantastic job and now I want all the watches! 😍 I really want you to know that we are so impressed (me and XXX), we had tears of happiness in our eyes! I do not exaggerate! Thanks Fred!

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Hi Fred! Just recd. your book set. It’s really
impressive our postal clerk carried out the
box to our car for us. I can’t wait to start
reading!
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The books are great! I’m taking my time with them, I’ve browsed through all but am reading carefully now from the beginning. The physical quality of the books is excellent too. High quality binding, very usable, heavy paper and great quality photos and printing!

Whoever did the job of book designer did an outstanding job, and so far, the quality of the content equals or exceeds the quality of the design 🙂

Cheers!

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Hi Fred. The books just arrived. Very impressive. Not sure when I will have time to go through them in detail. Thank you, J.

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 Hello Fred,

My friend, you should be more that proud of the child that was produced by your labor of love.  In reading the information I can clearly see all the work you put into the smallest detail and can only imagine the amount of research that went into the effort.  I especially appreciate the straight forward non-pontificating manner in which you wrote the text.  I clearly understood your points and agreed with your conclusions [in Volume One].
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 I received my books this week and I have to say in all honesty that it vastly exceeds my expectations — and those were very high indeed. I’m blown away. I had read the entire text when I offered to proofread it but the illustrations in that draft version were not complete and not laid out. Seeing everything in finished form was a revelation.

There are hundreds and hundreds of pictures, exquisitely presented. Endless eye candy. But what really matters is how breathtakingly comprehensive it is. We’re talking 5 volumes! Anything and everything you can possibly think of is in here, plus a lot you never even considered. Obviously the focus is on Illinois, but there are massive amounts of information about Hamilton as well, and not just the Hamilton-Illinois connection. Fred unearthed some wonderful treasures from the Ravel stash that relate to Hamilton watches of almost all eras.

You name it, it’s here in spades. Everything you ever wanted to know about every case maker, or strap/band maker, plus dials and hands, movements, ephemera, memorabilia, tips on collecting, even Hamilton’s run-in with the government for anti-trust violations — which was news to me.

Fred has set the bar very, very high for any future horological books. The amount detail is mind-boggling.

Seriously, I can’t recommend this book set highly enough. If you haven’t already bought it, you definitely should. It’s worth every penny. Knowledge is power in watch collecting. This will expand your knowledge way beyond anything you could imagine.

Rene Rondeau
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Fred got your books, great reading cannot get over the details.
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 Fred

Congratulations on the book.  It has exceeded expectations. Thank you for all the work you have done for us.

Best,
David

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 Just from a very quick glance at the 5 volumes, it looks like Fred has generated quite the monumental work which is destined to become the authoritative reference on Illinois wristwatches.  I intend to peruse same in its entirety over the next few weeks or more likely, months.
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Fred

Received your  unbelievable 5 volume set on Illinois Watches have been unable to put it down. So much new  and interesting information….

 

Congratulations on an epic set of reference and historical books
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 A watch is only a timepiece, until it has a backstory. The backstory is what adds the value. Fred’s voluminous history presents that backstory, not only behind Illinois’ watches, but also the details of wristwatch history of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Many consider this the sweet spot (or sweet era) for wristwatch collecting, when American manufacturers offered the most attractive and varied watches ever produced. Fred’s research describes the era thoroughly. For anyone, who collects watches of this time period (or any time period for that matter), this set is a great investment: Probably the best investment any watch collector can make in support of his or her collection.
Bob  Ayer
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 I totally agree. There is so much more in these books than just Illinois and Hamilton. The amount of detail about watch companies, case companies, dial manufacturers, the watch and jewelry trade, the people who ran the companies, the workers who built the watches, and even what was going on in the wide world outside of horology is absolutely amazing. This is by far and away the most detailed study about the watches of the 1920s to the 1960s ever published. Literally something for everyone.
Rene Rondeau
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Hi Fred,

It’s wonderful that you were able to embed a broad social history of America in your first volume.  It tells a story that goes well beyond watches, and I look forward to seeing what comes next in the other four volumes.

It truly is a Magnum Opus.

Mazel Tov.

David

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The Books arrived today, and having a quick look though them, all I can is WOW!!!.

I look forward to spending much more time read each volume.
Many thanks for all the hard work and time, putting these together.
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Fred,
I have spent some time with your books. A LOT OF STUFF, buddy.
Taking my time to get a feel for the set. Pretty amazing body of work.
I’m sure I will be referring to them in years to come.
Congrats on such an awesome amount of research material well organized & comprehensive.
You Da Man !!!
Gary
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…pretty impressive review from Rene.
It’s gonna take me a while to devour your 5 book set.
Again—-Highest Accolades to you & all of your exhaustive work over the years.
Best regards to Joy as well.
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 A great work. Hard to compare it to anything else. The new standard for sure.
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I recently received my set The Illinois Watches & Its Hamilton Years. Fred put his heart and soul into this book. The years he spent doing the research on the Illinois Watch Company is to say the least an amazing feat.

I meet Fred at the 1997 Reno NAWCC Convention. We had dinner one night and talked about watches but it didn’t take me long to see he had a serious interest/passion for Illinois Wrist Watches.

If you collect Illinois watches, not just wrist watches but pocket watches as well. This set covers the start and end of the Illinois Watch Company. It’s full of interesting information and a must have resource for the collector to have in his or hers library.

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The books are remarkable! Amazing the amount of information contained in the set. I’m enjoying going through them.

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Got your book set the other day. It might take me through summer to finish reading (slowly)

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Fred, you didn’t know that, like Robert Miller, I also went to Haverford (class of ‘86). A nice surprise for me to see the 1912 yearbook excerpt.

I’m spending a pleasurable Sat afternoon engrossed in your Vol 1 and listening to Bach cantatas..!!

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Fred

Got the books !! They’re AMAZING!!!!!

C

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These books are amazing, well done.

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Hi Fred,

I’m halfway through Volume I and it’s fantastic!  I love how you tied in all the historical events that were going on at that time.  Now I’m thinking about buying a few Illinois wristwatches here and there.
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Fred
Had the time to look over  the books , there is so much information I learn something new on every page truly outstanding reference for Illinois watches and history of the time….
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Your books are captivating me and filling in quite a few blanks for me.Thanks!!!!

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 Hi Fred – Hope that all is well on your end. I just wanted to follow up with you about the Illinois Watch book set. First – Thank you! They are incredible! I can only imagine that they represent countless hours of research and effort and will be considered the standard for timepiece research for many years to come. Plus, they are an invaluable resource to someone like me who is only several years into my love and interest of vintage Hamilton and Illinois watches. I don’t believe I can add any more praise than what has already been expressed. Thanks Fred! Excellent work! Chat with you soon, XXX
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 Hi Fred, Books are great! Really enjoying them.
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Fred

Your books are safely here and I have collected them. I am astounded at what you have achieved. I am also greatly appreciative of what you have done to get your books to me.
You…have done complete justice to what must be a life’s work. I had no idea as to what to expect, but the production that you have created exceeds all that I might have imagined.
I received your separately mailed personalised book plate and I am proud to be one of just 350 people in the world to have been fortunate enough to receive what you have produced.( The Limited Edition)
Many thanks to you for the immense contribution that you have made to horology.
XXX
Melbourne
Australia
[Please note signed copies unnumbered are still available at a special price directly from this website.]
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Hi Fred,

Your book set is fabulous!  I look forward to many hours of fascinating readiing.  I can’t imagine how much writing time and how much effort gathering knowledge, images and actual watches went into this.  It is something you can be justifiably proud of.

Say, did you sell the grille guard watch that you said you wouldn’t be selling until after your books came out?  If you recall, I sent you pics showing that I have one as well.  That has made me curious abbut yours.  Oh..by the way…would you by any chance have a NOS dial for a Baronet?

Once again, FABULOUS book set.

All the best…

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Just finished volume 2…. I don’t know how you accumulated so much in-depth information about so many different companies. My compliments again.

Now… on to Volume 3….. I am thinking about taking a few days off from work…..

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It’s an amazing collection and history. I’m learning a lot. So extensive….. and beautiful pictures.

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Hi Fred, If these are $850.00 – your books should be $3,000.

PATEK PHILIPPE MUSEUM PATEK PHILIPPE WATCHES VOLUME I AND II
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Hi Fred,

I’m well into Volume 3 now.  It’s the hot read of the summer!  Fantastic job on the books my friend!
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Hi Fred,
I have been reading the books the last couple of days. They are great and thanks for all your hard work.
Interesting and sad to find out that Hamilton bosses treated Illinois like a step child. Typically this happens in design firms when a firm buys another.
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Your research, from my … understanding of horology, is a significant contribution to the literature. I’ve supervised doctoral dissertations which seldom make a ripple in the field. Your encyclopedic work makes a splash.

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Books are absolutely fascinating Fred!

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Hello Fred,

Just finished Vol #3 and did I get an education.  Looking forward to getting my nose into Vol #4 this weekend.  EXCELLENT WORK!

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Got the set! Wow! Incredibly comprehensive… hope you are well and enjoying the next phase!

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Hi Fred,

I’ve finished the 5 volume set….awesome job my friend!  I’m now re-reading the first book. Brings back fond memories.
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Freddy,
I have continued to read, explore, digest, and marvel at your 5 volume set of books.
Can’t believe how much info you put together.
Mind boggling & likely will take me years to get through them__if that is even possible.
They have re-kindled my interest & appreciation of The Illinois Watch Company.
BRAVO, Pal !!!!!!
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Fred,
A fellow watchmaker let me borrow vol 1. I enjoyed it so much, I couldn’t put it down.
I study American history around the 1920’s, as well as an interest in Illinois watches. Couldn’t ask for a better book!
I’d like to complement you on your hard work. A job well done!
Regards,
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Richard and I spent most of Saturday afternoon and evening with our friend from college, Sue, and showed her your book set.  She’s fascinated by the way you wove the history of the time with the watch story.
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Our books have arrived in Edinburgh. They look fab – thank you!
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Buy them. It will save you some serious jack. Knowledge is power.
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Hi Fred! Today your fabulous books arrive to me! Thank you again for your effort and congratulation again for your great work. On the next weeks I will consult carefully all 5 volumes. Please give me the chance to come back to you with some questions and advice. All the best from…- Romania! Regards, XXX
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Hi Fred, I am really enjoying your Illinois book set. I am a long time chronograph collector and within the last two years have been buying Illinois watches. Thanks for sharing your incredible knowledge of all things Illinois with us.
Mike
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Hi Fred,

 

This note is long overdue!  The book collection is amazing and beautiful to say the least!  Wow!  I can only imagine how many hours went into it!  I have not had the chance to really dive in.  I can’t wait to have more time to really soak it all in.  It certainly is a masterpiece !

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Dear Fred,

   Actually, interesting story. I’m a watchmaker in XXX, NJ. Born and raised in Ridgewood, NJ. I became interested in watches and pocket watches very seriously about 5 years ago and since then I’ve graduated The Lititz Watch Technicum and joined the growing field of watchmaking. I work in a retail environment, but, my true love is restoration/conservation of antique watches. I don’t get to practice it much in my current setting, but It’s a goal of mine to make it my sole professional focus.
     My father brought you to my attention. He graduated Rutgers in 64 or 65, I forget, but he told me that he opened up the Alumni newsletter, and read about you and your book. After previewing it on your website, I decided it would be too valuable of a resource to not have. There’s truly not enough resources out there that document historical watchmaking, in particular, American watchmaking. There are resources, but they’re difficult to find. Michael C. Harrold wrote a very good summary of American watchmaking, which has served as an introduction.
     I’m pretty sure that this is going to serve me as valuable resource for the rest of my life and career.
Sincerely,
   J.C. Figlar
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Hi Fred,

I’m really enjoying your book set.  I think it will take me the rest of my life to really get through it in detail.

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Hello-Just got through with Vol 5 of your latest opus and I am astounded at the amount of new info and the research involved. Not something I can breeze through! I will have to order a set for a friend of mine who’s not internet savvy. Found an Illinois Watches advertising frame at a flea mkt. yesterday. as shown on page 1430 of Vol 5…
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continue to read your great books learn something new and interesting every time I open a page…
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I got the books. Incredible is all I can say. This sets a high bar indeed for future watch collecting books, and no one will ever hit your standard!
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I have one word for the Book Set FABULOUS!!!
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The flash drive arrived and I have now received one of the volumes.  Even just this one book is incredible.  I am excited to see them all when they finish uploading.
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Really enjoying reading your magnum opus – truly outstanding, and thank you so much for going out of your way to get a set to me.
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