Well, it’s official. I’ve got my first book deal.

Tech journalist John Biggs, who edits the blog CrunchGear.com and has contributed to The New York Times, has signed a contract with Susan Kamil at the Dial Press to write a book called Marie Antoinette’s Watch.

The book will tell the story of an impossibly elaborate wristwatch that one of Marie Antoinette’s lovers commissioned around the time of the French Revolution from the master watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet. The watch—the “iPhone of its day,” according to Mr. Weissman, because of its unprecedented range of features and functions—took 44 years to make, and Marie Antoinette was long dead by the time it was complete.

What’s my goal? To pull horology out of the fashion ghetto and show it for the scientific and engineering endeavor it really is. The M-A was the Revolutionary Moon Shot, something so amazing that we can barely understand it today.

All watchmakers and watch experts please contact me at john @ wristwatchreview dot com. Let’s talk and get the story of watchmaking right for the first time in a long time.


  1. Great idea, John.

    Everyone raved about “Longitude,” but after reading it, I knew no more about how a #$%@! clock/watch worked than before.

    As a reader of old stuff (working through the Roman Republic now), I would request a healthy dose of horology 101 in your book for people like me. I think Simon Singh did a bangup job in “The Code Book” in making cryptography reasonably easy to understand to anyone capable of basic math.

    Looking forward to it!


  2. Hoo-ah! Great project, John.

    We’re coming up on the anniversary of the first military operation where they “synchronized watches”; 8 September 1855, the Battle of Malakov during the Crimean War, the French coordinated the attack with timepieces, changing the face of military command and control.

    Precision measurement of time is as central to modern science, technology, management, etc as precision linear measurement is to manufacture. This should be a brilliant work about one of the critical enabling techonogies of the modern world.

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