Reviews & News
New York Times Sunday Book Review: Face Value
It’s a story artfully told and illustrated with rich historical detail.
Kirkus (starred) Review of A Grand Complication
A masterful approach to composition combines with a fascinating plot and makes its subject entertaining as well as compelling.
Los Angeles Times
That Perman has crafted a compelling tale that tells several stories at once and will appeal equally to readers inside and outside of the insular watch-collecting community is a testament to her considerable skills.
Watch Journal Review
…Perman brings to life the high-powered and often-secretive world of watch collecting through meticulous research, vivid detail and an abundance of unforgettable personalities.
The Dallas Morning News reviews A Grand Complication
Here is an engrossing book about a handful of incredible 20th century pocket watches — and the two Americans who pushed Switzerland’s finest craftsmen on a journey to masterpiece artistry.
The Toronto Star reviews A Grand Complication
It’s possible the world has not been waiting with bated breath for a history of mechanical pocket watch connoisseurship. But Stacy Perman’s book, A Grand Complication, makes me wonder if we shouldn’t have been.
Perman packs in so much detail about the lavish lifestyles of the pre-Great Depression rich that her book can sometimes read like The Great Gatsby on steroids. But there’s no obscuring the real stars here, the triumphs of Gilded-Age nanotechnology brought to life by the obsessions and money of Packard and Graves.
The Booklist Review
The duel between two wealthy Americans to build and own the greatest timepiece ever constructed is meticulously narrated by journalist Perman…The story will attract both watch enthusiasts and readers interested in the Gilded Age, as it examines the fascinating technological complexity of timepieces in the context of the era’s overall focus on progress.
Worldtempus: A GRAND COMPLICATION – New Book on Legendary Watches
The story of American inventor James Ward Packard and financier Henry Graves, Jr.’s legendary fascination with complicated timepieces and their ensuing “duel” has now been captured by journalist Stacy Perman in a riveting new book...
The New York Journal of Books reviews A Grand Complication
“Anyone who owns a pocket watch handed down through generations should read this book and take a close look at the history behind their family heirloom.”
The Monochrome Review
By hearkening back to a time of more, Perman shares the limitlessness of human aspiration.
The Civil Engineering Magazine Review
Author Stacy Perman is meticulous enough in her research to satisfy the most exacting horologist, and her attention to detail evokes Jack Finney as she carefully reconstructs daily life in fin de siècle America and the Roaring Twenties. But it is her obvious passion for the subject that gives life to A Grand Complication and keeps the pages turning.
“Un livre passionnant à lire…”
Translation: “A fascinating book to read…”
Tiejo de Relojas (Spain)
“Perman … presenta un detallado escrutinio sobre la vida y obras de los dos magnates cuya caballeresca rivalidad elevó el umbral de la relojería de complicaciones de Patek Philippe a nuevas cumbres.”
Translation: “Perman … presents a detailed scrutiny of the life and works of the two magnates whose chivalrous rivalry raised the threshold of Patek Philippe watch complications to new heights.”
National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors
The author spins a captivating story describing the ‘arms race’ between the two protagonists to not only dream up ever more complex watches, but to actually have these machines produced in steel and gold.
Maine Antique Digest Review
The race is worthy of a pitch to some television producers for a series. Perman’s ample descriptions of costumes, customs, idiosyncrasies, and social commentary will make the transition as smooth as the ticking of an elegant Swiss watch.
In 295 pages she successfully blends the biographies of two major collectors with a dollop of time-keeping history, in a book that reads at times like a spy novel.
Off The Shelf: A Definitive Reading List for Fans of the S-Town Podcast
If you were fascinated by the horologists and collectors talking about the complex and valuable timepieces that John so expertly restored, this immersive narrative will take you even further into that world.
WNPR: How Do We Even Know What Time It Is?
There was a time when almost everyone wore a watch. There was a time when almost everyone had a mechanical clock in their home.
BBC: The story of the ‘most complicated’ watch in the world
The most complicated handmade watch, the Henry Graves Supercomplication, has been sold at auction for 20.6m Swiss francs (£13.4m)
New York Times: Watches That Follow The Stars
“In the Middle Ages, it was only cities or royalty or churches that built clocks,” said Stacy Perman, author of “A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch,” a book about the Graves Supercomplication, a famous pocket watch made by Patek Philippe.
New York Times: Gentlemen’s War, and Its Progeny
On Dec. 2, 1999, in a packed salesroom at Sotheby’s headquarters here, an anonymous phone bidder made watchmaking history by paying $11 million for a Patek Philippe pocket watch considered, then and now, to be the Mona Lisa of timepieces.
Time magazine: Q&A: Stacy Perman
As the book details this collecting duel, Perman chronicles its many connections to a vast sweep of American history when staggering fortunes were made, the country’s plutocracy emerged, and America began its rise as a global economic power.
Forbes magazine: The Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon Earns Its Place In History
If you have read Stacy Perman’s recent book, A Grand Complication you will know…
JCK: Sotheby’s Expects Record Price for World’s Most Famous Watch
“It is considered the Mona Lisa of timepieces among watch collectors,” says Perman. “It is beautiful on two levels: It represents the apex of technology, and it is also aesthetically beautiful. It is a real marriage of art and technology.”
Los Angeles Times Jacket Copy
Despite a diverse range of topics — Mexican food, the coca plant, the world’s most complicated watch and the federal duck stamp art program — the authors participating in Saturday’s Festival of Books panel discussion “A Singular Passion” all described similar experiences when it came to writing an entire book on a single, seemingly niche topic.
Forbes.com: The World’s Most Wanted Watch
…the most elaborate watch ever made — is not only one of a kind, but it is of a time that has perhaps forever passed
Wall Street Journal: Winders’ Keepers
Mechanical watches are exquisitely superfluous instruments.
WSJ: At Baselworld
From the influence of science fiction to the rise of women’s mechanical timepieces, news from the Swiss watch fair
Hodinkee: Five Things I Learned About Henry Graves By Reading “A Grand Complication” By Stacy Perman
Obsessive. Persistent. Relentless. These are just some of the words …
Deborah Kalb Books Q&A
Q: Why did you decide to write A Grand Complication?
A: Four or five years ago I wrote an article for Business Week about a watchmaker school in Pennsylvania.
WGN Radio: The Voice of Chicago Interview with Bill Neff
Bill Leff learns about the fascinating subculture of watchmaking and collecting when he visits with Stacy Perman, author of A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s Most Legendary Watch.
Radio Frontier: Book Banter at Off the Shelf Geneva, Switzerland
Every week Seetha looks at books – in this week’s Book Banter, the race to make the world’s most complicated watch – the Grand Complication.
Askmen: Stacy Perman Interview
Mechanical watches test the limits of the possible in the pursuit of smaller movements and greater accuracy. And, in terms of sheer mechanical brilliance, they make your smartphone look like a paperweight.
Original Powell’s Essay: The Desire of Objects
Theirs was a tale told through a prism of precious objects, and so I began by tracking down the remnants of what they had left behind.Theirs was a tale told through a prism of precious objects, and so I began by tracking down the remnants of what they had left behind.
WSJ Speakeasy: Has Time Run Out for Watches?
There was a time when making timekeeping devices was a valued art…
I knew that mechanical pocket watches used small gears and cogs, but I didn’t know the half of how complicated they were.
Women’s Wear Daily
Los Angeles native Stacy Perman, the author of “In-N-Out Burger,” a New York Times bestseller, has just published her third book, “A Grand Complication: The Race to Build the World’s…
Pursuitist: The Enduring Allure of Complicated Watches
Great Objects often foster greater obsessions. In A Grand Complication: The Race to Build The World’s Most Legendary Watch, Stacy Perman chronicles the creation of an extraordinary timepiece, the Patek Philippe Supercomplication and of two collectors: James Ward Packard and Henry Graves Jr.
Art Market Monitor
Story of Grand Complication Watch Gets More Complicated…
Unraveling The Grand Complication The thrilling race to create the most extravagant timepiece, exemplifying competing notions of status and wealth in early 20th-century America.