: Blackbird Watch Manual Vol. 2, Now Available
Text & Photos Nicholas Biebuyck

It is a great pleasure to announce the arrival of Blackbird Watch Manual Volume 2, in which we continue to provide a different perspective on the world of watches and the personalities that surround it. We take a look at a number of subjects that are deeply horological in nature, in addition to exploring topics related to disciplines that intersect art, design, engineering, and human ingenuity.


While many of you are most familiar with our presence here as a digital journal, and through the Blackbird Watch Manual Instagram feed, the medium closest to the heart of not only the editorial team, but so many at Blackbird, is print. There is simply no substitute for the tactility of a paper publication held in one’s hands, and the permanence that it lends to the subjects presented. This is all the more important when we are talking about tangible objects where so much care and attention has been lavished on them, watches included; therefore, it makes perfect sense to communicate our passion for these things through print.


Like this website, the physical edition of Watch Manual is broken down into sections. Happenings takes in the events that we have been privy to that have added value in being shared with our dear readers. Icons are detailed investigations into models and references that have left a lasting impression with collectors and enthusiasts. Intelligence allows us to provide insight on more complex topics through scholarly research. Modern is a look at some of the watches that have surfaced in recent times that have the potential to become future classics. Musings are a platform for us to share our thoughts on topics around the industry. And Scholars consists of interviews and profiles from titans of the watchmaking world and beyond.


Our cover story for this issue takes a look at the Van Cleef & Arpels Lady Arpels Le Pont des Amoureux, a poetic representation of harmony and partnership, whose ethereal automaton hides some fascinating technical achievements. For our Icons feature, we took a detailed look at the Patek Philippe reference 2499 fourth series, a watch that represents the pinnacle of collecting for many aficionados, including the executions we are most familiar with as well as some of the more obscure examples from this lauded model. We also explore the split-second chronograph through a number of modern executions from A. Lange & Söhne, F.P. Journe, IWC Schaffhausen, Montblanc and Patek Philippe, shedding some light on a complication that is not always given the attention it deserves.


As one would expect from our team, there is a good portion of automotive content for this issue, including coverage of Bentley at Le Mans in the 1920s, a closer look at the wonderful Alfaholics GTA-R, and a tour of the Concours of Elegance that took place this past September at Hampton Court Palace. As already mentioned, the personalities that gravitate to the world of watches are a key part of what makes it so fascinating, so an in-depth profile of Sir Jackie Stewart was a pleasure to put together, as well as our article on the Chinese-French modern abstract artist, Zao Wou Ki.


We are delighted to welcome back our contributor from Volume 1, Mr. Grégory Gardinetti, who discusses the various alternate ways of measuring time that have emerged throughout history, and we also extremely pleased to welcome Mr. Ming Thein, the famed photographer and watch creator, who muses on the topic of sharing our joy for these objects.


Following the positive feedback we received after the launch of Volume 1, we hope that you will find more thought provoking and insightful articles in Volume 2. To purchase a copy, please visit, shop.blackbird-watchmanual.com/products/blackbird-watch-manual-vol-2.