Meeting Recap: The Ups and Downs of the Greenwich Time Ball - An Overview of Its History, Mechanics and Upkeep

Anna Rolls, Curator of the Clockmakers Museum, London
Monday, May 6, 2019

Video recordings of lectures are available to members immediately (using your membership password), and the general public with a 2 month delay.

On the May 6, 2019 lecture series of the Horological Society of New York, attendees found out that the ball drop on New Year’s Eve did not actually originate in Times Square, New York, as a festive way to bring the New Year. The true purpose of a ball drop has to do with the Time Ball located in Greenwich, England. Guest lecturer Anna Rolls, Curator of the Clockmakers’ Museum in London gave HSNY attendees the history, mechanics and the evolution of the Greenwich Time Ball.

Installed in 1833, it was the first public time signal that was designed to drop at 1:00 pm every day from atop the Greenwich Observatory. The purpose of the Time Ball was created for a practical maritime reason by Robert Morcambe: Sailors need to know the time in order to set their marine chronometers before leaving on a voyage.

The entire Time Ball mechanism which is housed in the Museum building spans three floors via a series of winches, chains and latches with a human assistant on the lower level to trigger release the latches via a regulator. However, upgrades to new technology such as the use of the telegraph system in the train and postal industries made the human assistant redundant since the new master clock could now depend on the telegraph signal itself.  

Rolls explained how the weather affected the Time Ball throughout its service: Rusting of clips, the ball itself rotting and after the next upgrade of technology to electricity, there were electrical issues such as the short life span of the components especially when they got struck by lightning, strong winds and the fluctuations of temperature and moisture. Incidentally, strong winds made it the primary factor on whether the Time Ball should proceed with its scheduled 1:00 pm drop.

The upkeep of the Time Ball eventually went to the Museum since the Department of Environment’s caretaking standards were woefully lacking and the need for additional equipment on the structure was entangled to the fact that the Museum is a Grade 1 listed building. Because of that citation, there were repeated delays to install an anemometer system on top of the roof.

To conclude the lecture, Rolls gave an account of what she encountered when the Time Ball had a failure in 2016. Assisted by the Cambria Clock Company, it was found that the ball was out of alignment and paint was removed from the mast. However, after a few successful trials, the Time Ball would fail again. The eventual cause was the magnetic brake of the winch. The motor and the brake needed to be stripped and overhauled. Such is the origins and inspiration for one of New York City’s most iconic landmarks! 

HSNY thanks Anna Rolls for her fascinating lecture!

Photography by Atom Moore
Submitted by Melody Benloss, HSNY Librarian & Recording Secretary

HSNY Announces Hong Kong Traveling Education Tour, June 2019

HSNY’s Traveling Education courses will take place in The Upper House’s Sky Lounge, a sophisticated, airy space on the 49th floor with views of green hillsides and eastern Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of The Upper House.

HSNY’s Traveling Education courses will take place in The Upper House’s Sky Lounge, a sophisticated, airy space on the 49th floor with views of green hillsides and eastern Hong Kong. Photo courtesy of The Upper House.

(NEW YORK) The world of horology is one which transcends cultural boundaries. Enthusiasts, collectors and industry professionals alike are united by common interests of the trade which are fueled by horological education.

After a hospitable welcome and wildly successful weekend of Traveling Education in fall 2018, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY), America’s oldest watchmaking guild, announces its return to Asia, docking in Hong Kong on Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, 2019. HSNY’s first visit to Hong Kong will be hosted by WatchBox, a global destination for luxury pre-owned timepieces, offering an expertly curated inventory of luxury pre-owned watches for sale, personalized client services, educational opportunities and astute editorial content. 

An extension of HSNY’s horology courses taught weekly in the heart of Manhattan, the Traveling Education experience offers students an intimate look into the inner workings of a complete mechanical movement. Led by HSNY’s Director of Traveling Education, Vincent Robert, a class of eight students will disassemble and reassemble an ETA 6497 movement and find out what makes a watch tick. 

Each four-hour course covers HSNY’s Horology 101 - 103 curriculum, which includes lessons in movement mechanics, gear training, and winding and setting. No prior experience is required as the proper usage of watchmaking tools and insight into the theories and terminology of modern horology are explained. 

The grandiose affair was strategically selected to take place in Hong Kong, undoubtedly a cradle for watch culture and avid collectors. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, however, lies the venue - The Upper House, a calming contemporary hotel offering a relaxing oasis by way of modest luxury. HSNY’s Traveling Education courses will take place in the property’s Sky Lounge, a sophisticated, airy space on the 49th floor with views of green hillsides and eastern Hong Kong. 

On the evening of Saturday, June 8, WatchBox and The Upper House will extend the horological experience to Hong Kong’s watch community with a party. Students, collectors and enthusiasts are invited to continue the conversation, discuss their personal collections and enjoy cocktails. An array of luxury watches from WatchBox will be on hand to view and try on with the assistance of WatchBox watch specialists. 

HSNY’s Hong Kong Traveling Education courses will be offered on Saturday, June 8 (9:30AM - 1:30PM & 2:30PM - 6:30PM) and Sunday, June 9 (9:30AM - 1:30PM & 2:30PM - 6:30PM). Admission is $500 USD (3,923 HKD) and includes access to watchmaking tools and a mechanical watch movement for the duration of the class. No previous experience is required. Ticket sales are reinvested directly back into HSNY’s ongoing educational mission. To purchase tickets, please visit HSNY’s Eventbrite page

The Upper House is located at Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong lies the HSNY Traveling Education venue - The Upper House, a calming contemporary hotel offering a relaxing oasis by way of modest luxury. Photo courtesy of The Upper House.

Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong lies the HSNY Traveling Education venue - The Upper House, a calming contemporary hotel offering a relaxing oasis by way of modest luxury. Photo courtesy of The Upper House.

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About the Horological Society of New York
Founded in 1866, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) is one of the oldest continuously operating horological associations in the world. Today, HSNY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of horology through education. Members are a diverse mix of watchmakers, clockmakers, executives, journalists, auctioneers, historians, salespeople and collectors, reflecting the rich nature of horology in New York City; http://hs-ny.org

Since the 1950s, HSNY has offered classes to the public, taught by professional watchmakers. These award-winning classes further HSNY's mission by making horological education accessible and enjoyable for the public. HSNY launched its Traveling Education program in 2016, where watch aficionados nation-wide can discover what makes a timepiece tick. In July 2018, HSNY offered its first International Traveling Education class in Toronto, Canada followed by a sold-out tour in Singapore; http://hs-ny.org/traveling-education/

About WatchBox
WatchBox is the world’s leading ecommerce platform for the buying, selling, and trading of pre-owned luxury timepieces; fueled by technology, innovation, and unmatched global experience in the high-end watch market. WatchBox offers an unrivaled selection of pre-owned luxury timepieces for sale and its client services for selling and trading timepieces are streamlined and readily accessible both on and offline, with private showrooms and buying offices in Philadelphia, Hong Kong, South Africa, and Switzerland. Trust, pricing transparency, and authentication are central tenets to WatchBox’s platform, with each watch thoroughly evaluated by the company’s in-house master watchmakers. https://www.thewatchbox.com 

About The Upper House
The Upper House is a highly individualised small luxury hotel designed by Hong Kong architect Andre Fu. The hotel’s 117 rooms (including 21 suites and 2 penthouses) start at 730sq ft - the largest in Hong Kong. They feature wonderfully spacious bathrooms and dressing areas, and offer either scenic harbour or island views. Calming and contemporary, the rooms are designed to provide a sense of relaxation, warmth and understated luxury. Café Gray Deluxe, a 21st century ‘grand café’ located on level 49, offers unique style of European classics cuisine from celebrated chef Gray Kunz. https://www.upperhouse.com 

HSNY Partners with the AWCI for a Joint $20,000 Donation Towards Horological Education

HSNY President Nicholas Manousos (pictured left) and AWCI President Aaron Recksiek (pictured right) present monetary donations to Paris Junior College Watchmaking Instructor Stanley McMahan. Photo credit Monica Schipper.

New York City, May 1, 2019

Two of America’s most prominent horological institutions are combining forces - and funds - to maintain horological institutions alive in the United States. On April 17, 2019, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) announced a donation match with the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI) at HSNY’s annual Gala & Charity Auction.

During the celebratory evening, HSNY President Nicholas Manousos updated guests on the state of U.S. watchmaking schools. Three watchmaking programs have closed in the last decade, with only nine full-time schools remaining. Together, HSNY and AWCI pledged to keep horological education alive by each donating $10,000 to the watchmaking program at Paris Junior College. 

“This collaboration illustrates the positive difference that HSNY and AWCI can make together,” said Manousos. “Supporting watchmaking education is crucial to our industry, and these matching donations will be particularly effective in ensuring student watchmakers from the Paris Junior College have the tools they need to succeed. HSNY looks forward to continued collaboration with our friends at the AWCI.”

“HSNY and AWCI have been working together for almost 60 years to support watchmaking,” said AWCI Executive Director Jordan Ficklin. “When AWCI President Aaron Recksiek visited the school in Paris, Texas, this winter he could see that they had many needs in order to elevate the program to the standards of the industry. The AWCI Education, Library, and Museum Trust agreed to donate $10,000 which allowed the two organizations together to provide $20,000 in financial support to the school.”

In addition to cash contributions, AWCI and Eckcells (a material supply house supporting independent watchmakers), presented the school with a Wellner cleaning machine valued at $14,000.

The awards were received by Paris Junior College Watchmaking Instructor Stanley McMahan

“This generous contribution from the memberships of our premier U.S. watchmaking organizations will greatly enhance and accelerate student learning in the watchmaking program at Paris Junior College,” said McMahan. “Support for watchmaker education at this level demonstrates the overwhelming commitment of the American watchmaking community to the strong future of this exciting profession! The program’s first 75 years has provided a great foundation upon which to build. The new equipment makes it possible to form a strong and modern foundation of craftsmanship for our graduates.”

HSNY further supports individuals attending full-time watchmaking schools. With the inception of HSNY’s Henry B. Fried Scholarship, students attending full-time watchmaking schools can apply to receive funds to offset the cost of tools. In 2019, HSNY extended the once $5,000 award to three $10,000 scholarships to watchmaking students. 

For more information on Paris Junior College, visit http://www.parisjc.edu/watchmaking

Welcoming New HSNY Members, April 2019

HSNY would like to welcome the following new members. It is with your help that we are able to continue flourishing as America's oldest watchmaking guild, and your commitment to HSNY helps us advance the art and science of horology every day.  

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  • Jairam Eswara, MA

  • Marc Corsiglia, NY

  • Matthew L Collins, DE

  • Peter Stavrianidis, NJ

  • Steven F Sion, CA

  • Tania Edwards, NY

  • Yuen Ka Hei, Hong Kong

  • Zachary Udell, NY

  • Albert Billeci, NY

  • Brett Beebe, MO

  • Bruce Hochstadter, IL

  • Christine M de Melo, PA

  • David Guarrera, Washington, D.C.

  • David J Sylvan, IL

  • Francis Zape, NC

  • Gill Pratt, CA

Upcoming Lecture: The Ups and Downs of the Greenwich Time Ball - An Overview of Its History, Mechanics and Upkeep

The time ball at the    Royal Observatory Greenwich

The time ball at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Join HSNY on Monday, May 6, 2019 for a lecture on The Ups and Downs of the Greenwich Time Ball - An Overview of Its History, Mechanics and Upkeep, by Anna Rolls, Curator of the Clockmakers Museum, London.

The time ball at the Royal Observatory Greenwich in London marks 1:00pm daily when it drops from the top of its mast. Installed in 1833, the ball was one of the earliest public time signals, offering an improved service for mariners who could rate their chronometers directly on-board ship in the adjacent reaches of the River Thames. It is now one of the many accessioned objects in the collections of the Royal Museums Greenwich. It is integral to the fabric of Flamsteed House, a scheduled ancient monument, and is powered by 20th century engineering and timed by 21st century electronics. As such it is one of the more complex objects to look after within a museum environment. At the May, 2019, meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Anna Rolls will discuss the history of the time ball, the evolution of its mechanical operation and the challenges it has faced in its transition from an observatory instrument to a working museum attraction.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE!

Event Recap: HSNY 2019 Gala & Charity Auction

The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) celebrated 153 years of tradition at their annual Gala & Charity Auction on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, raising more than $45,000 towards their mission of horological education. In addition, $30,000 in scholarships were awarded to watchmaking students and $10,000 was awarded to a watchmaking school. 

HSNY celebrated 153 years at the 2019 Gala & Charity Auction, raising more than $45,000 towards their mission of horological education.

HSNY celebrated 153 years at the 2019 Gala & Charity Auction, raising more than $45,000 towards their mission of horological education.

America’s oldest watchmaking guild toasted to horology with the help of 200 members and guests at the picturesque Manhattan Penthouse in Union Square. With a backdrop of the glowing Manhattan skyline, HSNY celebrated the year’s horological accomplishments and awarded three $10,000 scholarships to watchmaking students in the United States. The Henry B. Fried Scholarship, created to assist students at full-time watchmaking schools, was awarded to Aleksandra Halic (North American Institute of Swiss Watchmaking in Dallas, Texas), Nural Amin (York Time Institute in York, Pennsylvania) and Gerard Connolly (a contingent student based in Boston, Massachusetts). 

For the first time in its history, HSNY pledged a donation to a watchmaking school - The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology at Paris Junior College. The $10,000 donation was received by Watchmaking Instructor Stanley McMahan. The college, which is today one of nine remaining full-time horological institutions in the United States, recently fell on financial hardship. HSNY’s donation, which was matched by the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute (AWCI), will ensure that the institution continues to thrive and produce certified watchmakers for years to come. 

HSNY awarded the Henry B. Fried Scholarship ($10,000 each) to three watchmaking students and made a $10,000 donation to The Texas Institute of Jewelry Technology at Paris Junior College.

The 2019 Howard Fass Award was proudly presented to Daniel Fenwick, a longtime member of HSNY and a leader in the horological industry. This highest honor is bestowed to individuals judged to have shown extraordinary dedication to the ideals which the Society pursues. 

Daniel Fenwick (L) received the Howard Fass award, given to individuals judged to have shown extraordinary dedication to the ideals which the Society pursues. This year’s coveted award was presented by HSNY Vice President John Teifert (R).

Daniel Fenwick (L) received the Howard Fass award, given to individuals judged to have shown extraordinary dedication to the ideals which the Society pursues. This year’s coveted award was presented by HSNY Vice President John Teifert (R).

The energy in the room turned electric when Christie’s presented the 2019 charity auction lots. Led by Christie’s Caroline Ervin, the room engaged in friendly bidding wars on some of the best lots in HSNY history. Auction items included exquisite watches, rare horological ephemera and one-of-a-kind experiences with three surprise lots announced live. 

In total, the nonprofit organization raised more than $45,000 - the most money raised to-date via charity auction - which will be directly reinvested towards horological education and HSNY scholarships.

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Notables of the night included HSNY’s generous sponsors - many who purchased tables to be front and center on HSNY’s biggest night. They included HODINKEE, Watchonista, F.P. Journe, Grand Seiko, Tudor, A. Lange & Söhne and Christie’s. Actor and watchmaker Aldis Hodge was also in attendance, along with horology royalty Caryl Fried Feldmann (daughter of Henry B. Fried) and Florence Fass (daughter of Howard Fass). The evening featured bountiful gourmet dishes, a premium open bar and live piano sonatas.

HSNY thanks all its sponsors, members and guests for making it a most memorable evening! 

Photo credit Monica Schipper

Welcoming New HSNY Members, March 2019

DID YOU KNOW?   Our March 2019    lecture by Eric Wind     had the  largest attendance  of any HSNY lecture in over 50 years!

DID YOU KNOW? Our March 2019 lecture by Eric Wind had the largest attendance of any HSNY lecture in over 50 years!

HSNY would like to welcome the following new members. It is with your help that we are able to continue flourishing as America's oldest watchmaking guild, and your commitment to HSNY helps us advance the art and science of horology every day.  

  • Aaron Recksiek, UT

  • Alena Diaz, WA

  • Cosmin Badea, Canada 

  • Christopher Salt, Canada 

  • David Cowin, CT

  • David Fox, NY

  • Eric Wind, FL

  • Ernie Hu, NY

  • Fred Savage, CA

  • Gerard Geier, NJ

  • Hartford Hage, NJ

  • H Peter Doble, II, ID

  • Jason Iceman, CT

  • Maurizio Tonon, Italy

  • Michael Cook, NY

  • Michael Culyba, NY

  • Pawel M Hrebenko, CT

  • Stuart D Shanler, PA

  • Tariq Malik, Dubai

Click here for membership benefit information and to join HSNY! 

HSNY Traveling Education Heading to Silicon Valley & Houston this April

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The Horological Society of New York (HSNY), America’s oldest watchmaking guild, founded in 1866, announces today Traveling Education stops in Silicon Valley and Houston this April.

The nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of horology is imparting horological education in two of the largest states, first hosted at Stephen Silver, Silicon Valley’s destination for extraordinary timepieces and jewelry on April 6-7

Texans can expect an unforgettable experience the following weekend when HSNY visits Houston, hosted at luxury jewellery and watches Swiss manufacturer Chopard on April 13-14.

HSNY’s Traveling Education courses are four-hour hands-on experiences taught by expert watchmakers. Students can expect to work closely with instructors, who cover material from Horology 101-103 classes taught weekly in New York City, to include lessons in Movement Mechanics, Gear Training, and Winding & Setting

Throughout the course, students aim to discover what makes a mechanical watch tick by disassembling and reassembling a complete ETA 6497 movement and applying lessons in modern horology. No previous experience is required to take the course. 

For tickets, please visit HSNY’s Eventbrite page for a breakdown of dates and times. Ticket sales are reinvested directly back into HSNY’s ongoing educational mission.

Meeting Recap: Collecting Vintage Watches: How to Avoid Common Mistakes, Issues for Collectors to Discuss, and the Future of the Market

Eric Wind, Owner of Wind Vintage
Monday, March 4, 2019

Video recordings of lectures are available to members immediately (using your membership password), and the general public with a 2 month delay.

Given the increased interest in vintage watches, it was no surprise to see the incredible turnout for Eric Wind’s lecture titled Collecting Vintage Watches at the March 4, 2019 lecture series at the Horological Society of New York.

Wind started the lecture by asking two questions: Why watches? What makes a vintage watch valuable? 

As far as Wind was concerned, culture, possession, treating things well, and appreciation of history and heritage are justifiable reasons for ‘why watches’. For the next question, the following determinants were listed on what makes a vintage watch valuable: Quality, Complications, Condition, Scarcity/Rarity, Style, Provenance, Association, Freshness to Market, Competition and Other X-Factors.

It didn’t take the audience long to realize that they were going to be bestowed with vintage watch wisdom from Wind’s next slide that was titled ‘What Are The Biggest Mistakes I See Vintage Watch Collectors Making?’ Wind listed 14 mistakes in total:

  1. Birth Year watches

  2. Doing it for ‘Likes’

  3. Not knowing where you are on the passion/value scale

  4. Not having an exit strategy for watches

  5. Not thinking independently: More to life than Rolex, Patek and the Icons

  6. Not having the right tools: UV Light, Geiger Counter and Loupe

  7. Focus only on “Full Sets” (watches with box and papers)

  8. Try to make your watches water resistant if possible

  9. Buying rarity over condition

  10. The best watches typically don’t make it to Instagram

  11. Not recording serial numbers and photos of personal collection

  12. Believing everything you see in a watch auction catalog is original

  13. Not realizing the right strap or bracelet can make all the difference

  14. Not understanding watch auctions

As a former Vice President, Senior Specialist of Watches at Christie’s (HSNY’s new sponsor), Wind touched upon the auction world in regards to vintage watches. One example was a scenario with a mint Rolex Daytona Ref. 6263 with box and papers along with an explanation of the consignment process. Also, it was important to note that the auction house represents the seller – not the buyer.  Wind settled the subject by stating, “Just because a watch sold high at auction does not mean that the sale was concluded or that all of that model are worth more.”

After all that wisdom, the audience received another dose of knowledge when Wind produced a watch checklist that included: Provence, Dial, “Lume” on Both, Case and Case Back, Serial Number(s), Manufacture Information, Movement, Other (such as pushers, crown, crystal, etc.), Comparables (by Serial and Price) and Trend.  

Considering all the variables with the watch checklist, Wind urges watch collectors to think, “Does it make sense?” as well as “What makes a watch honest?” and “What forms of restoration is acceptable?”. There also was a thought experiment to ponder - “What is the difference in price if a watch’s worth is totally original versus totally restored, but period correct and exactly the same?”.

The lecture was concluded with ideas on the use of blockchain, serial number registries, third-party grading from institutions such as GIA and PSA and Wind’s SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis for vintage watch collecting.

Once again, the turnout for Wind’s lecture was incredible – it was HSNY’s largest turnout in at least 50 years

HSNY thanks Eric Wind for his fascinating lecture!

Photography by Atom Moore
Submitted by Melody Benloss, HSNY Librarian & Recording Secretary



The Horological Society of New York's May Lecture Attracts A Record Crowd

The record crowd at the Horological Society of New York's May Lecture. Photo by Atom Moore.

Eric Wind's recent lecture at the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) was fascinating, amusing and educational. But it was notable for another very important reason: it had the largest attendance at any HSNY lecture in over 50 years! Nearly 200 people packed the landmark General Society Library in Midtown Manhattan to hear Wind speak, even though the winter weather outside was quite cold. Attendance at recent HSNY meetings has continued to increase to the point where free tickets are required to attend to prevent overcrowding. This is a great problem to have and shows the incredible enthusiasm for horological education in New York.

Panorama of the General Society Library during the Horological Society of New York's May Lecture. Photo by Atom Moore.

50 years ago, the American watchmaking industry was at its peak and HSNY's monthly meetings attracted huge crowds on a regular basis. Back then, HSNY operated as a 501(c)(6) business league, focusing on the needs of professional watchmakers. Today, HSNY is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, focused on horological education for the public. Looking back in the HSNY archives, we found a page from the May, 1950, Horologist's Loupe (HSNY's monthly newsletter) that shows a wonderful photo of the April, 1950, lecture, with over 500 people in attendance.

HSNY is grateful for the continued support from our members and sponsors, and we look forward to seeing you at a lecture or class soon!

Page from the May, 1950, Horologist's Loupe.

HSNY Announces Auction Lots for the 2019 Gala on April 17

HSNY’s 2019 Gala & Charity Auction will be held at the    Manhattan Penthouse   , an incredible venue with panoramic views of the New York City skyline.

HSNY’s 2019 Gala & Charity Auction will be held at the Manhattan Penthouse, an incredible venue with panoramic views of the New York City skyline.

The Horological Society of New York is proud to announce the 2019 Charity Auction, presented by Christie's, which will take place at the Gala on Wednesday, April 17, 2019. 

A selection of extraordinary timepieces, exceptional experiences and horological miscellanea will be up for sale, with all proceeds benefitting HSNY's ongoing educational programs. There will be no buyer's premiums, and all bidding will take place live in the room. Absentee bids will be accepted via email until 24 hours prior to the Gala & Charity Auction start time. 

Preview will be held at the HSNY office & classroom from 2pm-4pm, Tuesday, April 16, 2019.

 
 
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HSNY Welcomes Christie's as a Sponsor

John Reardon, International Head of Watches for Christie's,    calling    the HSNY 2018 Charity Auction.

John Reardon, International Head of Watches for Christie's, calling the HSNY 2018 Charity Auction.

New York City - March 1, 2019

Furthering the Horological Society of New York’s (HSNY) educational mission, a global leading art business Christie’s has joined as a sponsor. 

The auction powerhouse’s commitment to HSNY will help ensure the 153-year-old watchmaking guild continues its monthly lecture series, international horology classes, and financial aid for the next generation of watchmakers. 

“Christie’s is honored to be part of the HSNY family and to be an official sponsor of this esteemed organization,” said John Reardon, Christie’s International Head of Watches. “Behind every great watch collector is a great watchmaker forever present to maintain and preserve horological treasures from the past. It is a natural fit that Christie’s supports the vision of the HSNY and we look forward to being part of the many exciting events and initiatives planned for 2019 and beyond.”

“It is a pleasure to welcome Christie's, the world-famous auction house, as a sponsor of the Horological Society of New York,” said HSNY President Nicholas Manousos. “Founded in 1766, Christie's rich history is intertwined with horological history in a very meaningful way. Christie's generous support of the educational mission of the Horological Society of New York is incredibly motivating and will greatly aid the Horological Society of New York in promoting horological education worldwide.”

About Christie’s  

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in 2018 that totalled £5.3 billion / $7 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

About the Horological Society of New York

Founded in 1866, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) is one of the oldest continuously operating horological associations in the world. Today, HSNY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of horology through education. Members are a diverse mix of watchmakers, clockmakers, executives, journalists, auctioneers, historians, salespeople and collectors, reflecting the rich nature of horology in New York City; http://hs-ny.org

HSNY Welcomes Massena LAB as a Sponsor

William Massena, Founder and CEO of Massena LAB,    lecturing    on how to win (and sometimes lose) at watch auctions, March 6, 2017.

William Massena, Founder and CEO of Massena LAB, lecturing on how to win (and sometimes lose) at watch auctions, March 6, 2017.

New York City - February 28, 2019

The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) announces artisanal watchmaking company Massena LAB has joined as a sponsor. Helmed by William Massena, Founder and CEO of Massena LAB and Trustee of HSNY, the latest sponsorship directly aids America’s oldest watchmaking guild in fulfilling its educational mission.

Massena LAB prides itself on partnering with independent watchmakers to conceptualize unique timepieces from sketch to wrist - echoed by HSNY’s mission to advance the art and science of horology through education. With Massena LAB’s support, HSNY is able to continue monthly lecture series, enhance horology classes worldwide, and secure scholarship opportunities for future watchmakers.

“Massena LAB is delighted to become a sponsor of the Horological Society of New York,” said Massena. “Our aim is to encourage the creativity of independent watchmakers, and the continuation of traditional techniques. The education of the next generation of horologists is key to our future success.”

“It is wonderful to welcome Massena LAB as a sponsor of the Horological Society of New York,” said HSNY President Nicholas Manousos. The brand's innovative work in collaborating with creative independent watchmakers is encouraging on many levels, and their focus on watchmaking as art can motivate us all to enjoy horology from a different perspective. Massena LAB's kind support of the Horological Society of New York's educational mission is heartening, and will greatly aid us in promoting horological education worldwide.”

About Massena LAB

Massena LAB was manifested from the desire to re-discover the craft of artisanal watch making in an age of saturated mass production, and aims to be a leader in producing rare, original timepieces.

Massena LAB prides itself in conceiving, designing and developing timepieces with independent watchmakers who machine, craft, assemble, test and finish their timepieces. https://www.massenalab.com 

About the Horological Society of New York

Founded in 1866, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) is one of the oldest continuously operating horological associations in the world. Today, HSNY is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of horology through education. Members are a diverse mix of watchmakers, clockmakers, executives, journalists, auctioneers, historians, salespeople and collectors, reflecting the rich nature of horology in New York City; http://hs-ny.org

In The News: Atlas Obscura Explores the World of Horology at HSNY

Have you ever been curious about the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) Education courses? Would you like to know more about the class setup and what can be gained from Horology 101 – 104

Curiosity recently brought the Atlas Obscura team to our headquarter, where Deputy Editor Samir Patel joined HSNY President Nicholas Manousos for a one-on-one lesson in horological education. 

Thank you to the entire Atlas Obscura team for creating a magnificent video showcasing a few of HSNY’s marvels. If you’re ready to take a class with us you can sign up here!

HSNY Joins The Hundred Year Association of New York

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A lot can happen in a century. Wars have taken place, scientific discoveries have been made, and pop culture has evolved drastically. But on a more microscopic level, there is an elite group of organizations that have not ceased to exist, serving their members, staying true to their missions, and evolving with the times. Today, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) is officially one of them.

HSNY proudly announces today its induction to The Hundred Year Association of New York, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is “to preserve the history and promote the heritage of public and private organizations that have been in existence for a century or more.”

Through this recognition, HSNY has solidified a spot in the history books alongside industry legends including Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Inc., The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen (home to HSNY’s classroom and office), American Heart Association, American Museum of Natural History and more.

HSNY is grateful to be inducted as a member and especially gracious to its HSNY members who continue to aid in the mission to advance the art and science of horology through education.

For more information about The Hundred Year Association of New York, visit https://100yearassociation.com.  

Deadline for the $10,000 Henry B. Fried Watchmaking Scholarship is Approaching Soon!

Henry B. Fried instructing students on escapement mechanics. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Public Library—Brooklyn Collection.

Watchmaking is a vibrant, rewarding and dynamic career, and the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) wants to help as many people study and enter the profession as possible. For 2019 the Henry B. Fried Scholarship is dramatically expanding, with multiple students to be awarded the $10,000 prize. The application period for the scholarship closes on Friday, March 1, and the scholarships will be awarded at HSNY's annual Gala & Charity Auction on April 17, 2019. Don't delay - get your application in today!

Henry B. Fried (1907-1996) was president of the Horological Society of New York, president of the New York State Watchmakers Association, and vice-president of the Horological Institute of America (a precursor to the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute.) A prolific author, Fried authored 14 books on watchmaking that continue to be in high demand. He was the first American to receive the Silver Medal of the British Horological Institute, and the New York Times described him as “the dean of American watchmakers.” In short, Fried exemplified every value HSNY pursues today.

Any student who has been accepted or is currently studying at a full-time watchmaking school in the USA is eligible for the Henry B. Fried Scholarship. Prospective students may also apply, with the understanding that the scholarship is contingent on their enrollment at a full-time watchmaking school. More information is available at HSNY's Henry B. Fried Scholarship page.

Upcoming Lecture: Collecting Vintage Watches: How to Avoid Common Mistakes, Issues for Collectors to Discuss, and the Future of the Market

Join HSNY on Monday, March 4, 2019 for a lecture on Collecting Vintage Watches: How to Avoid Common Mistakes, Issues for Collectors to Discuss, and the Future of the Market, by Eric Wind, Owner of Wind Vintage.

With the explosive growth in interest and values for vintage watches in recent years, how can new collectors successfully navigate and enjoy the world of vintage watches? The field of vintage watches is in an interesting place with more minefields than ever in the realm of collecting, a staggering amount of animosity on social media and watch fora, and a concerning lack of curiosity around new watch scholarship today. At the March 4, 2019, meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Eric Wind will discuss the common mistakes he sees beginning collectors making and also will raise important questions for the collector community to discuss, including restoration, tracking provenance, third-party grading and watch registries, how to educate those interested in acquiring vintage watches, and the future of the market.

READ THE FULL STORY HERE!

Welcoming New HSNY Members, February 2019

HSNY would like to welcome the following new members. It is with your help that we are able to continue flourishing as America's oldest watchmaking guild, and your commitment to HSNY helps us advance the art and science of horology every day. 

  • Jordan Ferry, FL

  • Joseph M Lombardo, NJ

  • Kevin Doyle, Washington, D.C.

  • Kyle P Kenyon, MO

  • Mark Cho, NY

  • Michael Rogers, NY

  • Rene Quiroz, NY

  • Robert C. Cheney, MA

  • Robert Del Castillo, CA

  • Weekeat Ng, Singapore

  • Whitney Bria, CT

  • Yang Xu, NY

  • Agam de Bonth, Netherlands

  • Alexandra Ainatchi, NY

  • Anne D Miller, MD

  • Barnett Geller, NY

  • Brian Davison, FL

  • C K Griffith, NY

  • Dan Langan, NY

  • Dean Sarnelle, VA

  • Henry Wong, NY

  • Gerard Connolly, MA

  • Jimmy Hsieh, CA

  • Joel Berstein, NY

Click here for membership benefit information and to join HSNY! 

Don’t forget to purchase your    ticket    to the Gala & Charity Auction on April 17!

Don’t forget to purchase your ticket to the Gala & Charity Auction on April 17!

Meeting Recap: The Secrets of Horological Engine-Turning (Guilloché)

Video recordings of lectures are available to members immediately (using your membership password), and the general public with a 2 month delay.

Joshua Shapiro, Watchmaker and Owner of J.N. Shapiro Watches
February 4, 2019 

At the February 4, 2019 lecture at the Horological Society of New York, Joshua Shapiro, Watchmaker and Owner of J.N. Shapiro Watches, graced attendees with his passion of engine turning and how growing up in a machine shop steered him towards watchmaking. Shapiro divided his lecture, The Secrets of Horological Engine-Turning (Guilloché), into four parts:

  • What is engine turning?

  • How does engine turning work?

  • What is the history of engine turning?

  • What is my contribution?

WHAT IS ENGINE TURNING?

Shapiro made sure to point out that ‘engine turned’ is spoken in English-speaking countries, whereas ‘guilloché’ is used everywhere else. The three machines that Shapiro highlighted were the Rose Engine Machine, Straight Line Machine and Brocading Machine.

HOW DOES ENGINE TURNING WORK?

Rose Engine Machine: The most famous and recognized, the machine is used for circular lines as the transfer workpiece is stationary then locks. Images of the MADE Rose Engine Machine used by David Lindow and the Frank Dorian 1851 Custom Made exemplified the workings of rose engine machinery. A video of the rose engine showed an example of a hand-operated machine creating a heart-shaped rosette. The magnification (10x) of the pattern was to check that if the cutter is dull, the engine turning will be dull.

Straight Line Machine: Though not as aesthetically pleasing as the rose engine, the straight line machine produces vertical line engraving. The bars are traced and the bar is moved to change the pattern. A video of the straight line machine showed a microscopic view (30x magnification) of the diamond pattern. Not only is the diamond a common pattern, it is also the easiest engine turning pattern to make. Straight line engine turning, however, calls for a border. The border patterns cover up the end marks - so when you are looking at a watch, see how the marks are covered up in straight line machining.

Brocading Machine: Also known as ‘medallion machine’, this is unlike the rose engine or straight line machines because an active operator is not required. The automatic version of the machine produces a pattern that is utilized by Audemars Piguet for their Royal Oak dials.

WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF ENGINE TURNING?

The rose engine was invented in the early 1500s and was more complex compared to the bow/pole lathes. The first engine turned watch was made around 1680 in a wave rose pattern. Also, keep in mind that the ornamentation was for royalty and the rich. Shapiro also pointed out the people who were key in engine turning history: Jean-Antoine Lépine, Pierre Benjamin Tavernier and Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Jean-Antoine Lépine: French watchmaker (1720 - 1814) who created thin pocket watch movements. It is thought that Lépine influenced Breguet since A.L. Breguet may have apprenticed with Lépine. Although ‘Breguet hands’ are attributed to its namesake, Lépine actually invented the design.

Pierre Benjamin Tavernier: Paris had skilled artisans that had the dual talent of case making and engine turning. Tavernier’s skill can be found on works for Lépine and Breguet.

Abraham-Louis Breguet: There’s no denying the aesthetic influence Breguet has on numerous brands such as Patek Philippe. His earlier dials were originally enamel and the movements were considered works of art due to their complexity and skill of Breguet frosting (a.k.a. depletion gilding). Modern Breguet dials are now gold and plated in silver - before it was either gold or silver.

Early 1900s: The popularity of engine turning began to burst - the rose engine and straight line machines are mass produced along with higher precision and quality during the Industrial Revolution. Items such as napkin rings, lighters, boxes, cigar boxes, pens, frames, eggs and several types of jewelry were receiving the engine turned treatment.

The 30s, 40s and 50s: During these years, engine turning became popular on wristwatches. However, due to remarkably thin dials, there is the test of trying not to remove too much metal or else it goes through the dial.

The 60s: The advent of quartz nearly killed the presence of engine turning due to no passing on of skills and machines being difficult to find.

The 80s and 90s: Throughout these years, the revival of engine turning was slow. However, it was led by George Daniels in his book “Watchmaking”. Large Swiss watch companies began hoarding the machines - not for use - but for show. Derek Pratt, who has been compared to George Daniels, revitalized the Urban Jurgensen watch brand by using the technique. Other contemporary watch dial engine turners such as Roger Smith, Jochen Benzinger, Kari Voutilainen, David Lindow, Roland Murphy, Bernard Van Ormelingen, Calina Shevlin, Brittany Nicole Cox and nameless individuals at Metalem, Breguet, etc., are working to keep engine turning relevant and alive.

CNC and Stamping: Both processes aid in mass production. The use of CNC machines is necessary for serial production and is common amongst the large Swiss brands and some independent brands. You can get good results from the CNC depending on the operator, but the value diminishes. The use of stamping is used on a larger scale than CNC - however, since there’s no cutter, the sharpness is lost. Near the end of his lecture, Shapiro made a point to give a consumer warning, “Companies that make engine-turned dials are proud of it. Buyer beware if you can’t find any media of them making actual dials!”

WHAT IS MY CONTRIBUTION?

Shapiro strongly wants to contribute to the expansion of engine-turning and horology, particularly in the United States. After accomplishing the Basket Weave technique (which took six years to accomplish since it is one of the most difficult patterns to do) he started a brand new pattern termed Infinity Weave. The pattern is made by making small boxes that are done one line at a time. Shapiro wanted to push himself to the limit with the Infinity Weave because it is very easy to make a mistake and the process needs to be re-done. For the future, Shapiro wants to continue with the Infinity pattern on 40mm cases and experiment with other metals. Finally, there are plans to engine-turn on UWD movements and to create an American made movement within two to three years.

HSNY thanks Joshua Shapiro for his lecture!

Photography by Atom Moore
Submitted by Melody Benloss, HSNY Librarian & Recording Secretary

Upcoming Event: Xavier Magaldi Exhibits “Temporality” Collection Inspired by Horology (RSVP)

If you’ve visited the HSNY classroom and office you’ve most likely spotted silkscreen prints by Xavier Magaldi. Now, the Swiss artist is back in New York and exhibiting his “Temporality” collection at BOCCARA ART Brooklyn.

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, the gallery will host a reception to exhibit Magaldi's artwork, an alumnus of the École d'horlogerie de Genève, whose inspiration stems from the geometric forms of horology juxtaposed with the free-flowing graffiti style. 

Through “Temporality”, Magaldi showcases steel sculptures that almost supersize the inner workings hidden on our wrists. 

Art (and horology) enthusiasts can RSVP to the opening reception taking place from 6PM - 9PM by clicking here.

For more information on BOCCARA ART Brooklyn, visit https://boccara-art.com

To learn more about artist Xavier Magaldi, visit https://xaviermagaldi.com

Update: This exhibition will now be on view through April 6, 2019.

Images courtesy of https://xaviermagaldi.com and BOCCARA ART Brooklyn