Meeting Recap - A Story of Old Horology in London

Seth Kennedy – Antiquarian Horologist, London. Photo by Atom Moore.
July 5, 2016

At the July meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Mr. Seth Kennedy, noted horologist from London, gave a talk on the history of the watch industry in England. Kennedy displayed several antique watches which he meticulously restored and showed many slides of the Clerkenwell streets where the industry began in the 17th century.

At one time there were thousands of clock and watchmakers in the area, producing timepieces for the world market. Noted for their excellence, they have always been in great demand. However, because American factories began mass producing watches in the 19th century using interchangeable parts, English watches (which were mostly hand made) could no longer compete. Consequently, fewer tradesmen were needed in the industry. Mr. Kennedy explained that fixing these old watches often requires making parts, utilizing the same skills as the original watchmakers. Sometimes it takes weeks to finish a repair! No doubt, not everyone can do it, but he has shown us the procedure.

We admire his accomplishments and thank him for this lecture.

Submitted by Walter Pangretitsch, Recording Secretary, HSNY