The Horological Society of New York (HSNY) has once again opened its doors to horology enthusiasts and history buffs alike with its latest exhibition, “Pocket Genius: The Watch Collection of Alex Ku.” The exhibition opened in June and runs through December 2023 and is an exceptional showcase that features more than 50 remarkable timepieces, capturing the ingenuity and artistry of renowned watchmakers throughout history.
“Pocket Genius” offers visitors a mesmerizing journey through the evolution of timekeeping. This captivating exhibition presents a diverse array of watches, including time-only pocket watches, inventive escapements, gem-encrusted cases, and highly complex creations. With pieces dating from the 1690s to the 1990s, the exhibition highlights the pivotal role that watches have played in society, from aiding in navigation and timekeeping to becoming symbols of status and works of art.
Among the exhibition’s many highlights are rare and historically significant pieces that are sure to leave enthusiasts in awe. Notable examples include a dumb quarter-repeating jump-hour pocket watch crafted by the legendary Abraham-Louis Breguet, a co-axial escapement by the ingenious Charles Fasoldt, and Louis Chanson’s skeletonized perpetual calendar featuring a lunar indicator. Additionally, visitors can marvel at enameled masterpieces created by Patek Philippe for Tiffany & Co.
The remarkable collection on display has been generously loaned by Alex Ku, a passionate watch collector based in California. Despite starting his collection just seven years ago, Ku has managed to curate an impressive array of historically significant timepieces, effectively showcasing the rich heritage of horology.
“To hold a pocket watch crafted by a master watchmaker from the past is to grasp a piece of horological history,” said Ku. “For many of the watches in my collection, the true exploration of their stories began only after acquiring them. I am delighted to share these remarkable timepieces with the public, allowing everyone to view and learn from them, just as I have.”
Located at HSNY’s Jost Bürgi Research Library, the exhibit is thoughtfully divided into four distinct sections: “Historical Watchmakers,” “Escapements,” “Complications,” and “Aesthetics.” As an added bonus, visitors can also admire a George Daniels co-axial escapement model, generously loaned by British independent watchmaker and Daniels protege Roger W. Smith OBE.
“The watches featured in this exhibit represent the pinnacle of watchmaking craftsmanship and serve as a testament to the brilliance of the human mind,” says Nicholas Manousos, HSNY Executive Director. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Alex Ku for his exceptional vision in collecting these significant pocket watches and for his unwavering enthusiasm in making this exhibit a reality.”
To enhance the visitor experience, the exhibition comes with a fully illustrated catalog, featuring captivating macro photography by Atom Moore and Collector Notes written by Alex Ku. The catalog is available for purchase both in-person and online at hs-ny.org/shop, with proceeds contributing to HSNY’s mission of advancing the art and science of horology.
“Pocket Genius” welcomes the public Monday through Friday, from 10 AM to 5 PM, and admission is free. The exhibition is conveniently located at HSNY’s premises, situated at 20 West 44th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10036. Don’t miss this extraordinary opportunity to witness the brilliance of horological history firsthand. Explore the artistry, innovation, and heritage that have shaped the world of watches at this exceptional exhibition.