Watch collecting is a serious business. So, too, is watchmaking and it seems as though here in America we don’t have enough watchmaker students to satisfy demands. But the Horological Society of New York has its pulse on the problem and is making strides to help interested students with financial aid. It also just expanded its library in New York to enormous size — worthy of any watch lover’s time.
The Horological Society of New York (HSNY), originally founded in 1866, has the distinction of being one of the oldest continuously operating watch association in the world. The nonprofit organization dedicates itself to advancing the art of watchmaking via education and awareness. To that end, it has enhanced and named its library in the heart of New York City.
The HSNY library is now the Jost Bürgi Research Library, named after a Swiss clockmaker who was born in 1552. The library is now one of the largest horological libraries globally with 25,000 books, original texts donated by founding members and a host of items on display. The first library of its kind in New York City, it boasts huge arched windows that let the light shine in on the 2,000-square-foot library on the fifth floor of the General Society building where HSNY also conducts special events, lectures and exhibits.
Among the rarities within the 800 linear feet of custom-built bookshelf space are first editions dating back to 1652. The library is a veritable treasure trove for watch lovers and researchers, with its interesting paraphernalia such as advertisements, posters, and even a postcard collection consisting of more than 1,000 cards. According to Nicholas Manousos, HSNY Executive Director, the project of moving, organizing and integrating the Mueller-Maerki library took three years.The expansion and exponential growth of the library was made possible by the donation of a private collection that belonged to bibliophile, Fortunat Mueller-Maerki, and was one of the largest horological libraries privately owned.
In addition to the new library, HSNY has established three new financial aid programs for watchmaking students in America for 2023 – bringing its total number of programs to eight. Each of the three scholarships, the Charles Sauter Scholarship for Innovation in Horology, the Charles London Scholarship for Watchmaking Students, and the Simon Willard Award for School Watches, is made possible by different establishments, including collectors, companies and retail jewelry establishments like Tiny Jewel Box and London Jewelers. The details on requirements can be found in the HSNY website here. Meanwhile, below is a quick look at the scholarships and what they are for.
The Charles Sauter scholarship was named for a mechanical engineer from Pennsylvania who joined Bulova Watches as an instructor and who was the main engineer for the Accutron watch and other projects. He has two patents filed for specific technical watchmaking innovations. The scholarship is made possible thanks to donations from Matthew Rosenheim, CEO, of Tiny Jewel Box and Amit Puri, CEO of a technical company called Kurtek LLC.
The Charles London scholarship assists students who are in full-time watchmaking school with living expenses and the costs of tools. It is named for London who was a self-taught clock maker in Glen Cove, NY, after emigrating from Europe in 1923. The scholarship is made possible thanks to London Jewelers.
The Simon Willard award, named for the American horologist who lived from 1753 to 1848 and who opened a family store in Boston in 1780, offers aid to students when they are asked to create and build their own “school” watch in the traditional watchmaking style in order to graduate. It stems from a donation by Samy Al Bahra, a collector of independent watches.