Meeting Recap: Choosing a Clock: Regulation, Cosmopolitanism and Humbuggery

Professor Kevin Birth, Department of Anthropology, Queens CollegeCity University of New York
September 5, 2017


Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

Imagine if you will, Grand Central Terminal at rush hour on a Friday afternoon. Now, imagine that every train line had clocks that told a different time. What chaos would result! At the September 2017 meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Professor Kevin Birth discussed the history manipulating time for political gain, known as time pluralism.

Birth gave examples from medieval times up to present day. Highlights include English, Austrian, and American history, including the 1859 New York Democratic Party Convention. Over the centuries, hours have changed dramatically from country to country and from season to season, beginning with sundials and even paper hour tables that served to explain what church clock bells meant from many different cultures. Clocks controlled business, the work day, and were also used to predict tides for merchant who moved their wares on rivers and canals. 

HSNY thanks Professor Kevin Birth for the fascinating lecture!

Ed Hydeman Named Executive Director for HSNY

HSNY has experienced phenomenal growth over recent years, and the need for a new position to manage behind-the-scenes aspects of the Society has become evident. With this in mind, HSNY's Trustees elected Ed Hydeman as the Society's first Executive Director at the June board meeting. Hydeman's extensive experience in the watch industry, along with serving as HSNY's President for eight years make him perfectly suited to the job. Congratulations, Ed!

Above, Ed Hydeman and Nicholas Manousos at HSNY's 150th Anniversary Gala, March 2016

Meeting Recap: The History of the Tourbillon

Stephen Forsey, Co-founder of Greubel Forsey and CompliTime SA
June 5, 2017

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

In his lecture at the June 5th meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Greubel Forsey Co-founder Stephen Forsey detailed the history and functionality of tourbillon watches. Invented in the late 18th century by Abraham-Louis Breguet, the tourbillon has evolved with many enhancements to rate accuracy and reliability. Mr. Forsey pointed out several inventions and improvements made by Greubel Forsey, including their 30 degree inclined tourbillon. Also explained was the scientific methodology that goes into testing tourbillons.

Complimenting the lecture, a selection of Greubel Forsey timepieces were on display, allowing Society members a chance to examine expertly crafted tourbillon mechanisms up close. We thank Mr. Forsey for visiting the Horological Society of New York and delivering such an intriguing lecture.

Submitted by Walter Pangretitsch, Recording Secretary, HSNY

Meeting Recap: Glashütte on Board – 130 Years of Marine Chronometers From Saxony

Ulrike Kranz - Glashütte Original
May 1, 2017

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

There is always something new and interesting to learn at HSNY lectures. This was proven once again at the May 1st meeting when Glashütte Original's Ulrike Kranz discussed the history of German marine chronometers. Since the late 19th century and continuing to the present day, watch companies located in the city of Glashütte have produced marine chronometers used by countries worldwide to aid in sea navigation. 

Ms. Kranz pointed out that the Glashütte horological industry went through hard times after WWII. Much of their machinery, equipment, and designs were confiscated by Russian forces as part of war reparations. However, they were able to retool most of their factories, recreating designs from memory. It was a remarkable achievement since there was a postwar blockade preventing imports from the west. The new GDR state controlled all factories. Nevertheless, outstanding timepieces continued to be exported. 

Kranz explained that after the reunification of Germany the Glashütte Observatory was reopened, and today houses a chronometer testing facility. The Glashütte Observatory also officially certifies the chronometers made by Glashütte Original – the legal successor of the VEB Glashütter Uhrenbetriebe. HSNY thanks Ulrike Kranz, Glashütte Original and the German Watch Museum for the incredible look at German horological history!

Submitted by Walter Pangretitsch, Recording Secretary, HSNY

Event Recap: HSNY 2017 Annual Gala & Charity Auction

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

On April 3rd, the Horological Society of New York celebrated its 151st anniversary with a gala dinner and charity auction in Midtown Manhattan. Members and guests from across the country gathered to celebrate New York's horological tradition, see the presentation of the Henry B. Fried Scholarship, and bid on a collection of vintage timepieces.

Steve Eagle (HSNY's Director of Education, right) presenting the 2017 Henry B. Fried Scholarship to Justin Shellenberger

The Henry B. Fried Scholarship was established to assist American watchmaking students in their studies at full-time watchmaking schools and was awarded for the first time at the 2017 Gala. HSNY's Director of Education, Steve Eagle, spoke on the merits of horological education and reflected on his time at watchmaking school. Eagle then introduced the 2017 Henry B. Fried Scholarship awardee to the crowd, Justin Shellenberger. Shellenberger is a first year student at the Lititz Watch Technicum in Pennsylvania. In his scholarship application, Shellenberger referenced the impact that the writing of Fried and Daniels made on his watchmaking ambitions.

Nicholas Dawes calling the HSNY 2017 Charity Auction

A collection of vintage timepieces bequeathed to HSNY over forty years ago was auctioned at the 2017 Gala, with proceeds going towards HSNY's newly established endowment fund. Bidding was enthusiastic, with over $30,000 raised from the five lots. The charity auction was made possible by HSNY sponsor Heritage Auctions, and called by Nicholas Dawes of PBS' Antiques Roadshow fame.

The crowd was a diverse mix of watchmakers, clockmakers, collectors, journalists, auctioneers and executives, reflecting the friendship and generosity of the NYC & US watch industry. Plans for HSNY's 2018 Gala are already underway, we are looking forward to seeing you there!

AWCI Teams up With Richter & Phillips Jewelers to Host an Afternoon at Their Museum Focused on Chronographs

The chronograph is one of the most widely loved complications in the watchmaking world. While it may seem simple to make those secondary hands start, stop, and reset there are many components which need to interact with one another precisely in order for the watch to perform correctly.
On April 22nd, the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute hosts Richter & Phillips Jewelers’ watchmaker Matthew Schloemer, CW21 at their museum near Cincinnati as he lectures on the chronograph mechanism, its history, and its function. Matthew will demonstrate several different chronograph movements and point out key differences between them. He will dive beneath the dial and illustrate from the watchmaker’s perspective all the moving parts and how they interact.
The afternoon event is the first of what AWCI hopes will be many technical events for collectors. Each event will have limited seating and be both social and educational. The $50 registration fee will support watchmaking education and those in attendance will enjoy cocktails and light refreshments, tour the Orville R. Hagans History of Time museum, peruse the library collections, and sit down in their state-of-the-art classroom for a technical presentation.
Limited seats available. Register at

7th Annual Madison Avenue Watch Week, May 8-13, 2017

Madison Avenue will once again become the epicenter of haute horlogerie during the 7th Annual Madison Avenue Watch Week. Slated this year for May 8-13, Madison Avenue’s premiere watch retailers and brands will preview their newest and most exceptional timepieces that recently debuted at Baselworld and at SIHH in Switzerland, along with a weeklong immersion into the art of watchmaking.

Open to the public, premier watch brands are welcoming enthusiasts and collectors with special events and offerings during business hours in the participating Madison Avenue stores located between 57th and 86th Streets. For more information, a calendar of events, a map and to request an invitation, visit (new edition of the website coming soon):

Madison Avenue Watch Week is presented by the Madison Avenue Business Improvement District (BID) and sponsored by The Wall Street Journal. The event is supported by the Horological Society of New York.

Meeting Recap: How to Win (and Sometimes Lose) at Watch Auctions

William Massena - Managing Director of
March 6, 2017

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

The speaker at the March 6th meeting of the Horological Society of New York was William Massena, well-known expert in the field of buying and selling watches. In his second lecture at HSNY, Massena gave practical advise on how to deal with auction houses. Some of the largest firms, such as Phillips, Christies and Sotheby's, handle only high end timepieces. Several others share the growing watch auction market, soliciting bids internationally.

It is up to the buyer to be knowledgable about their potential purchase. Sometimes catalogue descriptions are not sufficient and may be exaggerated. Massena suggests doing your homework, reading a condition report about the watch from the auctioneer and personally inspecting it, if possible. These are valuable tips for collectors and investors who undoubtably drive the auction market. HSNY thanks Massena for his great presentation.

Submitted by Walter Pangretitsch, Recording Secretary, HSNY

Meeting Recap: Time is Money - How to Make a Living in the World of Watches

John Reardon - International Head of Watches, Christie's
February 6, 2017

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

It seemed like the entire membership was present at the February 6th meeting of the HSNY. Extra chairs were set up in the General Society Library to accommodate the large audience. The speaker of the evening, Mr. John Reardon, discussed various people connected with the watchmaking industry, including their beginning and what motivates them today. Names mentioned were Andrew Walden, Rudy Albers, Nicholas Manousos, Benjamin Clymer, Michael Friedman, Katie Reed, Atom Moore, among many others. Their success stories are inspirational to anyone hoping to participate in the world of watches today.

Mr. Reardon asked his interviewees how they got started in their respective fields and what advice they would give to others. The overwhelming answer was dedication to their jobs, enjoying what they do with a passion and sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm with others. They comprise a select group who keep the wheels turning in the watchmaking business.

Our thanks to Mr. Reardon for this extraordinary presentation.

Submitted by Walter Pangretitsch, Recording Secretary, HSNY

Meeting Recap: Horology in Art

Bob Frishman - Founder and Owner of Bell-Time Clocks
January 10, 2017

Video recordings of meetings are available to HSNY members.

At the January meeting of the Horological Society of New York, Bob Frishman, founder and owner of Bell-Time Clocks, delivered a captivating lecture on Horology in Art. Frishman discussed the symbolism of timepieces included in famous artwork, from classical to modern. In one example, Frishman showed the 1812 portrait of Napoleon by Jacques-Louis David, which features a clock showing the time of 4:00 AM. The early morning hour was depicted to show that Napoleon was working hard at all hours of the day. In another example, Frishman showed the 1653 Velazquez portrait of Infanta Maria Theresa to explain how timepieces were included to show the wealth or sophistication of the subject.

Frishman concluded his lecture by inviting the audience to the Horology in Art symposium that he is organizing for the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors in October at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. HSNY thanks Bob Frishman for his entertaining and educational lecture.