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The National Watch & Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, is planning an exhibit for 2010 that will present the technical and design development of the watch from the earliest pocket watches to the most modern wristwatches. As you are probably aware, the National Watch & Clock Museum officially opened to the public in 1977 with fewer than 1,000 items. Since that time, the collection has increased to over 12,000 items and the museum has undergone several expansion projects. The latest expansion opened in October 1999 and featured an entirely new and redesigned exhibit space, as well as a new two-story addition. Today, the museum is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive horological collection in North America. The Museum’s collection has always been strong in the areas of clocks and pocket watches. We hope that this exhibit will enhance the Museum’s ability to present the significance of the modern wristwatch to the history of horology.

The exhibit, Grand Complications: Art of the Watchmaker, will show how the production of timepieces has always combined a technical skill of the maker with an aesthetic panache. The scale of the watch amplifies these skills. Fine watchmakers have always combined both technical expertise and artistic awareness in the designs of their watches. As the market grew more competitive, so did the need to enhance and improve watches in both their mechanics and appearance. This exhibit will present fine watches from the earliest pocket watches to the modern wristwatch, and the artistic and technical skill of the watchmaker. In addition, the exhibit will incorporate artwork from artists who integrated watches into their artwork (Dali, etc.).

The Museum is seeking loans/donations of a timepiece(s) that best represents the technical and design aspects of watch making. Any timepiece(s) donated for the exhibit will become a permanent addition to the Museum collection, assisting us in our mission of presenting the wide scope of horological history and science. The Museum is also seeking corporate partners to assist in sponsorship of the exhibit.

If you have any questions regarding the exhibit, the Museum, or the NAWCC in general, please feel free to contact me. I would also invite you to tour our state of art facility at your convenience. I look forward to hearing from you on this exciting project.

Noel Poirier
Museum Director
National Watch & Clock Museum
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