Online Clock previously explored the subject of clock collectors’ organizations before here on the Alarm Clock Blog, but we thought it would be a great idea to do an in-depth interview with someone representing an organization of this kind, the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors. Naturally, we were extremely pleased when they expressed interest in taking part in such an interview!
So, without further ado, below you will find the results of Online Clock’s first interview.
(1) What is the NAWCC?
The National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, a private organization dedicated to horological pursuits; most notably, collecting and preserving our horological heritage against the ravages of time.
(2) When was the NAWCC founded and by whom?
The NAWCC was originally founded by a group of previously-acquainted watch and clock collectors who realized they shared the same interests and desired to formally associate with one another. The organization began in 1943, and our first Annual Meeting was held in Philadelphia on October 28, 1944. A draft of the Constitution and Bylaws was soon compiled, and the NAWCC was officially born.
(3) What is the main purpose of the NAWCC?
The NAWCC’s mission is to advance the art and science of horology (timekeeping). The NAWCC actively serves the public and supports NAWCC members by providing educational opportunities, encouraging preservation, facilitating research, publishing horological works, providing online venues for information exchange, and sponsoring events. The National Watch and Clock Museum and the NAWCC Library preserve a diverse collection of timekeeping artifacts, books, and archival materials. The NAWCC’s U.S. and International Chapters also host educational events and exhibits relating to horology.
(4) Can anyone join…if so, how?
Membership is open to anyone with a sincere desire to learn more about horology in the company of other enthusiasts.
At the present time, an individual membership costs $82 U.S.D/per year. There are several tiers of specialized membership for students or youth members, internet-only memberships, and contributory memberships wherein members may contribute more to receive more benefits. Our Business Membership program is additionally designed to provide special business-oriented opportunities to those members for whom horology provides an active income; there are several tiers of business membership, as well.
To join, simply visit our website at www.nawcc.org and click on the link “Join the NAWCC.”
(5) What are some of the main/most important features and functions of your website?
Our extensive internet message forums can be viewed at http://mb.nawcc.org and are linked directly from the NAWCC website. They have been in existence for many years, and are an ever-expanding archive of horological knowledge, tips, tricks, hints, and advice. New articles, links to sites of interest, and in-depth discussion appear there daily.
We also have an extremely large database of rare and unusual archived material scanned from our research library, a large collection of online videos on virtually every horological topic, and a dedicated social media center reserved for the exclusive use of our members. We produce the online e-zine WatchDig.com, dedicated to the modern wristwatch aficionado. Plus we host hundreds of individual sub-sites devoted to our many regional chapters, and an online Classified/Auction facility for the use of our members (and the public).
We are well-represented on Facebook, where we have a group page and pages dedicated both to our National Watch & Clock Museum and to the organization itself.
(6) What is a typical member of the NAWCC like and how does he/she use his membership?
We have members of all shapes and sizes, but typically our members tend to be over 40 with either a professional interest in the horological scene or a life-long love of amateur watches & clock collecting. Many members spend a lot of time involved with their local chapters, attending Regional Events and National Meetings, or interacting via the Internet. Some take advantage of our world-class Research Library (which is a loaning library—members can check out books in person or via mail), others use our digital resources and databases. Our bi-monthly magazine is also very popular with members.
We’ve had close 175,000 members over the past 70 years, and they encompass all types of people. But almost universally, they love watches and clocks, and want to share that passion with fellow collectors.
(7 ) What are NAWCC Chapters? Could you briefly describe what chapters do?
Chapters are regionally-centered local clubs that gather regularly to interact, share knowledge, swap parts and tools, and socialize under the NAWCC banner. The history of our chapters goes all the way back to the founding of the NAWCC, and in the 70 years since they have remained the backbone of our organization.
(8) What are, in your opinion, the most important current trends in the watch/clock industry at the moment?
Hard to say. These days the clock industry isn’t prone to much upheaval; it’s pretty much divided into amazing upper end works of art, and mass runs of low end art and utility clocks. In the electronic scene we’re getting yet another batch of phone/watch hybrids, which are kind of cool; that tech may have finally found its relevance, and its time may have come. Too soon to tell, though. Only a few early-adopters have embraced that concept and moved their phone from pocket to wrist.
We’re seeing a shift towards even higher-tech in the mechanical watch industry, namely in manufacturing techniques. New technologies keep emerging and impacting on the horological scene in surprising new ways. But the powerful brands of the oldest makers remain extremely potent– even more so among collectors interested in selecting brands exalted in their exclusivity, or in matching brands and styles with their own personality and interests.
This may seem at odds with a growing public nostalgia toward Victorian and Edwardian society and style in today’s youth market– pocket watches and fob watches are making a serious comeback– but in my opinion it’s really more a matter of cherry-picking what old-fashioned elements are deigned most appealing, and adopting those stylistic elements in conjunction with a higher tech interior. Old world style with a state-of-the-art engine, in essence.
As I’ve often said in the past: we collect what we like, and we like what is familiar to us, what is imbued with special and comforting memories, and what suggests qualities we admire or which resonate with us on an emotional level. And that means a collector might fixate on literally anything to spur his choice of acquisitions.
(9) What are ways that the traditional watchmaking/clock making industry is trying to keep up to date with modern technologies?
New materials— carbon fiber, Kevlar, new super high-end polymers– are being trotted out and tested in the modern wristwatch field. Bushing and jeweling are being done with various new friction-resistant coatings and synthetic compounds. There have been some new escapement and motivating variations (at least one line of watches out there is being powered by a dual-turbine micro-engine, for instance). New use of LCD screen technology to emulate traditional watch faces and other things. The new tech is creeping in, even in the oldest games in town, mechanical clocks and pocket watches.
Plus the imminent emergence of affordable 3D printers stands ready to completely blow down the doors of part supply and design in shops all over the world.
Progress marches on, as they say.
(10) What are some recent developments/changes/updates you’ve made lately at NAWCC that you’d like to mention?
We’re proud of the recent expansion of our digital footprint and the ongoing updates to our web presence. We remain in the top 1% percentile of horological searches on Google, and are hands-down one of the most well-known horological organizations in the world. We feel we’ve improved communications within our organization– both member-to-member and administration-to-member– about 100%. We’ve become a leaner, better run, more focused organization expanding beyond U.S. borders to offer more of our benefits to members all over the world. We’re pretty proud of that.
(11) Can you tell us about WatchDig.com? What is the purpose of the website and when did it go online?
WatchDig.com is a relatively new initiative intended by us to offer relevant insight and resources specifically focused on the modern watch collecting scene. There has always been a ton of supportive materials for antique and vintage watch collecting among collectors, with tons of archival material and manufacturing databases dating back to the earliest days of watchmaking. We felt we could be of service to the modern watch collecting community by putting together such a resource based on MODERN watches, offering the same type of information to them– except targeted at newer industry releases.
We’ve been online about 2 years, slowly building up our database and re-tooling the site to best serve the needs modern watch collecting. We discovered it’s a whole new ballgame where modern high end wristwatches are concerned– a powerhouse community of active collectors has carved out its own trails to establish far flung cyber-outposts in the digital landscape, dispensing knowledge in blog and message board form. It’s highly organic, and intensely fascinating.
Of course, ultimately our goal is always to help collectors. WatchDig is another tool for that purpose.
(12) Are there any special events connected to the NAWCC that are planned for this year? If so, would you like to mention them…with a short description for what they are and when and where they are scheduled to take place?
Our upcoming National Convention will be held July 3-6 in Dayton Ohio. Several thousand watch and clock enthusiasts will be in attendance from all over the world. I expect it will be quite a party. 😉
(13) Finally, have you ever heard of an Online Alarm Clock before? What do you think of the idea?
I like the idea. Though I wonder if an Internet connection is any more reliable than something with a spring, wound by hand. [ Editor’s note – we disagree! ]
As a tech guy myself, I’d certainly be willing to try it. : )
There you have it, Clock Fans…Online Clock‘s first interview with a representative of what is likely the leading clock and watch collector organization in the world!
We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about the current status of clock collecting and clock-making on a whole, and that some of you will consider supporting the NAWCC by becoming new members.
Special thanks to Mr. Markus Harris, NAWCC Director of Communications, for his time.
Mr. Harris and NAWCC, we at OnlineClock.net salute you…keep on clockin’ !