Horology (from Greek: ὥρα hṓr|a "hour; time" + -o- interfix + suffix -logy;[1] lit. the study of time) is the art or science of measuring time. Clocks, watches, clockwork, sundials, clepsydras, timers, time recorders and marine chronometers are all examples of instruments used to measure time.

People interested in horology are called horologists. That term is used both by people who deal professionally with timekeeping apparatus (watchmakers, clockmakers), as well as aficionados and scholars of horology. Horology and horologists have numerous organizations, both professional associations and more scholarly societies.

Horological museums and libraries

Horology has a long history[chronology citation needed] and there are many museums and several specialized libraries devoted to the subject. An example is the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which is also the source of the Prime Meridian (longitude 0° 0' 0"), and the home of the first marine timekeepers accurate enough to determine longitude (made by John Harrison). Other horological museums in the London area include the Clockmakers' Museum, and the horological collections at the British Museum, the Science Museum (London) and at the Wallace Collection.

One of the more comprehensive museums dedicated to horology is the Musée international d'horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland). The Musée d'Horlogerie du Locle is a bit smaller but located nearby. One of the better horological museums in Germany is the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum. The two leading specialised horological museums in North America are the National Watch and Clock Museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and the American Clock and Watch Museum in Bristol, Connecticut.

An example of a museum devoted to one particular type of clock is the Cuckooland Museum, in the U. K., which hosts the world's largest collection of antique cuckoo clocks.

One of the most comprehensive horological libraries open to the public is the National Watch and Clock Library in Columbia, PA (USA). Other good horological libraries providing public access are at the Musée international d'horlogerie in Switzerland, at the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum in Germany, and at the Guildhall Library in London.

Another museum dedicated to clocks is the Willard House and Clock Museum in Grafton, Massachusetts.

Horological organizations

The leading scholarly horological organizations are:

World Exhibitions

  • BaselWorld
  • Geneva Time Exhibition [4]
  • Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) [5]

List of horological terms

Term Explanation
Chablon French term for a watch movement (not including the dial and hands), of which all or part of the components are not assembled.
Ébauche French term (but commonly used in English-speaking countries) for a movement blank, i.e. an incomplete watch movement which is sold as a set of loose parts, comprising the main plate, the bridges, the train, the winding and setting mechanism and the regulator. The timing system, the escapement and the mainspring, however, are not parts of the "ébauche"
Établissage French term for the method of manufacturing watches and/or movements by assembling their various components. It generally includes the following operations: receipt, inspection and stocking of the "ébauche", the regulating elements and the other parts of the movement and of the make-up; assembling; springing and timing; fitting the dial and hands; casing; final inspection before packing and dispatching.
Établisseur French term for a watch factory which is engaged only in assembling watches, without itself producing the components, which it buys from specialist suppliers.
Factory, works In the Swiss watch industry, the term manufacture is used of a factory in which watches are manufactured almost completely, as distinct from an "atelier de terminage", which is concerned only with assembling, timing, fitting the hands and casing.
Manufacture d'horlogerie French term for a watch factory which itself produces the components (particularly the "ébauche") needed for the manufacture of its products (watches, alarm and desk clocks, etc.).
Terminage French term denoting the process of assembling watch parts for the account of a producer.
Termineur French term for an independent watchmaker (or workshop) engaged in assembling watches, either wholly or in part, for the account of an "établisseur" or a "manufacture", who supply the necessary loose parts. See "atelier de terminage" above.

See also


Further reading

  • Project Gutenberg
  • Berner, G.A., Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH 1961 - 2012
  • Daniels, George, , London: Philip Wilson Publishers, 1981 (reprinted June 15, 2011)
  • Grafton, Edward, , London: Aylett and Jones, 1849
  • Perman, Stacy, ISBN 9781439190081

External links

  • American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute
  • BHI - The British Horological Institute
  • Tendance Horlogerie: Watches Portal in french and english versions
  • Horological Portal
  • Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH
  • Musée d'horlogerie du Locle (Château des Monts)
  • Musée International d'Horlogerie
  • NAWCC: National Association of Watch & Clocks Collectors (USA)
  • Horology Patents
  • Application horlogère