he Horological Society of New York (HSNY) is welcoming 2023 with three brand new financial aid opportunities for watchmaking students in the United States: The Charles Sauter Scholarship for Innovation in Horology, the Charles London Scholarship for Watchmaking Students, and the Simon Willard Award for School Watches, created to further support HSNY’s mission of advancing the art and science of horology.
Horology may seem like a mature science, but there are still opportunities for improvement in all aspects of the field. There are many examples of innovations in horology that improved our lives, and HSNY is committed to fostering meaningful innovation through scholarship.
A Pennsylvania native, Charles Sauter (1922–2016) studied mechanical engineering at Pennsylvania State University and later studied watchmaking at the Hamilton Watchmaking School. After a stint in the U.S. Army, including time at the Manhattan Project, Sauter joined Bulova Watches as an instructor, where he encompassed many different positions including working as the Principal Engineer for the Accutron watch and as the Principal Engineer for the Apollo 17 Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment.
- Charles Sauter (1922–2016)
A true innovator, Sauter has two patents to his name, for a micro-miniature stepping motor and an anti-backlash gear. In addition, Sauter was an active HSNY member, writing frequently for the Society’s newsletter, The Horologist’s Loupe.
Today, HSNY is proud to create a scholarship opportunity to honor Charles Sauter’s innovative spirit and contributions to society, made possible by the generous donation from Amit Puri, CEO Kurtek LLC and Matthew Rosenheim, CEO of Tiny Jewel Box. Puri and Rosenheim share a passion for horology and a dedication to preserving the craft for future generations, and as supporters for decades, they are determined to preserve the wonders of horological science for generations to come.
“The micro-mechanical nature of fine watchmaking has always intrigued me, and for decades I have been fortunate enough to experience the amazing creations of great horological artists,” said Puri. “Now, by giving back to this field of study that has brought me so much joy, I hope to help facilitate access to learning the wonders of horological science for generations to come.”
“Establishing the Charles Sauter scholarship is a way for Tiny Jewel Box to both give back to an industry that has given much to my family, and help ensure the watch industry’s future success through supporting the education of more watchmakers,” adds Rosenheim.
- Financial aid 2023
While most watchmaking schools in the U.S. are free, students often have to cover the expenses of watchmaking tools. These schools are full-time two-year programs, meaning paying for living expenses can be difficult. This is where the Charles London Scholarship for Watchmaking Students comes in.
Charles London was a self-taught clock maker when he emigrated alone from Europe to Glen Cove, New York in 1923. London would go from house to house on the Gold Coast of Long Island selling his clock repair services to make enough money to send for his wife and three children to join him in the United States. In 1926, London established his own store selling and servicing clocks and watches on School Street in Glen Cove. With the changing fashions of the roaring twenties, he evolved his store to include jewelry and London Jewelers was born.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the New York horological industry in the early 20th century was exemplified by Charles London. HSNY hopes to encourage existing and future watchmakers to pursue their passion for horology with The Charles London Scholarship made possible by a generous donation from London Jewelers.
“London Jewelers and the Udell family are very pleased to have established the Charles London Scholarship for the next generation of skilled watchmakers,” said Mark Udell, CEO of London Jewelers. “Our goal is to inspire and encourage students to follow their passion of watchmaking to a career that supports the growing population of watch enthusiasts.”
Watchmaking schools often ask their students to create a school watch before graduation, allowing students to showcase the multitude of skills learned in watchmaking school. The finished product can be the first step towards independent watchmaking — an art that preserves traditional watchmaking techniques. Making school watches is important, and HSNY wants to help motivate watchmaking students to go the extra mile in their last school project.
- Simon Willard (1753–1848)
Simon Willard (1753–1848) was an important American horologist and trailblazer in the American horological industry. The Willard family clockmaking business was among the first in the U.S., setting up shop around 1780 on Roxbury Street in Boston (later known as Washington Street). Willard’s brother Aaron settled a quarter mile away, and from the 1790s onward, the Willard family workshop built tall clocks in great numbers and performed general clock repair. In 1802, Simon Willard obtained a patent for his famous eight-day “banjo” clock, which is widely considered to be one of the most significant styles of early 19th-century American timepieces.
Willard’s clocks required skilled hand-craftsmanship, and their movements were outstandingly precise. His own skills were exceptional, and he was able to file cogwheels without leaving file-marks, producing mechanisms with a margin of error of just thirty seconds over the course of a month. By about 1810, both Simon and Aaron were producing clocks that were as good as those being produced in Europe.
The Simon Willard Award for School Watches is made possible by a generous donation from Samy Al Bahra, a collector of independent timepieces and a proponent of traditional watchmaking education.
“I am excited to contribute to the Horological Society of New York’s educational mission and I hope the Simon Willard Award helps motivate more watchmaking students in America to take the plunge of sharing their work with the rest of the horological community,” said Al Bahra.
Any student who has been accepted or is currently studying at a full-time watchmaking school in the U.S. is eligible to apply for financial aid. Prospective students may also apply, with the understanding that the scholarships are contingent on their enrollment at a full-time watchmaking school. The scholarships are awarded every April, with awards of up to $5,000 (Sauter and London scholarships) and $10,000 (Willard award) available. Individual requirements can be found here. The application period is from January 1 to March 1 of every year.
Additional scholarship opportunities:
- The Henry B. Fried Scholarship for Watchmaking Students
- The Howard Robbins Award for Watchmaking Schools
- The Grace Fryer Scholarship or Female Watchmaking Students
- The Oscar Waldan Scholarship for Jewish Watchmaking Students
- The Benjamin Banneker Scholarship for Black Watchmaking Students