It is the art, science and craft of making instruments that measure time. People who make, repair, restore and conserve clocks and watches are called horologists.
Horology covers a wide range of watches and clocks- from small wristwatches to huge clocks at public places. It deals with the technology used to maintain old mechanical timepieces as well as the highly sophisticated atomic clocks used in GPS systems.
Specialised institutes in Europe and America provide training for budding horologists although the best training can be obtained by working as an apprentice in shops run by experienced horologists. A steady hand, good hand-eye coordination, attention to detail and patience are some necessary prerequisites to excel in this field.
Horological museums like the Clockmakers’ Museum in London, Musee International d’horlogerie in Switzerland, the Deutsches Uhrenmuseum in Germany, the National Watch and Clock Museum and the American Watch and Clock Museum in the US feature some rare antique masterpieces tracing the history of timekeeping.
The role of time-keeping devices has changed with advancement in technology. As cell phones and computers that also show accurate time are now common. Watches are becoming an expression of pure creativity- their primary function no longer being so crucial. Hence horology is reinventing itself to create contemporary pieces of art that will also tell time!