Preserving Watch History with Vortic and the NAWCC
American museums preserve history and share it with the world, just like we do with the American Artisan Series. From the Smithsonian Institution to the Museum of Modern Art, museums commemorate important moments in history, display ancient artifacts and teach attendees of a bygone era. We’ve even seen some quirky ones, like the National Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin or the UFO Museum and Research Center in Roswell, New Mexico. But there is one museum that captures the mission and the heart of Vortic Watch Company: the National Watch and Clock Museum located in Columbia, Pennsylvania.
About the National Watch and Clock Museum
The National Watch and Clock Museum strictly focuses on historical timepieces. Why does that matter? Because at one time in our history, the U.S. was the top watchmaker in the world! Nearly all pocket watches in the late 1800s until the mid-1900s were produced by 10 U.S. companies, that we call The Great American Watch Companies. Each one has a story to tell.
This year, the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors is celebrating 75 years. In that time, NAWCC has accumulated more than 14,000 members, who are all horologists fascinated with timekeeping. Plus, the organization opened a museum in 1977 with 1,000 items. Now, it has more than 12,000 items, including clocks and watches from the U.S. and around the world. One thing we’ll never forget seeing at the museum was the original ledger from the Hamilton Watch Company.
It is said that the original donors salvaged this artifact from the dumpsters outside the factory after the Swatch Group purchased the Hamilton brand and were literally throwing away its history. You can read the names and dates of customers from back in the 1800s. If NAWCC didn’t preserve items like this, who would?
Vortic’s support of the NAWCC
We are proud to be part of the National Watch and Clock Museum’s “For All Time” fundraiser. The NAWCC is raising more than $7.5 million, which, off the interest alone, will keep the museum and the organization running, quite literally, for all time. We were extremely impressed and intrigued by that brilliant and forward thinking method of fundraising. We have watches on display in the museum alongside those of other watch companies that came before us, and we want to support their efforts in preserving and displaying pieces of American horological history.
In an effort to do whatever we can, we partnered with the museum to create our map of the 10 Great American Watch Companies. It features original images of one pocket watch from each of the companies, strategically located geographically on a map of the north eastern United States. At the bottom we've found fun facts about each company as well as their dates of existence, total production, and locations.
The map is laser etched into a piece of cork that measures 30in by 20in, a standard frame size. We recommend a black frame, but some customers have built custom frames for theirs to match their collection or decor.
If you love the history of watches like we do, you can also support the preservation of this organization by purchasing one! The proceeds from sales of these maps on our website go toward this fundraising effort. It is an honor and our pleasure to help secure the future of this great American treasure.