Set your watch for September 22nd to 24th in Waterford as the ‘Masters’ of the watchmaking world are bound for Waterford Treasures and the home of the Irish Museum of Time for the second annual International Festival of Time.
The masters of the timepiece and watchmaking world will fly in from across the globe to show off their skills, timepieces and knowledge. They will offer the public a rare opportunity to come face to face with many of the finest independent watch and clockmakers of our time at a ‘Meet the Maker’ occasion and a chance to view their masterpiece creations in person.
This unique event will celebrate the very best of contemporary artisanal horology with the introduction of the exclusive world of hand-crafted mechanical exceptions which will also build on the displays and stories of the Irish Museum of Time, which is located in Waterford. Encompassing the spectrum of independent watchmaking, the line-up for the 2023 event represents the very finest Master watchmakers in the world and includes several of the most highly respected names in the industry, a number of pioneering independent brands, as well as many of the emerging young talents who are sure to follow in their footsteps as the next generation enters the stage with their ever-more astonishing masterpieces.
Among those already confirmed for the 2023 event, the festival will welcome back many of those who made the inaugural event so memorable, including luminaries like Paul Gerber, Andreas Strehler, Marc Jenni, Patrik Sjögren (GoS), Rune Bakkendorff, Zeitwinkel, Sidereus and Schofield. In addition to these, making their debut appearances for the very first time on Irish soil will be Kari Voutilainen, Cyril Brivet-Naudot, Luc Monnet, Simon Brette, Kudoke, Garrick and Lundis Bleus, with more still to be confirmed.
The International Festival of Time exhibitors will come together in the spectacular Medieval Museum with its thirteenth-century subterranean Choristers’ Hall and fifteenth-century wine vault surrounded by the historic artefacts which bring to life the political, social and cultural history of Ireland on display throughout the complex of six extraordinary museums, each within a stone’s throw of the event itself. The Festival of Time truly is a unique experience for Irish and international watch lovers, and one which in the words of one very well-travelled and seasoned exhibitor in the 2022 edition has the potential to establish itself as “the Davos of independent watchmaking”.
In addition to the master craftsmen of the watchmaking world a very special event will be hosted at City Hall where the Time Festival Lecture entitled ‘Establishing the Irish Museum of Time, and a Brief History of Irish Clocks and Watches and their Makers’ will be given by David Boles and Colman Curran the founders of the Irish Museum of Time and another presentation entitled ‘The Music of Time – a Talk with Fun Experiments’ will be delivered by Michael Grehan.
David Boles is a practising community pharmacist. He started collecting old Irish clocks and watches sixty-five years ago, and was delighted to find a good home in Waterford for his entire collection. He is currently working on a major book about Irish clocks and watches and their makers.
Colman Curran practiced as a solicitor for thirty years with the Dublin firm Mason Hayes & Curran. Throughout his life he studied Irish clock and watchmakers, researching their histories and avidly collecting samples of their work. He retired from the partnership at MHC in order to pursue his ambition to establish a museum dedicated to horology in Ireland.
Commenting on the upcoming Festival, Rosemary Ryan, Director at Waterford Treasures Museums says, “Of course, time will tell, but one thing is certain, for a country boasting such incredible and internationally renowned Master watchmakers such as John and Stephen McGonigle, as well as the creative genius behind many of MB&F’s most exceptional and complex creations, Belfast man Stephen McDonnell, Ireland now has its own place on the map when it comes to contemporary independent watchmaking, and there is no more fitting a location for such a showcase of hand crafted artisanal haute horlogerie than just a few kilometres up the road from New Geneva, in our wonderful and historic city of Waterford.”
Waterford boasts an extraordinary yet little known connection with traditional Swiss watch and clockmaking, which goes right back to the eighteenth century. Facing oppression under their French and Bernese masters, plans were drawn up in 1782 for 1,000 Swiss Huguenot artisans to uproot and relocate to Ireland, to establish a settlement of master craftsmen where they could flourish. This utopian settlement near Waterford city was given the name of ‘New Geneva’.
Shifting political dynamics in both Switzerland and Ireland at that time would bring an end to the New Geneva dream before it could become a reality, although a small number of Swiss did make the journey, only to return to their own country, as conditions for them there eased. Nevertheless, Waterford almost became the new home for Haute Horlogerie, and that legacy lives on in the Irish Museum of Time, which opened in 2021.
Waterford’s International Festival of Time 2023 takes place in the Viking Triangle at Waterford Treasures in Waterford city, Ireland, between the 22nd and 24th of September, and is open to the public between 10am - 5pm Friday and Saturday, 11am - 4pm Sunday.
Admission to the festival is available from www.waterfordtreasures.com tickets are €15 per adult with free admission on offer to current friend of Waterford Treasures Museums. The Festival Lecture on Saturday 23rd September takes place at 1pm, admission is free but places must be pre-booked by emailing email@example.com
‘The Music of Time – a Talk with Fun Experiments’ takes place on Saturday 23rd September at 3pm, admission is free but places must be pre-booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
For further details on Waterford’s International Festival of Time see https://www.waterfordtreasures.com/event/international-festival-of-time-2023/