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Horology (via Latin horologium from Greek ὡρολόγιον, from ὥρα hṓra "hour; time" + -o- interfix + suffix -logy; lit. the study of time)[1][2] is the art or science of measuring time. Clocks, watches, clockwork, sundials, hourglasses, clepsydras, timers, time recorders, marine chronometers, and atomic clocks are all examples of instruments used to measure time. In current usage, horology refers mainly to the study of mechanical time-keeping devices, while chronometry more broadly includes electronic devices that have largely supplanted mechanical clocks for the best accuracy and precision in time-keeping.

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[edit]

"Universal Clock" at the Clock Museum in Zacatlán, Puebla, Mexico

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[edit]

The leading scholarly horological organizations are:

World Exhibitions[edit]

  • BaselWorld
  • Geneva Time Exhibition [5]
  • Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie (SIHH) [6]

List of horological terms[edit]

Term Explanation
Chablon French term for a watch movement (not including the dial and hands), that is not completely assembled.
Ébauche French term (commonly used in English-speaking countries) for a movement blank, i.e., an incomplete watch movement sold as a set of loose parts—comprising the main plate, bridges, train, winding and setting mechanism, and regulator. The timing system, escapement, and mainspring, however, are not parts of the ébauche.
Établissage French term for the method of manufacturing watches 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 that assembles watches from components it buys from other suppliers.
Factory, works In the Swiss watch industry, the term manufacture is used of a factory that manufacturers watches almost completely, as distinct from an atelier de terminage, which only assembles, times, and fits hands and casing.
Manufacture d'horlogerie French term for a watch factory that produces components (particularly the "ébauche") for 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[edit]


  1. ^ "horology". Online Etymology Dictionary. 
  2. ^ ὡρολόγιον, ὥρα. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project.
  3. ^ B.Pourchet (1981-09-21). "afaha.com". afaha.com. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  4. ^ "hora.it" (in Italian). hora.it. Retrieved 2013-04-12. 
  5. ^ Geneva Time Exposition - official website
  6. ^ Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie - official website

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horology — Please support Wikipedia.
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