Three new watchmaking and education scholarships—one named for a Bulova Watches visionary, one for the founder of London Jewelers, and one for a 19th-century innovator—are now accepting applications for U.S. watchmaking students.
These new financial aid opportunities are made through the Horological Society of New York (HSNY), which announced the scholarships in mid-January. The three scholarships are the Charles Sauter Scholarship for Innovation in Horology, the Charles London Scholarship for Watchmaking Students, and the Simon Willard Award for School Watches.
The purpose behind these, says HSNY deputy director Carolina Navarro, is to give watchmaking students the means to complete their degrees while also honoring those who came before them. All of HSNY’s scholarships seek to further support its mission of advancing the art and science of horology, she says.
“Although most watchmaking schools in the United States are free, living expenses can be a challenge. We recognize that many watchmaking students are also young adults. HSNY wants to help watchmaking students succeed in every way, and we feel they should not have to forgo an education because of their environment,” Navarro says. “Our scholarships aim to alleviate those stresses and allow students to focus and, more importantly, enjoy their time at watchmaking school.”
They also honor the people they are named for, Navarro says. For example, last year’s new scholarship highlighted Grace Fryer, who, as one of the Radium Girls watch dial painters, fought for compensation for those who were poisoned by the element. The Fryer scholarship offers female watchmaking students awards of up to $5,000 every April.
“Horology is very much about the people who paved the way, and our industry would not be where it is without the contributions of the leaders and pioneers we’ve named scholarships after,” Navarro says. “Naming scholarships after individuals allows us to honor their commitments to horology and lets watchmaking students know they can be the next generations to continue their legacies.”
Here is some background on the three new scholarship opportunities available through the HSNY in 2023.
Charles Sauter Scholarship for Innovation in Horology
Pennsylvania native Sauter (1922–2016) graduated from Pennsylvania State University and Hamilton Watchmaking School. He served in the U.S. Army, including a role at the Manhattan Project. He worked at Bulova Watches, where he was an instructor, the principal engineer for the Accutron watch, and the principal engineer for the Apollo 17 Lunar Seismic Profiling Experiment. He has two patents and was an active HSNY member.
Kurtek LLC CEO Amit Puri and Tiny Jewel Box CEO Matthew Rosenheim donated funds that led to this scholarship opportunity, HSNY says. Kurtek is a space technology company and Puri is a watch enthusiast.
“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,” Puri said in a statement. “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 both to 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,” Rosenheim said in a statement.
Charles London Scholarship for Watchmaking Students
London was a self-taught clockmaker when he emigrated from Poland to Glen Cove, N.Y., in 1923. Three years later, he opened his own store selling and repairing clocks and watches on School Street. He added jewelry, and the store became known as 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,” Mark Udell, CEO of London Jewelers, said in a statement. “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.”
Simon Willard Award for School Watches
Willard (1753–1848) became a noted horologist and innovator within the U.S. horological industry. His family’s clockmaking business was among the first in the United States, opening a shop sometime around 1780 on Roxbury Street in Boston. In 1802, he received a patent for what is known as the eight-day “banjo” clock, considered one of the most significant styles in early 19th–century American timepieces, HSNY says.
Samy Al Bahra, a watch collector and supporter of watchmaking education, made a donation to help fund this scholarship. “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,” Al Bahra said in a statement.
To apply for any HSNY scholarship, students must have been accepted to or are currently studying at a full-time watchmaking school in the United States. The scholarships are awarded every April, with awards of up to $5,000 (Sauter and London scholarships) and $10,000 (Willard award) available. The application period is from Jan. 1 to March 1 annually.
Top: The Charles London Scholarship for Watchmaking Students is named after Charles London, a self-taught clockmaker and Polish emigrant whose business evolved into today’s London Jewelers (photos courtesy of the Horological Society of New York).
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