Horological Society of New York Unveils Fragrance for Watch Lovers


Wearing perfume is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, and the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) hopes to capture that sense of history and import with its first signature scent, 1866.

HSNY debuted 1866 for its members and on its website this week. “The idea to create a fine fragrance began when we wanted to expand the offerings in our shop. We already offer classic watch accessories, but we wanted to think outside the box while still making a connection to time,” says Carolina Navarro, the Society’s deputy director.

“We took inspiration from boutique hotels,” she explains. “When you walk into a lobby, you’re greeted by a signature scent, and we liked the idea of developing our own.”

HSNY Fragrance
The horological society worked with New York-based perfumers to develop the 1866 scent.

Navarro says it took two years and a lot of research to determine the kind of fragrance to create. The result, she says, is a well-crafted scent that develops over time as the wearer experiences it, opening with notes of bergamot, bitter orange, and alpine air.

“Coming up with the scent was the most challenging and time-consuming part,” Navarro says. “We worked with an extremely professional team of perfumers based in Brooklyn, who took time to learn our 157-year history and draw inspiration from it.”

The top note of alpine air is a nod to Switzerland, known for its watchmaking. The perfume offers middle notes of cedarwood, orange blossom, and praline—the latter pays homage to the hot-nuts carts at the corner of 6th Avenue and 44th Street, the Manhattan block where HSNY is located. Base notes include leather, to remind the wearer of a well-loved watch strap.

1866 Fragrance HSNY
The unisex fine fragrance is named after the year that the Horological Society of New York was founded, and its scent is inspired by smells associated with the group and watches in general.

Founded in 1866, HSNY is one of the oldest continuously operating horological societies in the world. Its members are watchmakers, clockmakers, executives, auctioneers, historians, and collectors. The nonprofit group promotes the art and science of horology through education, including a robust scholarship program.

“There are many parallels between fragrance and time,” Navarro says. “For one, they are both worn as an accessory on the wrist. Scent also is a powerful sense that can transport you to a specific point in time.

“1866 will be interpreted differently by everyone,” she says. “Some might smell a lot of bergamot, some tobacco. And overall it will be very personal, much like a timepiece.”

The fragrance is available in a 50 ml or 2 ml bottle. The smaller size, priced at $15, is one of several items in HSNY’s holiday shop under $100; others include a newly added watch pouch for $85 and longtime favorite gift-giving options such as a lens cloth pocket square ($40) and a loupe ($60). Store sales serve as fundraisers for HSNY and its mission, Navarro says.

“It’s great to show up at a watch event and see people proudly wearing their HSNY lapel pin, and a fragrance is one more way to partake in the camaraderie,” Navarro says. “We’re fortunate to have a lot of creative freedom at HSNY, and this project allowed us to have fun and think outside the box while remaining true to our heritage.”

(Photos courtesy of the Horological Society of New York)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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