Industry / Watches

Military Veterans Eligible for New HSNY Watchmaking Scholarship


With the help of two donors, the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) has a new financial aid opportunity for military veterans pursuing a career in watchmaking.

Anyone who has served in the military and has been accepted to or is currently studying at a full-time watchmaking school in the United States is eligible for HSNY’s new Andre Bibeau Scholarship for Veteran Watchmaking Students, which will awarded every April in amounts up to $5,000. Application period is Jan. 1 through March 1.

Named for a World War II veteran from Connecticut who ran a watch repair business, the Andre Bibeau Scholarship is one of nine watchmaking scholarships HSNY offers, says Carolina Navarro, HSNY deputy director. The Bibeau award is funded by a donation from Maj. Michelle A. Cunningham and Aaron M. Cunningham.

“As a military family, we have seen firsthand the fundamental importance of veterans having meaningful careers,” Aaron M. Cunningham said in a statement. “We are thankful that the 1 Horological Society of New York shares our goal of helping veterans pursue their passion after their service has finished.”

Veterans becoming watchmakers have a storied past. After World War II, returning soldiers found success in programs such as the New York–based Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking, which trained veterans, especially those with disabilities.

Today, the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative continues this effort to train veterans in the art of watchmaking. It is the only technical school in the United States devoted to disabled veterans, and its programs are free of charge. Brands including Vortic have worked with the Veterans Watchmaker Initiative, noting that more watchmakers and repair experts are needed across the jewelry and watch industry.

Those interested in the Andre Bibeau Scholarship can find information about applying on HSNY’s website. Prospective students may apply, with the understanding that the scholarship is contingent on their enrollment at a full-time watchmaking school.

Pvt. Andre Bibeau (1925-2016) served in the Army’s 141st Infantry Regiment out of Fort Meade, Md., and was deployed to the Italian front. He was wounded twice and would receive the Purple Heart as well as a Bronze Star for his overall service. After the war, Bibeau attended the Bulova School of Watchmaking, then opened his own watch repair business, which he ran until he retired at age 75.

Some of HSNY’s other scholarships include the Oscar Waldan Scholarship for Jewish Watchmaking Students, the Grace Fryer Scholarship for Female Watchmaking Students, and the Benjamin Banneker Scholarship for Black Watchmaking Students.

Top: Andre Bibeau, an Army private who opened a watch repair business after serving in World War II, is now the namesake of new scholarship for military veterans studying at watchmaker schools. (Photo courtesy of the Horological Society of New York)

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Karen Dybis

By: Karen Dybis

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