The Ottawa Valley Watch and
Clock Collectors Club met for the first time in September
1975. The founding members represented a broad spectrum
of interest in the field of horology. There were the
collectors - people with collections of watches and
clocks and watchmaker tools. Some had just one item,
others had over a hundred. Then there were the handymen
– people who could take an old lump of wheels
and plates and pins and bolts and bring to life a
functioning timepiece. And finally, there were the
researchers / writers – knowledgeable people
who wanted to contribute to the hobby through research
and documentation - teaching repair techniques, the
history of Canadian Clock and Watch makers and much
more. Regardless, all members brought one thing in
common - their enthusiasm for old timepieces.
The club thrived and in January
1979, the members voted to apply to the National
Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC)
for Chapter status. In February of that same year,
the club became the third Canadian Chapter of the
NAWCC known simply as the Ottawa Valley Chapter
From Day 1, the club has
had an enthusiastic, active and well informed membership.
Meetings provided and still provide a forum for
communication – members meet five times per
year and share ideas, information, and repair techniques.
Since the earliest days, the meetings have included
time for socializing; a mart where members can buy
and sell watches, clocks, tools, parts and horological
books; and business and educational components.
Education takes the form of presentations where
the topics run the gamut from show and tell, to
repair techniques, through to varying aspects of
the history of horology.
Over the years, the club
has added a number of social activities that have
proven very successful. There is an Annual Wine
and Cheese party held in the fall at a member’s
home where his or her collection is the highlight
of the evening. In the summer we have traditionally
held a family picnic where an auction is a much
from our chapter have contributed to the club and
to the topic of horology over the past 30 years. While
it is impossible to name them all, the contributions
of several stand out:
• Four members have been elected “Fellows”
of the NAWCC, including Jane Varkaris, the late Dick
Withington,the late Bill Graham and current long time
member Allan Symons
• Founding member, Jane Varkaris served on the
Board of Directors of the NAWCC.
•Three members have published books on horology - the late John Plewes published a valuable book on clock repair; Jane Varkaris published several extensively researched and excellent books on Canada's place in horology; and Gary Fox has published a book on the Canadian Horological Institute, Canada's first school for watchmakers which opened in 1890.
• Four members have kept our chapter Newsletter
(the Bytown Times) alive and well since the very beginning.
The late Peter Bomford started the newsletter and
after years of serving as the editor, retired and
passed the reins to Ben Roberts. Ben took the newsletter
to the next level, both expanding the newsletter and
using computer generated originals to create a much
crisper and more readable issue.
Erin Fox added colour to the newsletter and made the product much newsier before passing the reins to her father Gary Fox, the current editor.
• Long time member Allan Symons opened the beautiful
Canadian Clock Museum in Deep River, Ontario and is
a constant supporter of the chapter with informative
talks about Canadian and Canadiana clocks and watches
and their makers.
Many others have contributed
their time in preparing for and making presentations
to our chapter and to other chapters and clubs.
We thank them all and we look forward to new members
for the contribution that each brings.