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The passing of a legend

by Jordan Ficklin

One of watchmaking greats, Stanley Simon, who helped found the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking passed away this past week. You can read his obituary in the New York Times here. The Joseph Bulova School was founded to help train veterans returning after numerous wars to become watchmakers.

One Comment

  1. Posted August 19, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    May Stanley Simon rest in peace.
    I read the NYT article with much interest, and I certainly believe a bit differently as regards to the ideology behind the original school founding.
    Watchmaking can be a profitable hobby, and increasingly an asset to have if you consider multiple career choices. Logistically, in the east of the USA and Canada, watchmakers have always got gainful employment- meaning that there has always been demand. Different skill sets require those many hours of training. If you want to be a watchmaker in the high-end business, it goes in the thousands of man hours spent on the bench.
    Prime Time Canada, regularly gives out the ”Joseph Bulova school of watchmaking” books to it’s students. Why you might ask?
    Specifically, it is a benchmark book, valid even today for the numerous tasks that it outlays in the mechanical field. Not a starter Horological book, by any chance. It is a book that demands respect, the provenance of the idea to train watchmakers from returning war veterans is an idea that isn’t new, yet made fascinating reading. For, the instructor who didn’t make money for the skills they imparted, Stanley Simon deserves a place in the history of watchmaking.
    Yes, here in Canada we greatly admire the Horological word, and more so- the quality of the school and curriculum is almost at par with the greats in Switzerland, even today!
    I read with much amusement the blog from WOSTEP Switzerland. (So many CNC machines to the rescue) my chagrin, is that the old age hand watchmakers knowledge is being passed up, granted that we live in an era of modernity, but at what cost?
    Hence, tying up your two posts to better understand this Jp, the passing of a valued member of the Horological community (Stanley Simon), and ushering in the new.
    I, as a member of the Horological community still think that endearing one’s self to the prospect of teaching older techniques and qualities has more by way of imparting than the proverbial CNC technologies prevalent en masse today in Switzerland.
    Yes, there is a massive demand for watchmakers in the USA today, and not enough good schools and trainers. There will always be a quandary about tuition, schooling, fees, and logistics. I for one, think positively- if you read books like the ”Bulova school of watchmaking” you will almost always land up in the right frame of maind to tackle watchmaking at it’s holiest grails, the high-end watch and their treatment. It is a precursor to learning skills, that trainers themselves do not have in abundance. Time.
    Thank you for this post, Jp- you remain in my mind as the ambassador for watchmaking by promoting knowledge, and ideas.(Free knowledge)
    Prem C.

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