National Watch & Clock Museum in Lancaster, PA - Seiko & Citizen Watch Forum – Japanese Watch Reviews, Discussion & Trading
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Old 03-18-2019, 02:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default National Watch & Clock Museum in Lancaster, PA

I am soon heading to the US and was considering dropping by the National Watch & Clock Museum in Lancaster Pennsylvania that is run by the NAWCC.

Do they have many Japanese pieces or materials in their library and general collection? I have looked through their online catalog and there does not seem to be many Japanese models listed.

I am interested in a wide range of timepieces so I think it may still be interesting to visit even if it is mainly for USA and European watches but I was hoping someone may have some insight.

Have any members visited the museum and is it worth checking out?
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Old 03-18-2019, 06:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It's actually in Columbia, Pa. which is west of Lancaster. It's midway between York, Pa. + Lancaster.
I'm a member of the NAWCC although I haven't made it to the museum as of yet. It's about a 3 hour drive from my home. I think it would be well worth your visit.
When will you be planning to go?
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Old 03-18-2019, 07:19 AM   #3 (permalink)
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They have some Japanese (and other asian) clocks and watches, but it's a small fraction of the museum overall. There are some 1970s and 1980s Seiko on display in their "James Bond" display. There's also an area dedicated to asian timekeeping history if I remember correctly.

There is a lot of Hamilton infomation, which I found interesting. Many Hamilton wristwatches and especially pocketwatches, as well as items from the old Hamilton factory. There is a scale model of the factory as it was in the 1940's? and training films for the workers being shown. This isn't surprising as the museum is not far from the location of the old factory in Lancaster.

There are lots of pocketwatches, including many from Waltham, Elgin, Hampden, and others of the great 19th & 20th century American manufacturers. There's also an extensive collection of longcase clocks, some from Europe but more from the USA dating back to the late 1700s. Most of the clocks on display have some details of the case and movement explained, and usually a short biography of the maker. Many of these were made locally in eastern Pennsylvania, also New York and New England from what I remember.

The museum is worth a visit, I'd say plan on spending 2 to 3 hours.

My wife and I visited the museum in February. We were on a weekend getaway for our 20th wedding anniversary and this was one of our stops. No, I didn't have to drag her there against her will, she actually enjoyed it! It's only about an hour's drive from our home. We also wanted to visit another historical site, a mansion in Columbia that was built in the colonial era and is now open for tours, but it was closed for the winter.

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Old 03-18-2019, 07:30 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This is one of the displays that I found very interesting. I think it's from the old Hamilton works.

It's a pantograph-type engraving machine. The stylus follows the lines in the master plate and engraves 6 or 8 small discs, probably movement plates I'm guessing. There wasn't much information about it.

Quite a few of the large master plates were displayed around the machine. I'd like to see it in operation.

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Old 03-18-2019, 08:11 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Those look like patterns you’d see on the outside of pocket watch cases. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the comments everyone. Sounds like it will be worth the time for a few hours visit. The exhibits sound interesting and I am sure it will be an enjoyable time.

My plan is to visit at the start of April. I have a very tight timeline so really only have one day that will fit into a tight schedule for work. I will head to New York the next morning before flying back to LA that afternoon.
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Old 03-18-2019, 05:24 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Noah- Yes you're probably right. That makes more sense.

Anthony- if you have time you should try to setup a visit at RGM. Not far away in Mt. Joy, PA. I'm not sure what their policy is about visitors but it looks like it would be worth your time if they'll let you tour the workshops there. The website says "visits by appointment only" http://www.rgmwatches.com/

I hope to visit sometime myself.

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Old 03-18-2019, 06:11 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The Seiko Boutique in midtown Manhattan is surrounded by all sorts of watch brand flagship stores and boutiques. I think you'd be better off hitting them then the long (3 hours each way) round trip to the museum outside Lancaster PA. Unless you have business in Washington or Baltimore and are renting a car and have a travel day to spend as you wish.
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I was at the museum for the guided tour by Roland Murphy of RGM. It was an awesome way to learn about the details from the master himself. I didn’t see much from Japanese horology. But I’m a huge Hamilton fan so I went there with that history in mind.



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Old 03-18-2019, 09:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Great pics CombatID!

Crap! I was at my in-laws in Lancaster on Sunday. I would have given anything to have someplace else to go. Maybe next time.
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Old 03-19-2019, 02:04 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Fantastic post. My first Love, there were times holding a Bun Special or any PW that the thought of the history1700s Key Winds, Civil War, turn of the Century,WW1,Art Nuevo to Art Deco To the pic of the Wristwatches at the Museum I spent half mylife 3 or 4 hrs dive
to Lancaster. Now 3500 mils,,,, but East or West the first love a R.R.992 B
I owe My Appreciation for Seiko's To the Great P.W. COs . Until P.W.s coughs my attention
I did not think about watches Now I spent more than an hr. reading your post.
Great way to spend an Hour. Thanks
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Old 03-19-2019, 03:00 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve855 View Post
Anthony- if you have time you should try to setup a visit at RGM. Not far away in Mt. Joy, PA. I'm not sure what their policy is about visitors but it looks like it would be worth your time if they'll let you tour the workshops there. The website says "visits by appointment only" http://www.rgmwatches.com/

I hope to visit sometime myself.

Steve
Thanks for the tip Steve, I will check this out. It does look to be very close by so worth looking into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Grammarofdesign View Post
The Seiko Boutique in midtown Manhattan is surrounded by all sorts of watch brand flagship stores and boutiques. I think you'd be better off hitting them then the long (3 hours each way) round trip to the museum outside Lancaster PA. Unless you have business in Washington or Baltimore and are renting a car and have a travel day to spend as you wish.
Thanks for the tips. I actually have a full day free so will spend that around the museum and in the area. The following day I just need to be on an afternoon flight out of JFK. My plan is to stay towards NYC the evening after the museum and then drop off my rental car at JFK in the morning, head into the Seiko Boutique and then back to the airport in time to fly out. It will be relatively rushed but should be OK.
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:25 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akable View Post
Thanks for the tip Steve, I will check this out. It does look to be very close by so worth looking into.







Thanks for the tips. I actually have a full day free so will spend that around the museum and in the area. The following day I just need to be on an afternoon flight out of JFK. My plan is to stay towards NYC the evening after the museum and then drop off my rental car at JFK in the morning, head into the Seiko Boutique and then back to the airport in time to fly out. It will be relatively rushed but should be OK.


Just one issue is that RGM does not give tours of its facility. I tried once but they don’t have the personnel to do it. The lady was very nice on the phone about it.

I also have some pics from the Seiko museum in Tokyo that I can post.


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Old 03-19-2019, 07:40 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CombatID View Post
Just one issue is that RGM does not give tours of its facility. I tried once but they don’t have the personnel to do it. The lady was very nice on the phone about it.

I also have some pics from the Seiko museum in Tokyo that I can post.
Thank you for clarifying the situation with RGM, it will save me some time trying to pursue this.

I am very familiar with the Seiko Museum so it will be interesting to compare both facilities.

I am sure everyone would enjoy photos from the museum.
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