The new exhibit “Pocket Genius: The Watch Collection of Alex Ku” at the Horological Society of New York (HSNY) headquarters in New York explores the evolution of timepieces through an extensive collection of pocket watches.
On view from June through December 2023, the exhibit features more than fifty time-only pocket watches, inventive escapements, gem-encrusted cases and highly complicated pieces.
The exhibit, with watches on loan from California-based watch aficionado Alex Ku, highlights timepieces dating from the 1690s to the 1990s, examining the role that watches have played in society, from their use in navigation and timekeeping to their use as status symbols and works of art.
Highlights include a dumb quarter-repeating jump-hour pocket watch by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a co-axial escapement by Charles Fasoldt, complicated timepieces like Louis Chanson’s skeletonized perpetual calendar with a lunar indicator, and enameled masterpieces by Patek Philippe for Tiffany & Co.
The exhibit is currently on display at HSNY’s Jost Bürgi Research Library, and is divided into four sections: “Historical Watchmakers,” “Escapements,” “Complications” and “Aesthetics.” In addition, the HSNY has added a ‘bonus’ display: a George Daniels co-axial escapement model, on loan from British independent watchmaker and Daniels protegee Roger W. Smith OBE.
“To carry a pocket watch crafted by a historical master watchmaker is to feel that you hold a piece of horological history in your hand,” says Ku. “For many pieces in my collection, the mission to discover their stories really began only after acquiring them. I’m proud to share pieces from my collection for all to view and learn from, as I have.”
HSNY is offering a a fully illustrated catalog for the collection that includes macro photography by Atom Moore and Collector Notes from Ku. The catalog is available for purchase in-person and online. Proceeds from the sales go towards meeting HSNY’s mission of advancing the art and science of horology.
Pocket Genius is open to the public Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is free. HSNY is located at 20 West 44th Street, Suite 501, New York, NY 10036.