Master Watchmakers for Waterford

Set your watch for September 22nd to 24th in Waterford as the “Masters” of the watchmaking world are bound for Waterford Treasures and the home of the Irish Museum of Time for the second annual International Festival of Time.

The masters of the timepiece and watchmaking world will fly in from across the globe to show off their skills, timepieces and knowledge. They will offer the public a rare opportunity to come face to face with many of the finest independent watch and clockmakers of our time at a “Meet the Maker” occasion and a chance to view their masterpiece creations in person. 

This event will celebrate the very best of contemporary artisanal horology with the introduction of the exclusive world of hand-crafted mechanical exceptions, which will also build on the displays and stories of the Irish Museum of Time located in Waterford.

Among those already confirmed for the 2023 event are luminaries like Paul Gerber, Andreas Strehler, Marc Jenni, Patrik Sjögren (GoS), Rune Bakkendorff, Zeitwinkel, Sidereus and Schofield. In addition to these, making their debut appearances on Irish soil will be Kari Voutilainen, Cyril Brivet-Naudot, Luc Monnet, Simon Brette, Kudoke, Garrick and Lundis Bleus, with more still to be confirmed.

In addition to the master craftsmen of the watchmaking world, a very special event will be hosted at City Hall where the Time Festival Lecture entitled “Establishing the Irish Museum of Time, and a Brief History of Irish Clocks and Watches and their Makers” will be given by David Boles and Colman Curran, the founders of the Irish Museum of Time, and another presentation entitled “The Music of Time – a Talk with Fun Experiments” will be delivered by Michael Grehan.

Waterford has a little known connection with traditional Swiss watch and clockmaking, which goes back to the eighteenth century. Facing oppression under their French and Bernese masters, plans were drawn up in 1782 for 1,000 Swiss Huguenot artisans to uproot and relocate to Ireland to establish a settlement of master craftsmen where they could flourish. This utopian settlement near Waterford city was given the name of “New Geneva”. 

Shifting political dynamics in both Switzerland and Ireland at that time would bring an end to the New Geneva dream before it could become a reality, although a small number of Swiss did make the journey, only to return to their own country as conditions for them there eased.

Waterford’s International Festival of Time 2023 takes place in the Viking Triangle at Waterford Treasures in Waterford city between the 22nd and 24th of September, and is open to the public between 10am - 5pm Friday and Saturday, 11am - 4pm Sunday.