Clock museum opens Saturday

One of the pieces on display at the American Clock and Watch Museum in its new exhibit, Selling Time: Methods and Messages in Clock and Watch Advertising.



The American Clock and Watch Museum, 100 Maple, St., will host opening day on Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m., to 5 p.m.

This year’s featured exhibit is entitled, “Selling Time: Methods and Messages in Clock and Watch Advertising,” and will bring museum goers from the 1800s through today, showcasing the clock and watch industry, and how advertising has morphed throughout time.

“It’s a different aspect of the clock and watch industries – it’s not just what they made and how they made it, but, how they promoted it and to whom,” said Patti Philippon, director of the museum. “You can see the different segments of the population that’s being targeted with the advertisements, or, how people wanted to see themselves based on how they’re showcased in the ads. It’s kind of an interesting sidebar to the whole industry that we talk about here.”

Attendees can get up close and personal with advertisements found in an 1864 edition of Harper’s Weekly, which was largely a “just the facts, ma’am,” type of advertisement, according to Philippon, featuring single column ads with few graphics. There also will be ads from the Victorian Era, which introduced trading card advertisement and color lithography. There also will even a trading card advertisement from a Bristol jewelry store, T. I. Gwillim.

The exhibit also follows the introduction of radio and television ads. Watch company, Bulova, was the first company to have a radio and television advertisements, Philippon said.

Finally, the exhibit explores the modern use of television, the Internet, and social media to advertise products.

“There’s a company which is called MVMT [Movement] – it’s a watch brand [that uses] strictly social media and influencers,” said Philippon. “They show people being active with their watches, so it’s kind of showing people who like this really active lifestyle – they’re hiking, they’re climbing – and that’s the kind of advertising that they’re doing.”

The museum is also developing a time capsule program, which will be an extension of the exhibit.

Philippon explained that museum founder, Edward Ingraham, had created and filled several time capsules to be opened through the year 2025. Some of the previously opened capsules will be on display in the exhibit.

Families will be able to come to the museum and create their own time capsule. During the program, attendees will learn about different items to include in their capsule, such as photographs or letters, similar to the ones Ingraham included in his own time capsules. Dates and times are still in the works.

Also to be featured on opening day is something that Philippon said is only done for special occasions. Visitors will be able to watch clock repairers take apart and tinker with timepieces from their respective clock shops.

Opening day at the American Clock and Watch Museum is sponsored by Quinoco Energy Services, which allows the museum to offer free admission.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Murchison-Gallagher, email her at