Waterford International Festival of Time

Festival of Time

The Time has Arrived for the Waterford International Festival of Time


The International Festival of Time opens in Waterford today (September 22nd) and offers visitors a rare opportunity to enjoy a glimpse into the intricate world of watchmaking until Sept 24th as the ‘Masters’ of the watchmaking world host  a ‘Meet the Maker’ event and exhibition at Waterford Treasures Museums the home of the Irish Museum of Time.

In addition, the watchmaker who holds the Guinness world record for having invented the world’s most complicated wristwatch, Paul Gerber unveils the ‘Waterford Watch’. Paul commenced the complex career of independent watchmaking in 1976, and after an illustrious and celebrated career, he is now set to retire. Before he does however, following a happy visit to the inaugural Festival of Time in Waterford last year, he has decided to create a unique, one-off masterpiece alongside upcoming apprentice watchmaker Anny Weber. This watch will be auctioned for charity by Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo Auction House in Geneva.

Ever since establishing himself, this highly gifted and creative watchmaker has amazed watch enthusiasts around the world with his unprecedented and complicated mechanisms and works of art.

This unique “Waterford watch” is set not only to be auctioned by one of the most prestigious auction houses in the world, but its creator has deemed that the proceeds should be split three ways. One third will be donated to his apprentice Anny Weber, one third will be donated to the charity Join Our Boys Trust and the final third donated to the Waterford International Festival of Time. Visitors to the festival this weekend can enjoy a chance to view the watch for the first time.

Festival of Time
Picture: Patrick Browne

Among the masters of the timepiece and watchmaking world who are showcasing at the 2023 event, the festival will welcome back many of those who made the inaugural event so memorable, including 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 for the very first time on Irish soil will be Kari Voutilainen, Cyril Brivet-Naudot, Simon Brette, Kudoke, John McGonigle and more.

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.

Commenting on the occasion, Rosemary Ryan, Director at Waterford Treasures Museums says, “We are honoured to welcome the world’s most celebrated independent watchmakers to Waterford, the home of the  Irish Museum of Time and just a few kilometres up the road from New Geneva, in our wonderful and historic city of Waterford. This is a feast for the eyes and the intricacies of these watches are truly mind-blowing, we know that visitors to this very unique occasion are in for a special treat.”

Waterford boasts an extraordinary yet little known connection with traditional Swiss watch and clockmaking, which goes right 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. Nevertheless, Waterford almost became the new home for Haute Horlogerie, and that legacy lives on in the Irish Museum of Time, which opened in 2021.

Waterford’s International Festival of Time 2023 takes place in the Viking Triangle at Waterford Treasures in Waterford city, Ireland, between the 22nd and 24th of September, and is open to the public between 10am – 5pm Friday and Saturday, 11am – 4pm Sunday. For full detail see www.waterfordtreasures.com