The puns pretty much write themselves. “We did spend time on the whole idea of time in general,” said a drily chuckling Mostyn Gale, symposium chair for Time for Everyone, which was organized by the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (NAWCC).
“Most of the attendees are people that are involved in the horological world one way or another,” said Gale, a retired engineer who runs a clock-restoration business in Santa Barbara, Calif. “It’s people from auction houses, people from historical museums. There were also individual collectors, and then interested amateurs, historians — a real wide variety of people who just are interested in the topic.”
NAWCC usually includes an exhibition, and “this one happened to be a very, very nice one,” Gale said, featuring about 20 beautifully crafted timepieces from master clockmaker Thomas Tompion, in honor of the 300th anniversary of his death in 1713.
On Friday night, NAWCC tried something new — a three-and-a-half-hour Information Exchange, “where we invited different specialists in the world of horology to each have a table and [do] demonstrations or [have] literature related to what their specialty was,” Gale said. “There were museums, there were inventors, there were schools, there were libraries, there were sales rooms, there were people that write horological publications. And it was just an evening of talking and learning.”
Nobel Prize-winning physicist William D. Phillips, a fellow with the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Laser Cooling and Trapping Group, delivered a keynote address on “Time, Einstein, and the Coolest Stuff in the Universe.” “He did demonstrations at our closing banquet,” Gale said, “and was just a very entertaining speaker and people loved him.”