Former Flinders Street Railway Station Turret Clock at Scienceworks.
Image: Paoli Smith Photography Studio
Source: Museum Victoria
Question: What is horology?
Answer: Horology is the science of measuring time, and describes the theory and practice of clock- and watchmaking. The word is derived from the Greek “hora,” meaning hour or season, from which the English word “hour” is also derived.
Museum Victoria has its own Horology Collection, consisting of over 600 watches and clocks. These come from a range of time-periods; many of them were donated to Museum Victoria from significant private collections.
The Horology Collection forms a part of the Museum’s vast History & Technology Collection. While many items come from famous clock- and watchmakers overseas, recent acquisitions have focused on objects with a strong connection to Victoria and Australia.
The collection has not been displayed in its entirety since Melbourne Museum relocated from its former home in Swanston Street. Now, horological items are displayed selectively within exhibits at a number of Museum Victoria venues, including Melbourne Museum and Scienceworks.
Horology is a popular field for amateur enthusiasts who benefit from the support of a number of local and international organisations, for which some links are listed at right. Those wishing to pursue their interest in timekeeping further can do so by contacting one of these groups. If you are researching a particular timepiece, these groups can also be a good source of information. Online bulletin boards, like those of the NAWCC and Military Watch Forum, can also be a useful way of finding out information from willing enthusiasts.
Many of Museum Victoria’s classic timepieces are described online as part of the new History & Technology Collections Online website, where they can be compared with similar items across time. At this site you will also find, among other things, items connected to the fields of vinology (wine), ludology (games) and deltiology (postcards)!
Please note: Museum Victoria DOES NOT provide valuations and cannot tell you how much your object is worth. Please read our valuations infosheet for further advice. We will not publish or respond to comments asking us to value an object.