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Stewardship of A Watch or Clock Collection

Stewardship of A Watch or Clock Collection

Since starting this hobby at my retirement in 1989, I have acquired a reasonably large library, mostly basic and well known classic references and a complete set of BULLETINS. And I have built up a well-equipped shop for building (my primary interest) and restoring clocks and American pocket watches. Also, my wife and I have collected several clocks and watches of interest and she collects painted American clock dials.

Why am I telling you this? It has to do with disposal at the end of the journey. My wife (also a dedicated NAWCC member) and I often discussed what to do to protect this bit of history from extinction at our death. We came to the conclusion that we should dispose of these collections rather than leaving that chore to our estate, and the best way for us to do that (now stated in our wills) would be to leave the library to the NAWCC Library, the shop (with its large inventory of materials and supplies) to the School of Horology, and the clocks, dials, and watches to the NAWCC Museum.

By doing this, our bit of horological history will end up with organizations that know what preservation is all about. Each organization can pick and choose the things needed to enhance their mission and can then dispose of the remainder to knowledgeable people who also appreciate the importance of preservation. Disposal of the unneeded items to those who know their value will probably raise more funds than our estate would have realized from forced liquidation sales and "trash" disposal. While the loss to our estate is minimal, the gain to horological preservation is significant. And, if our circumstances change, we can change our minds and dispose of any or all ourselves.

As the poet Robert Frost stated so elegantly, "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference." Perhaps, others might consider this less-traveled road, particularly for their library and shop. To paraphrase someone (and I know not who), "Consider it. You might like it."

Dr. Robert H. Chapman, FNAWCC
Excerpt from May 2000 Mart article


You also may want to make it easy and convenient to have a bequest included in your will. The language below shows how a bequest can very easily be included in your will.

You might find it helpful to select the "print" button below and print this page. Please feel free to give this information to your attorney. If he or she has any questions, please have him or her contact us at 717-684-8261 ext. 209 or email us at shumphrey@nawcc.org.


Example bequest language - Please feel free to change the numbers or percentages as you desire.

1. Bequest of cash

"I bequeath the sum of $10,000 to National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc. of Columbia, PA."

2. Bequest of a percent of the estate

"I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc., Columbia, PA."

3. Contingent Bequest

"If my brother John Doe survives me, I devise and bequeath 20% of the remainder and residue of property owned at my death, whether real or personal, and wherever located to John Doe. If John Doe does not survive me, then I devise and bequeath 20% of my residuary estate, whether real or personal property and wherever located to National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc., Columbia, PA."


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