LONDON – It is a great honour for an horologist to be invited into the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, particularly as women. At Sotheby’s several of us have had the great privilege to be initiated as "Freeman," including Daryn Schnipper, Joanne Lewis and myself. The Clockmakers’ Company was established in 1631 by a Royal Charter granted by King Charles, and it is the oldest surviving horological institution in the world.
Wednesday 29 January 2014 was a pivotal day for the Company, who was electing its successive Master, Jonathan Betts. Betts is Senior Curator of Horology at The Royal Observatory of Greenwich in London and in 2012 was awarded Queen’s Jubilee honours MBE "For Services to Horology."
Jonathan Betts, as he is installed as Master.
The procedure at the installation court was glorious. It began with the passing of the chain of office from past master Paul Jarrett to new master Jonathan Betts. This was followed by the appointment of the new wardens. A service was then held at St James Garlickhythe church, where I greatly enjoyed the sermon held by Reverend Hugh W Bearn MA, who opened with the title, “There is a time for everything."
St James Garlickhythe Church, Garlick Hill, London.
The black tie court dinner held in the painters’ hall was equally glamorous. Dinner etiquette was adhered to with a toast to the Queen and saying grace, but more momentously, it was my inaugural experience of the Ceremony of the Loving cup. This ancient tradition is based on the historical account of King Edward the Martyr, who was treacherously murdered whilst drinking from a two-handled cup; ever since, this ritual has been accompanied by an elaborate methodical ritual.
It is a true honour to be invited to join such an established and reputable company, with the knowledge of every respected English watchmaker being a part of it. Being Freeman of The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers is a great privilege, and it also presents a rare opportunity to spend quality time with top international specialists in horology, including Daryn Schnipper, Joanne Lewis and Jonathan Hills.