This is the building in New York (as it looks today) where the Bulova Company trained an entire generation of disabled American veterans to become life-long professional watchmakers.
The Veterans Watchmaker Initiative is based in the principles, practices, and ethics of that famous school.
Our Roots Are in
The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking
the Bulova School
One of Bulova's most significant contributions to the world of horology was the creation of the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking, founded in 1945 by Joseph Bulova's son Arde Bulova (then Chairman of the Board).
Arde Bulova "wished to repay, in some small measure, the sacrifice and service of returning disabled veterans after the Second World War."
The Bulova school helped train an entire generation of American watchmakers. The school provided tuition-free education to teach disabled servicemen the skills of watchmaking "under the most expert supervision and with an all-inclusive curriculum in a pleasant environment where similar interests and problems developed a close-knit, affable group of men working toward common goals."
By the early 50's, as the demand for skilled watchmakers increased in America, the Bulova school opened its doors to disabled civilians as well, and graduates of the Bulova school went on to pursue meaningful careers as not only watchmakers, but also as instrument makers, instrument repairers, micro-machinists, and other trades requiring the precision skills and dexterity of a watchmaker.
More than 1500 jewelers pledged to hire Bulova graduates, so employment upon graduation was assured.
The school provided a well-equipped facility for its disabled students, and was a pioneer of "accessibility" with automatic doors and extra-wide elevators.
Facilities included a medical department on school premises which housed an infirmary, dispensary and exercise room.
The services of a physician, physical therapist, full-time registered nurse and a "physical medicine consultant" were provided free to the students.
The school also housed an extensive horological library, recreation facilities, and a full kitchen and dining room.
The school received its financial support from the Joseph Bulova Foundation.
Time Line of Events:
1946- The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking Opens its doors.
1948- 200 Graduate from the School
1949- Two Bulova school graduates are hired by Tiffany & Co.
1950-300 Veterans have graduated from the school
1950-53-400 Have now graduated from the school
1959-590 Graduates from the Bulova School find employment
1961- By this time 700 have graduated
1963-760 total Graduates
1964-796 have completed the program
Due to the advent of quartz watch technology the mechanical watch industry went into a deep decline, the need for professional watchmakers diminished and the school closed.
Mechanical watches are enjoying a world-wide resurgence and new professionals are urgently needed.
The Veterans Watchmaker Initiative will help fill that need by training our disabled veterans in this most esteemed of professions.