Two days before the annual celebration of Veterans Day, a team from the Bulova Watch Company, which included a video team of videographers, visited the nation’s unique watchmaking school for disabled military veterans in Odessa, Delaware, a town with a history of watchmaking dating back several centuries.
Founded by Sam Cannan, a Swiss-trained, internationally certified watchmaker, the school provides tuition-free education to teach disabled American servicemen the skills of watchmaking under the expert supervision of professional watchmakers. It recently celebrated its first anniversary.
The school is based on the Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking created in 1945 by Joseph Bulova’s son Arde Bulova in an effort “to repay in some small measure, the sacrifice and service of returning disabled veterans after the Second World War,” for disabled veterans. It trained a generation of American watchmakers.
Mr. Cannan lives in Dover and makes the daily 45-mile commute to the school to work with six students nearing graduation. His expertise is in the repair of high-end mechanical watches, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Baume & Mercier, Ebel, Panerai, Tag Heuer, and Breitling. He designed, developed, constructed and equipped state of the art watch labs used as today’s industry standard and has been recognized by the international watch industry.
While the school can only accommodate six veterans at the present time, it has a long list of applicants from across the nation. In addition to the Odessa facility, future plans include the construction of a handicapped accessible facility on four acres of donated land in Middletown, Delaware, that will accommodate as many as 25 veterans who can be trained in various aspects of watch repair and watchmaking.
Visit www.veteranswatchmakerinitiative.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 302-465-2421 for more information on assisting in or donating to its programs. A clip of the interview done during the Bulova visit can be seen at www.Bulova.com then clicking on the Veterans Watchmaking Initiative.