The history of AWCI began with the early guilds and watchmaker associations that laid the foundation upon which AWCI is based. America’s first watchmakers society was probably the New Yorker Uhrmachers Verein, organized on March 26, 1866, by German immigrant watchmakers located in New York City. In the 1930s it was reorganized as the Horological Society of New York. Next, a group of Chicago watchmakers formed the American Horological Society in June of 1892. On August 13, 1917, the Associated Watchmakers of America was formed. Later, the Horological Institute of America was established on October 20-21, 1921.
In the time when the country was in a devastating economic depression, the United Horological Association of 1960-Merger America was formed in May 1934. This was when the National Recovery Act, with its industry codes on hours and wages, was causing much confusion in the watchmaking industry. Formal discussions of merging UHAA and HIA began in May 1957, culminating with the formation of AWCI in June 1960.