The Waldorf Astoria's World's Fair Clock Is Being Moved to New-York Historical Society—See It in Its New Home

Chris Coe/Courtesy Optimist Consulting

The iconic NYC hotel has been home to the famous timepiece for over 125 years.

The renovation of the Waldorf Astoria New York is one of the world's most anticipated hospitality events. But it's not the only thing to get a refresh. The iconic 1893 World Exposition Clock (commonly known as World's Fair Clock) that adorned the lobby for over one hundred years was also restored to it's turn-of-the-century glory. And to show it off while the legendary hotel is under construction, the clock is set to temporarily move to New-York Historical Society so fans can still catch a glimpse of history.


A first look rendering of the World's Fair Clock in the reimagined lobby of the Waldorf Astoria New York. The clock will remain at New-York Historical Society until the Waldorf Astoria New York completes its restoration at which time the clock will return to its place of prominence as an iconic meeting place and focal point. Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria New York.

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Queen Victoria commissioned The Goldsmiths' and Silversmiths' Company of London to create the incredible timepiece to showcase English craftsmanship at the Chicago World's Fair. It was shaped like an octagon and made from American walnut and decorated with bronze panels showing off sports and the Brooklyn Bridge. Additional portraits display American figures like George Washington along with, of course, Queen Victoria. The four faces originally showed the time in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Greenwich, England.


The World's Fair Clock in the main foyer of the original Waldorf Astoria in 1903. Provided by Waldorf Astoria New York. (Disclaimer here). 

John Jacob Astor IV bought it and brought it to the original Waldorf-Astoria on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street before being moved to the hotel's new and most recent location on Park Avenue. And there it stayed from 1931 until the property closed for renovations. 

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Once the hotel shut its doors for the transformation, they also decided to restore the clock to its original grandeur. Experts at Stair Galleries, overseen by the Building Conservation Associates, researched the materials to ensure it was authentic while About Time updated the components and chimes. But while it waits to be put back on display in the lobby, the clock will be on view at New-York Historical Society starting November 20, along with other hotel relics like the John F. Kennedy Rocking Chair. 


The World's Fair Clock being disassembled to complete a 12 month long restoration by Stair Galleries. Photo by Noë & Associates. 

"We assembled a best-in-class team of preservationists to oversee the restoration of Waldorf Astoria New York and its historic objects," Andrew Miller, CEO of Dajia US, owner and developer of Waldorf Astoria New York, told Departures in a statement. "The World's Fair Clock, now beautifully restored, has offered New Yorkers the time and an iconic place to meet for over a century."