The Symbolic Teachings of a Mechanical Pocket Watch


Masons are taught many different lessons throughout the three degrees of Masonry. Not only when we experienced them as a candidate, but also as we provide the degrees to the new Brothers and as we sit on the sideline. There are many items that are used to impress the lessons of Masonry upon our consciousness. One item that is not used to impress the lessons in our work but that I have embraced because of the lesson I believe it will teach, is the mechanical pocket watch.

Most recently a Brother shared his newly acquired Dudley Masonic pocket watch, and I started to think about all the movements and parts of a pocket watch which must occur together in unison for the dial to be able to provide the correct time.

The parts that compose the inner workings of the pocket watch are numerous, intricate, and dependent on each other. Looking at the diagram, we see that there is not just one or two gears, rather there are a number of gears, springs and other smaller parts working in unison. Each dependent on the other, no matter how large or small the part is. You may be asking what lesson might be taught to us from this simple and useful tool.

I believe that the pocket watch is emblematical of the Masonic Lodge, each part of the pocket watch contained within the walls of its case representing the membership of the Lodge. Just as the pocket watch has the numerous, different and unique parts working together, so a Lodge has its numerous members each one unique and different from each other yet working together to improve each other. This view is not to say that everyone has to be actively engaged in the lodge, as are the gears and springs of a pocket watch.

Rather, remember that the gears and springs are just two parts of the watch. In addition to the housing of the pocket watch, another part of the watch that we can relate back to the Lodge is the different plates that support the gears and springs. These plates are also emblematical of the members of the Lodge that are not actively involved with the workings of the Lodge at every meeting and event but are active in the background not always completely seen but providing the needed support and encouragement for the lodge and the membership to be able to function successfully.

There is also another teaching provided by the Pocket Watches inner parts. When the springs and gears of the pocket watch fail to work together in unison with the support of the plates, the pocket watch may begin to function less reliable as time passes on. In the Lodge, when the members are not working together in unison the Lodge may similarly suffer and unlike a pocket watch with all its parts unable to leave from within its case, the same is not true of Lodge members in relation to the Lodge.

A successful Lodge is one that is able to reach its goals with each member of the Lodge working together in unison, combining those that are active and those that are being supportive, like that of a properly working pocket watch to ensure that the work is completed. I hope you will look at this tool and let it impact your consciousness as you consider how your Lodge is or is not similar to that of a proper working mechanical pocket watch.

Originally published at The Laudable Pursuit. Re-published with permission.