Watch dropping

At each Commencement, a watch is dropped from the 80-foot spire of the college chapel. If the watch breaks, tradition now holds that the class will be lucky.

The tradition began in 1916, although the results that year were different. A clipping from the Springfield Republican dated June 21 of that year said: "one of the most interesting occurrences of the afternoon took place on the spur of the moment from the top of the chapel tower immediately after the singing of 'The Mountains.' Members of the class had been remarking about the very great height of the tower and wondering what the effect would be upon the body of a person leaping off, when suddenly someone suggested that a piece of mechanism that is usually considered unbreakable be tossed down -- an Ingersoll watch. A collection was taken up by the class at once and one of the 'dollar brand' was bought. . . With great solemnity, the article was tossed off. Upon rushing down to the foot of the tower, the watch was found, imbedded in the earth, somewhat battered and beaten, the case very much scratched, but the works still ticking valiantly away and the time registered 3.43 correct to the minute."

Current Williams College Seal