Independents

Bert Kalisher, an Industry Veteran Who Loved Making Connections, Dies at 97

IndependentsNov 28, 2022

Bert Kalisher, an Industry Veteran Who Loved Making Connections, Dies at 97

Kalisher started out manufacturing watch bands and later got into publishing, authoring two books and serving as publisher of Chronos.

New York—Bertram “Bert” Kalisher, a well-known and beloved figure in the watch and jewelry industry whose career spanned seven decades, died Nov. 20.

He was 97.  

Born Sept. 27, 1925, Kalisher grew up in Long Beach, New York. After high school, he studied art and industrial design at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. 

After one year at Pratt, Kalisher left to enlist in the Army Air Corps during World War II, his daughter Nancy Siskind said. 

He trained as a bombardier, but the war ended before he was deployed. 

Following the war, he started his own business—watch band manufacturer Hadley Kalbe—and later expanded to manufacturing jewelry as well. 

He eventually sold his business and got into publishing. 

He worked as the editor of three magazines, served as publisher of Chronos, and published two books, “The Art of the Watch” and “Chronograph to Complication: The Art & Technology of Accurate Timing.” 

Siskind described her father as a “brilliant entrepreneur” who did what he did not for the sake of making money, but because of his passion for watches and jewelry. 

“The industry was his love,” she said. “He was passionate about helping people, about connecting people. 

“He was just a really kind, good man.” 

Retired Cleveland, Ohio-area jeweler Jim Alperin, who bought watch bands from Kalisher, recalled an instance in which the industry veteran offered sage advice after a costume jewelry store franchise Alperin had purchased lost a significant amount of money. 

“I was at Basel after that, and Bert took me out for a cup of coffee at the show just to talk about the loss because he understood how difficult being in business was,” Alperin recalled. “He told me to think of my experience as having purchased an expensive collectible plate that had fallen off the wall and broken. There was nothing to do other than sweep up the pieces and move forward. 

“It was very sweet of him to be concerned and to show his concerns.” 

Kalisher had lived in Hewlett Neck, New York, since the 1960s, serving as deputy mayor, trustee, and village historian. 

He was also an avid sailor and gardener and loved to cook and travel.

He is survived by his wife of 72 years, Marcy; two children, Richard and Nancy; six grandchildren, Eric, Andrew, Michael, Sam, Laura, Elizabeth; and one great-granddaughter, Emma. 

Services were held Friday in Elmont, New York. 
Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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