The Society was founded in 1953. It unites collectors, scholars and museum professionals interested in the historical aspects of horology – the study of the art, science, social history and technology of timekeepers, such as clocks and watches.
The society is a registered charity under English law.
The principal meetings of the Society are held periodically, primarily in London. Meetings may also be multi-day seminars, held in a number of locations such as Oxford. The Society hosts a London Lecture Series, which in 2016 will be held at Cannon Place, 78 Cannon Street, London. The annual general meeting is usually held at the National Maritime Museum and involves a one-day seminar. Once a year the organization usually organizes an international study tour, travelling to a foreign locale to study historic horological artefacts.
Besides the main body that meets in London, there also are numerous Sections, most of them regional groups of members spread throughout the United Kingdom, plus five international sections (Ireland, USA, Canada, Netherlands) and three special interest sections with interests in turret clocks, wristwatches and electrical horology. Sections may hold their own meetings and in some cases publish members' newsletters or organize horological study tours. The usual focus is on the presentation of papers on horological subjects. Some meetings involve visits to museums, restoration workshops or private collections.
The Society maintains an horological library, which is functionally integrated with the library of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers at the Guildhall, London.
Antiquarian Horology & the Proceedings of the Antiquarian Horological Society, generally known as Antiquarian Horology, is the Society's quarterly academic journal, which is peer-reviewed and available to members, and to the public in a variety of public libraries.
The Society also publishes books on horological subjects, which are available to the public.
In 2012, the AHS formally affiliated with the Royal Astronomical Society. In 2014, the AHS formally affiliated with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Its main sister organizations in other countries pursuing similar goals are: