Over the past four decades that I have been in the clock repair and restoration business, I have noticed that my backlog has increased to a level that I am uncomfortable with. When I tell a customer that the overhaul of their movement will take up to six months or the restoration of their family heirloom might take up to a year, I get questions and strange looks. Having their clock sitting on a shelf in my shop does me or the owner no good. I work seven days a week, except for a few hours where I have other commitments. I also have customers ask me “What am I going to do when you retire?”. My response has always been “What do you mean, I retired 43 years ago”. I enjoy what I do that much. The real problem is the lack of young (or any age) people getting into the clock and, even more so, the watch repair and restoration business.
A local watchmaker that I referred all my customers’ watch work to is now suffering from Alzheimer’s.
Another retired with glaucoma. As older clockmakers and watchmakers are disappearing from the work force, there is no one entering the field, which causes a backlog for those of us working. While on vacation in Florida, I was talking to a clock movement importer who told me he no longer has anyone ordering from the Orlando Florida area. Orlando has a population of 2.4 million people. A population that should support up to a dozen clockmakers and there is one, who no longer has the time to do house calls.
The executive director of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), Tim Wilcox, wrote in the July/August edition of the NAWCC Bulletin:
“…The community of horologists seems to be ever shrinking, but the passion and interest is as strong as ever. Time and time keeping will always have a solid role in the scheme of humanity. Clocks and watches are inanimate scientific instruments, yet they will continually posses and exude unique, historical, significant, and personal stories that will attract and connect every level of human existence with horology.” (1 Wilcox)
So please be patient with the time it takes to do the work on your clock. I refuse, and I am sure you would not want me, to lower the quality of my work in order to put work out faster. To restore your clock into original working order will take time. Thank you for your patience and your business.
(1) Executive Director Tom Wilcox’s quote used with permission and appears in the July/August
2018, Volume 60/4, Number 434, page 297 of the Watch & Clock Bulletin, Journal of the
National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC), article titled “We share the
stor(ies) of Time…”