“Newbie” seemed like the appropriate place to offer my first post. I’ve just finished the three watch repair videos segments here and have found them a treat to view. I live north of Seattle. A few months ago I went the N.Seattle Community College campus where they have a fine watchmaking program. I had hoped there would be a general course on watchmaking I could take. While the instructor there was very nice, theirs is a full-immersion only proposition with no basic courses for the ignorant masses. Basically, I’m saying that I was very receptive to learning more about the art of watchmaking, but didn’t know how to proceed until I discovered this on-line bonanza!
As a touch of background, two years ago my wife started purchasing watch lots and using the gears and other ornate parts for making some very fine jewelry. She has done fairly well with this, but as an offshoot, she, and now I, have sold online to watchmakers many of the accompanying watch components she acquired. Frankly, after spending a year selling watch parts for which I had not a clue what they were or what they did, it was a genuine pleasure to watch Bob’s instructional videos. I loved how he got right down to business. In doing so, I have had numerous “aha” moments where I realized what exactly it was that these pallet arbors, and staffs and stems I have been selling actually did. (Prior to this, “arboreal” and “stems” had always sounded like parts of trees to me).
In any event, I’m not planning on doing watch restoration myself, but I have accumulated a loop, those wrench do-hickeys to open the backs of watches, and I am fascinated to learn more about watches and this very intriguing art of watch repair. For example, yesterday, at a local antique store, I came across a 1881 Illinois pocket watch that doesn’t run. They were asking $60. The hunter-style pocket watch is in fairly good shape, visually, with one minor, visible dent on the outside cover. I’m thinking of buying it and having a professional watchmaker restore it to operating condition. It is an Illinois with (roughly #250,000 or so on the movement which means it was made prior to when the company was acquired by Springfield Watch Co). It also has a beautiful “San Juan” movement that looks to be about size 27, so it’s quite large. If I can find a way to get it running without too much additional investment, I like that idea of using this piece of history as a way to learn more about this fascinating mechanical art form. I’d certainly appreciate any thoughts on this, especially the upsides and perils of this as an investment. (I recently sold a lot of Illinois parts on EBay that I thought would go for about $30.00. They went for $130.00 instead, so I have no doubt that Illinois is a great Pocket Watch brand).
Also, Bob, my wife and I are seriously thinking about going to the annual meeting in Portland in May of the PNW National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, Inc. I was wondering if you will be attending. It would be great to meet you in person. I’ve seen plenty of your fingers in action, but I have a stinking suspicion that those digits are also attached to a face. (That’s just my perverse way of saying that it would be nice to meet you).
Bottom line, I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen thus far, and very much look forward to learning more. Many thanks!