Home Forums General Discussion Forum Clockmaker numbers are dropping off

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    Bob Tascione

      Seems like fewer and fewer of us coming into the trade.
      This article is local to the Niagara area but seems like Ben has the right idea.
      Anyone here in the Niagara area?


      bernie weishapl

        Our chapter went by the wayside Bob. Nobody left but me. There used to be 14 of us that meet once a month but they are all gone and I am the only one left in the area. I am 67 yrs old and not sure how much longer I can carry on. There are no clocksmiths within 250 radius of me. I cannot get anyone interested in doing clocks. I had 3 or 4 kids come in to apprentice but I think the longest one last 3 weeks. More interested in texting their girlfriends than learning.

        It is sad.

        chris mabbott

          I dunno guys,eBay says a different thing, god lord, it’s becoming impossible to win anything for a decent price and the amount of bidders is staggering. I’ve seen 7 jewel Junkers going for $160+++

          I would sayid anything,there are lots of new “speculators” entering the field with hopes of turning a profit. This is limiting supply, driving up prices and disheartening those, like myself, who have seen this crazy increase..

          An example, balance staffs, mainsprings and crystals have tripled in price the past few months.. This either means that it’s parts dealers snatching all the watches, or the part dealers have a high demand for parts that is causing them to increase their profits, supply and demand.. :(

          bernie weishapl

            I have been curious about the same thing Chris. On clocks what I find around here is these antique dealers go to auctions and estates to buy up these clocks at insane prices. Then they bring them to me and say just get them working. Don’t want to spend more than $30 or $40. I did that a couple of times till I got burned. He sold a clock I just put some oil on and got it running. Problem was after the guy bought it the clock quit. The antique dealer told them I fixed it and would warranty it. It was a mess as the dealer told me if I did not warranty it he would spread the word I would not honor a warranty and did shoddy work. So from that day forward if it is not a complete overhaul I don’t do it. We have 3 antique dealers around here and I told them all no complete overhaul don’t even bring the clock in.

            Same with watches. I had some guys tell me they try to buy watches especially gold ones. Sell the cases for the gold and part out the watch. There is one guy on ebay that buys watchmakers estates. He takes all the case that are gold and sells them. He must have 40 or so watches with no cases for sale as parts watches and they still go for insane prices. He told me nobody around him fixes watches but he said that is fine by him as he can make more money parting them out. Just sucks.



              What you saw with the young folks is the overall lack of work ethic in the country. I see it everyday. It’s sad but in my mind, third world immigrants have a better work ethic than our home grown people. I don’t mean this as a generalization (well I suppose it really is), but more as an anecdotal observation over ten years of teaching post-secondary higher ed. I’m sure it varies in different regions of the country but for southeast Alabama at least, employers tell us that their biggest turnover rate is due to tardiness, dressing unprofessionally (in pajama bottoms), and texting while on the job. Their other biggest complaints are the utter lack of communication skills, failing drug tests, and potential applicants who possess no rudimentary mechanical and math skills. The shocking thing is that these are high school graduates. :(



                The situation is no better here in the UK. Most people I speak to are astounded when I tell them what I do, not so much because of what i do but because they find it suprising that there are enough clocks around to keep me busy. If the greater percentage of the countries adults don’t give clocks a second glance what are the chances of their children considering it an option?
                The British Horological Institute does nothing to encourage youth into Horology and even if you do get some interested the lack of support doing the distance learning course is an absolute joke.
                The average age of a clockmaker in this country is steadily rising, watchmaking has seen a large ressurgence but I dont think it will be long before there are just not enough of us to service/fix the clocks. I have a two month backlog now and it just keeps getting longer.
                None of this is painting a pretty picture for the future :(

                bernie weishapl

                  Same thing here Paul. I just tell the customer when I call you it will be done. I went from a month backlog to probably a 4 month backlog now. Like you it just keeps getting longer. I have a friend of mine who’s backlog is 8 months to a year. He has like 60 to 80 clocks waiting for repair and he says they just keep coming. He said he went on calls the other day to deliver 4 clocks and came back with 7.

                  Tom I was a supervisor for 11 years. Tardiness, piercings in lips, nose, tongue, ears (multiple), eyes, etc, short skirts (my sockets have more material), pj’s, flip-flops, texting constantly, can’t carry on a conversation, sleeping on the job, definitely more than half of them couldn’t pass a drug test, and on, and on, and on. Half of them can’t count change back if the computer doesn’t tell them. These are the same type people that are striking $15 a hour.

                  The very sad part is I just don’t see it getting any better. I think in 25 yrs there will be very few clocksmiths or watchmakers left. I am on another forum and the average age is 66. Pretty sad. Oh well I need to get to bed and get on my backlog again tomorrow. Got two done today. 😆

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