Home Forums General Discussion Forum Clockmakers and Watchmakers are Stingy with Trade Secrets

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      Think about it…isn’t it how it’s always been?

      If you’ve been in this business for 20 or 30 years, and had a mentor master watchmaker or clockmaker who took you in under his wing – isn’t it true that you had to work hard, prove yourself before he even looked at you, and maybe even were just in the right place at the right time?

      When I became an apprentice locksmith, that’s how it was for me. Nobody wanted to take me in, and there were NO trade secrets given. I think many believe the same about horology – and for hundreds of years, I believe that’s how it really was, and in some cases IS, even in the 21st century.

      During this holiday season, I have had occasion to ponder this, and many other things. The ONE thing that kept coming back to me, is that there is a man who, in his amazingly forward-thinking, and cutting edge approach BROKE all the rules, and decided to share the entire depth, width, and breadth of all his knowledge – with whomever desired to learn. My quest to learn took me into an ENTIRELY different direction, thanks to him, when I decided that I would pursue watches instead of clocks first. It has literally changed my life.

      Bob Tascione is that man, and I would ask the Horological Knights of the Round Table to stand, raise up their stein with me, and salute this great man who decided to do something that was bigger than himself – and touched thousands.

      Here’s to you, Bob. I wouldn’t be here without you.

      With deepest humility,



        He is a very clever guy and will share any of his knowledge glady, I am lucky to be able to call Bob a friend and very thankful for his course as I have made some amazing friends and learnt a lot through this forum and for that alone I will always be extremely grateful to Bob.
        I struggled to find any kind of help when I started out(apart from Bob and his course) but fortunately I bought a lathe from a guy who is a genius clockmaker and he has taught me a lot and still does. This is one of the reasons I try to help out as much as I can on the forum, its not easy for anybody starting out in horology, I am not an expert by any means but what info I do have tucked away in my pea brain is free to anybody who needs it :)


        bernie weishapl

          I took Bob’s course way back when and when he asked me to take the new watch & Clock course I was quick to take him up on it. I was fortunate to have mentored under a gentleman who went to watch and clock school back in 1938. I learned a lot from him on watches and clocks. I must say that when he passed I was still looking to learn and Bob’s course was just the ticket. I must say the biggest thing I learned was how to fix cuckcoo clocks. My mentor would not even look at them. So yes I am extremely grateful for him, his sharing of knowledge and his courses. I am also grateful for this forum which I have learned a lot from a great bunch of guys and even Chris. 😆 Like Paul when I first started I didn’t have a computer let alone internet. There was no one around to help or bounce questions off of. So hats off to Bob and everyone on here.


            Ditto, ditto. Really, when it comes right down to it, clockmakers and watchmakers do not seem stingy to me. This forum is the proof of that. That being said, if I am able to contribute to another’s growth in this area, I give as freely as I am able to. Conversations with my brother to clarify certain specific (if obscure) points as to the construction, working and build of watch and clock components point to this. Because the knowledge is available in print, this is where my information has largely come from. This forum is the wild card, the game changer for me, the reason to plow forward and try new things and continue to learn so much more than I ever could have by continuing to use books alone as my sources. In my experience, people can be stingy, but this forum takes that variable out of play and reinforces my opinion that people are good to start with, at their core. We have a lot of work to do, and I plan to get on with it. Humbled by the candor, Tukat


              Bob has paved the way for many of us here, with real world knowledge and ongoing mentorship.
              Invaluable to our community…

              I’ll toast him heartily !


              chris mabbott

                Most definitely, Bobs courses have helped many people, myself included. As a result, this forum has also taken on the same spirit of sharing and helping others..

                Speaking from my own personal experience in the watch world, and professional life, I’ve mostly found good help, council, and a willingness to share, but, some people are more guarded about sharing. I find that is the exception though.

                Randy, do you remember Rowan and martins laugh in? Dick Martins catch line was….. “I’ll drink to that” except he drank to everything 😆


                  My hats off to Bob Tascione for what he’s done for those of us who wish to persue an education in horology. I’m truly grateful for the lessons/videos/information he has provided and this forum.
                  I’m also grateful for the members of this forum who pass on what they can, to those of us who seek their guidance. I’ve said it before, I think this is one of the best forums I have ever had the pleasure to be a member of.
                  As far as the topic title, Piissshhhhhhh, I’ve gots ta slap on the air brakes. I have not met anybody in the watchmaking/repair community that has denied me any information or guidance. If anything, the opposite is what I find to be true. From phone calls to different folks at the NAWCC, to my local Chapter, to my local watch repair guy (who openly admits he’s no “know-it-all” at the game), he’s always willing to share and actually help me find answers.
                  When I first started making Bamboo fly rods I knew that there were only a handful of bamboo rodmakers in the country. I showed a sincere interest. I went on Google and searched as much information as I could. I made my first steel planing forms by hand…with a block of maple and a 60* lathe cutting tool ( it took over 10 months of shaving slivers of steel by hand to the point of horrible pain on both thumbs and wrists). I owned no machinery at all except for a used Harbor Freight benchtop drill press. I eventually found a forum and shared what I had done so far and builders sent me all sorts of materials to get me going and start on my journey of actually getting my first rod made.
                  I think that, when there is a yearning student, a teacher will always appear.
                  Thanks Bob. Thanks guys. I too, will try to pass it on as best I can.


                    I see I’ve stirred a little activity here!

                    Guys, the title was a hook to get you to look at the opposite of anyone who hoarded knowledge, and that complete and total opposite is Bob Tascione.

                    Here, in this forum, we have carried on that spirit – Everyone I’ve met here has been anything BUT stingy. The stingy type I was referring to was the guy in the shop who’s the only game in town, who answers any questions to do with horology with suspicion, gives skewed answers, and always looks out for his pocketbook first. The one guy I’m thinking about is the one here in Honolulu who works (WORKED) on my grandfather clock. His spirit is not one of helping to understand, but to protect his assets, corporate knowledge, trade secrets, etc.

                    I have no doubt there are good guys in the NAWCC – however, if it took a guy like me, or my brother Joe, 25 years to find Bob’s videos that he did during that time so long ago, how many others have been discouraged by the guy who’s the only game in town, sees all your clock problems as those that he alone can solve, and always looks with the eye of suspicion upon the man or woman who asks any other question unrelated to how to pay his service bill…

                    Of course, we have found our little slice of heaven over here. There are others, I’m sure of that. I see this as something one could compare to any other activity that, previous to the internet, required a rigorous apprenticeship under an old master who agreed to teach a guy from the ground up. The magic in Bob’s work is the AVAILABILITY of information, and his undeniable desire to share all he has to offer. That’s the special part.

                    You’ve all made some very profound, and thankful statements about Bob, and his spirit of help and assistance to anyone who desires it. As I mentioned previously, this is something bigger than him. It’s so big that, after many have had difficulty breaking into an old tradition, they have now adopted Bob’s unique model for growth.

                    When the show “Secrets of Magic” came out, there were many, many who said that it was a terrible thing to do. Not so, said the masked magician, finally revealed at the show’s climax. His drive and determination came from pushing the world of magic forward, to help others gain valuable skills, and to innovate so that magic could be enjoyed for generations to come due to that innovation. Bob has done the exact same thing with his videos and forum – and we are the benefactors of that bold and generous spirit!


                    Tim :)

                    Bob Tascione

                      Thanks for all the kind words everyone. They are truly appreciated. I’m sorry for not writing sooner but my wife and I are still celebrating our 40th in a little California mountain village where we met 43 years ago.

                      I have to say that there’s no way I can take much if any credit for how well our forum operates and why we all get along so well as a group. Our moderators know from our many Skype discussions we have had together that my main objective is to stay out of as many discussions as possible to allow creative problem solving ideas to flow between members. I think problem solving is the best way to learn and never forget. I’ve noticed many times that when I jump in to some technical conversations with an idea or thought it has been taken by some newer members to be the end all answer or to put it another way, taken to be the absolute correct answer or solution to the problem. Well if what I put out there does happen to be correct then all I’ve really managed to do is bring what may have been a very productive problem solving thread to a screeching halt. If my post isn’t correct which is often the case, and remains unchallenged, then I’ve not only screwed up a great thread but am guilty of cramming bad info down everyones throats! Sure, if I happen to spit out the correct solution then great, it might or might not be imprinted in memory but if the conversation could have continued then possibly many other important points or facts may have surfaced and been learned and remembered by all members involved in the conversation.

                      I know that at least for me, I tend to learn and remember much more when I actually figure something out myself through trial and error than if I read or hear it from somewhere. Also learning from mistakes always works better for me than being told to do something a certain way. Mistakes translate into some form of pain and pain leaves a deep impression in my psyche. I hate pain! The more it hurts the more it’s remembered. I’m not saying that I feel learning watch and clock repair has to be painful or frustrating but to learn it as quickly as possible and correctly it must be challenging. Brainstorming among members makes the challenge almost fun and enjoyable. Kinda makes a game out of it.

                      So, if I should get any credit at all it should be for trying to keep out of the way of constuctive rag chewing and keeping my yap shut as much as possible! Not always something I can pull off though cuz I do like to play too.

                      It’s my feeling that one important difference between beginning watch and clock makers and those with experience is the number of mistakes made. Beginners should never make the ‘mistake’ of assuming those with experience seldom make mistakes. They make mistakes. Lot’s of mistakes. If they say otherwise then they are lying.

                      Whatever level one is at he or she should feel free to challenge and be challenged for the sake of learning as a group and never be afraid to put a question or answer out there for fear of embarassment and NEVER prevent oneself from being challenged for fear of having to admit when wrong. When I’ve been proven wrong it means I’ve learned something that’s right, something new. Why should I or anyone feel embarassed for learning? This is what I believe makes our forum special. The fact that we members think of one another as friends and care enough to ask or be asked questions without feeling embarassed or threatened in any way.

                      So… I guess what I’m saying is that we all learn a great deal from each other because we all give a great deal to each other. Looking at the list of everyone who posted above in this thread I can honestly, without any doubt say that I’ve learned many valuable repair tips, tool design ideas, the value of friendship and much more from each of you many times over. Whether just beginning or a seasoned clockmaker like Bernie (that doesn’t mean old in this case Bernie :) ) you all contribute a great deal to our forum.
                      It ‘ain’t me, it’s you that makes this forum such a successful and interesting place!
                      Thanks again Everyone!

                      bernie weishapl

                        Well some days Bob I do feel Old. 😆 I am getting up there at 68 but hope I have a few more years. I agree totally with you if people say they don’t learn anything, that they have seen it all are definitely not telling the truth. I have been doing clocks over 30 yrs. I learn something new everyday and that is what keeps it interesting. We have great people on here and it makes it interesting. It doesn’t matter if you are a veteran of clocks/watches or just getting started we can all learn something. What I like is helping someone it either jogs my memory on something I had long forgotten or discover something/someway to do something or a new way of doing something. Questions not only help me remember something I learned long ago but also keeps me up to date on things. I hope those new to clocks/watches understand as my granddad always told me, “there is no such thing as a dumb question. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask.” So for all you just getting started don’t hesitate to ask then we can all learn. As I had taught at a Vo-Tech school many years ago I found one thing. Any question you ask there is always someone out there that has the same question and is to shy to ask.



                          Congratulations on your 40 year anniversary…sounds like you’ve got the perfect little story to tell about being successful life partners :) I know, I know, it hasn’t been all peaches and cream, but very, very few make it to the big 4-0…Great work :)

                          A chalkboard. There’s a thing we see every day. It’s a very common thing to see, people use them all the time, and we’ve all learned from them many, many times over in the course of our lives. However, there is something else there. I remember listening to a peak performance seminar on tape, and the facilitator was talking about chalkboards…and how they are really about the IDEAS that come from the people who express them, thereby sharing with others. Think Einstein and his E=MC2 equation. So, a chalkboard is a very boring, normal thing, with the potential for amazing experiences.

                          You’ve said you don’t really have anything to do with the success of the site, and maybe in a sense, you’re right. By the way, when you talk about staying out of it, you’re really speaking like a wise master who has matured beyond what anyone knows. When I think of how safe it is here, and how NICE everyone is – and how willing they are to spill their horology secrets – I sit back and say to myself, “Hmmm…this isn’t your regular, normal, boring website…”

                          So, Sir, I beg to differ on a couple points :) I get the whole thing about letting the answer reveal itself, etc. And I also see much humility, honesty, candor, even steadfastness at times from the folks who frequent here…

                          But what YOU have done, in addition to making ALL of your information available, is to open up a website and invite folks in. But that’s not all. You’ve also set the tone – that no question is wrong; that no one should be embarrassed to ask; that everyone has many, many good things to offer. I think that’s where I’m coming from…so…

                          …Not so fast, there, Bob :) As I’ve said before, this thing you’ve made is way, way bigger than you are as an individual, and that’s pretty special, because I don’t know the last time I did everything you’ve done…and done it so freely, and with a good heart and intent. Nope. This is pretty special here, and you’re a big reason for it!

                          You, and some of the others have brought up the members, the moderators, and everything each of us bring to the table, and I wholeheartedly agree with you! When I went to Space Shuttle Rescue in the 1990’s at Edwards AFB in California, I saw something similar first-hand. The class proceeded over the course of a couple weeks, and then at the end, the instructors got us together in a circle. They said, “We always look for that person who helps others, who brings good things to the class, who goes the extra mile in helping his fellow student be their best, and that person is…Captain Jones from Anaheim!” Then, they gave him a silver dollar sized Space Shuttle coin, and thanked him for being so selfless, helpful, and positive.

                          And, thanks to the many good guys we have here, that’s what we have here. :)


                          Tim :)

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