What Do You All Collect & Why?

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  • #48809
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    I’m new to this forum and apart from 1 person, I don’t know any of you personally. I’d be interested to hear about if you are collectors, or professional watch repairers/makers/hobbyist etc
    How did you get in to horology and what is your field of collecting interest, what models do you like..

    I became interested in pocket watches when I was around 8 years old. Before my parents moved to Canada, we lived in the UK, I used to watch this sci-fi tv show called Dr Who, he was basically a time traveler and he always carried a pocket watch, a cool one.
    Subsequently, when we moved, my granddad gave me a small collection of PWs to take with me, I had to promise that I would look after them. Flash forward about 15 yrs…. I found the watches in a box, tried to wind them..nothing, So I began to take them apart with a cheapo radioshack magnetic screwdriver set and a magnifying glass 😆 What a mess.

    Anyway, this was before the net, so I picked up a book on watch repair, which was old then, probably by DeCarle, and I got the 1888 NYS working, for about an hour LOL
    Since then, I had picked up many watches at markets, from family, friends etc. The past few years I have been attracted to the American types, not necessarily the RR models but yes, those too, more so those with a very pleasing visual aspect, eye candy 😯 Because for me accuracy is secondary to beauty, I go for looks not smarts LOL, besides I have a mobile for the exact time, PWs are simply classic to carry. I wear a different one daily, so they aren’t just sitting in a box, I use them. Today I wore a 1911 Elgin 16s 313 which keeps almost perfect time and bears the inscription on the back… Amor Vincit Omnia

    Also for the past 3-4 years, I’ve been collecting vintage watchmakers tools, so not only is this hobby addictive as hell, but also far ranging and expensive… So I never really reveal to my better half how much any given item really costs because most female types don’t get it, and I do tend to go overboard at times 😳 Women’s shoe collecting however, that’s a totally acceptable addiction 🙄

    Chris

    Chris

    #55247
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    Hey Chris, I too like to wear a pocket watch. One day I decided to take a Waltham model 1883 7J grade 18, 1907 P.W. I bought it for $15, it was in real bad shape, missing parts, broken parts, one of my first pocket watch adventures, runs well now, anyway the test was to see if i could find any interest at the biggest local electronics store (best buy). in about 15 minutes I had a small crowd looking at this ancient mechanical device, some for the first time realizing that at one time we had to wind the watch to make it run. Alot of interest and many business cards handed out to potential customers. I am alot like you in that if I like the looks it value doesnt matter, I think it is more the satisfaction of taking a messed up watch or clock and getting it running again, I still get butterflies when I am setting the balance assembly in and it takes off…or a clock that when first put back together after hours of work and with the slightest touch everything is spinning. Well as far as collecting, getting slow, old, fat, and bald,
    I’m collecting dust 🙄 .
    really not much of a collector of anything in particular, but if something appeals to me I go after it, like a fish, anything shinny and Ill bite. Gotta go for now, hope to see yah soon, William

    #55248
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    Hi Chris,
    I got into horology after suffering back problems and not being able to work for anyone as I have to rest up now and again because of the pain. It started as a hobby but as of December 2012 became a business. I do have an interest in pocket watches but my work involves clock repair and restoration. I seem to have a limited attention span and once I have learned how to do something I get bored and move on to another subject, probably why I have had around 50 different jobs since I left school. Horology is the only thing that has ever kept my attention and because there is so much to know and learn I cant ever see myself moving on to something else. The satisfaction of getting something working is another major factor in my enjoyment of this trade.
    As for collecting, I collect tools as I think most horologists do, even if you know you might not need a certain too its always nice to have it just in case :) and I also seem to have built up a rather large collection of alarm clocks that people keep giving me although this is unintentional collecting.
    Paul.

    #55249
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    @willofiam wrote:

    Well as far as collecting, getting slow, old, fat, and bald,
    I’m collecting dust 🙄 . William

    William, I only see minor issues with the first three, the last one, bald, well my friend, that is simply a blessing as you can tell from my pic 😆
    God only made so many perfect heads, the rest, he covered with hair :D

    It’s nice to see others using these once retired pieces of technology, yet again. The wonderful thing is that not only do they work, well, but they are pieces of art from a past time and they look amazing. Like you William, I’ve caught people gawking over my shoulder as I pull it out of my vest pocket, sometimes I remove the back cover to see the movement gleaming in the sun, this is why I LOOOVE American watches, these are from the golden age of innovation and industry, and it was, in a way, a war between Swiss snobishness, who firmly promoted that any other watch but Swiss was crap, and the American watchmaking industry who were going to show them where the bear sits in the woods.
    This part of horological history is really interesting as it was literally, a war of technology between two countries.

    Either someone told me or I read it, I can’t remember, but wasn’t there something about a pocket watch Olympics between the Swiss and the US in 1903, based on various trials that PWs were put through, like hot & cold timekeeping accuracy, rough handling, being dropped from a building, length of running time etc, and the U.S. RR PWs won hands down??
    The Swiss firmly believed that 21+ jewel watches were simply American over exaggeration and that 17 jewels were sufficient, guess that changed LOL

    Paul, you don’t happen to be a Sagittarius do you, you sound exactly like me, getting bored quickly 😆 Like you, the only things that I’ve ever maintained an interest in, all my life are my hobbies, which I always return to after picking at many other brief interests..

    Thank guys,

    Chris

    #55250
    mahlon
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 28
    • Total Posts: 215

    Hey Chris, my story is a lot like Paul’s. I started out in construction, almost 40 years ago. My wife and I would go to garage sales and small auctions on the weekend, buy old beat up furniture, bring it home, refinish it, and furnish our house. Once I became a cabinet maker, we graduated into buying antiques, restoring them and then reselling them (at least I would resell them) :) . About 20 years ago, 4 back surgeries, and too many operations on my legs to count, I was told that I had to retire. At 36 that was not an option, so we opened an antique restoration business, as kinda a hobby,or to get me out of my wifes hair. When E-bay came along, I noticed clocks did pretty well, so I started picking them up, when I could buy them cheep enough. We would refinish the cases, then sell them on E-bay. I bought a Trade mark clock, and a friend showed me how to put it in to beat. After that I could sell most of the clocks we found as working 🙄 . Since then I have wanted to know how to really fix one. I Now have a dozen or so clock of my own to work on an practice. I am hoping to get to the point that I can quit doing the big furniture and just do clocks. We do anywhere from 100 to 300 hundred pieces of furniture a year and I am getting too old to lift some of this stuff 😥 As far as collecting goes, we collect a little bit of everything. I lean toward clocks, toys, marbles., my wife, anything heavy 😥 As for the Trade mark, it has been running ever since my friend put it in beat almost 20 years ago. The movement was dirty when I got it, and it has not been cleand yet. Oh I did give it a good shot of WD40, when I first bought it

    #55251
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    @Chris Mabbott wrote:

    Paul, you don’t happen to be a Sagittarius do you, you sound exactly like me, getting bored quickly 😆 Like you, the only things that I’ve ever maintained an interest in, all my life are my hobbies, which I always return to after picking at many other brief interests..

    Thank guys,

    Chris

    Chris, for what its worth I am an Aries, I dont like to lose at anything!
    Yep, as you stated above I do exactly the same, the only consistent hobby is fishing, then we have – Stamp collecting, playing the bass guitar, photography (film and digital), record collecting and home hi-fi, metal detecting, model railways etc…. at the moment it is stamp collecting but it wont last and then I will switch to one of my other hobbies or even take up something new if I ever find anything else interesting.
    Horology is also a hobby, I am just very fortunate that I can make a living from it, it means I dont ever have to do another days work in my life :)

    Mahlon, I collect marbles too but I sold my victorian hand blown collection a while back to pay for some lathe collets.

    #55252
    mahlon
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 28
    • Total Posts: 215

    Paul, There is nothing like finding rare indian swirl, and watching everybody slobber over it 😆 Mahlon

    #55253
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Great stories guys, life is funny and leads us up and down the winding road to……here :)

    Paul, I’ve spent more hours on watches, hunting for parts, looking for new ones etc.. than anything else I’ve done, whereas it isn’t considered “physical” work per se, it is definitely time consuming and rewarding. I’ve had the same thought go through my head that this is waay too much fun to be work 😆

    mahlon, I started out in underground mining where I stayed for 24yrs before discovering the light.. i.e. the power industry :-) Fortunately I got out with all of my digits intact. Now I take on a few projects a year, just enough to eat and keep the lights on, then I fiddle with our little mechanical friends and go to markets.
    I suppose I wrongly thought, yrs ago, that I would be on the ancient Egyptian retirement plan, work until you drop, then they throw your carcass into the pyramid foundation :?

    I’m enjoying hearing your tales, wish we had some ale..

    Chris

    #55254
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    As far as watches go I guess I have the usual collection of pocket and wrist watches that everyone else has. In 1971 I bought a UNIMAT and every attachment that I could get my hands on which includes the threading attachment and the thread drums with the followers. About a year later I bought a second UNIMAT used from a friend who was making pedal steel guitars at the time and needed a bigger machine. I then bought a 12″ ATLAS which I later sold and a 6″ ATLAS which I restored back to new condition and then later sold. Then another friend who owned a dental lab sold a watchmaker lathe (BOLEY) to me for $25.00 that I restored and still have. Over the years I have been buying and restoring watchmaker lathes both WW and Geneva style and now have over 50 machines. I plan to sell them in my later years but I want to offer them as kits in wooden boxes with accessories.
    My brush with watchmaking came fairly recently in my life when I enrolled in the TIME ZONE WATCHMAKING SCHOOL and took all three courses. The head instructer there was a typical lab coat type who believed in a top down approach to watch repair instruction. When I enrolled in this program it fit my personalty better as this is an exchange of ideas program. By the way, thank you Bob for setting it up this way
    I have a small machine shop and am able to make some of the parts and accessories with the equipment I currently have. The next major machine on my wish list is a 6 x 18 surface grinder but only time will tell if I ever get one. Anyway that is my collection.
    david

    #55255
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    David thanks for posting your interesting story, I type this as I pick myself up from the floor where I fell after reading about your 50 lathes, WOW
    Have you posted a group shot of your babies? I would love to see them all lined up 😮

    I have two which I cleaned up and serviced and I’ve been thinking about having a couple of nice oak boxes made for them by a carpenter friend, after i finish collecting a few more attachments, it never ends :?

    I was thing about getting a unimat at one time but I was put off by comment that they were too large for watch work, regardless I like the look of them and attachments seem readily available..

    Chris

    #55256
    david pierce
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 90
    • Total Posts: 1360

    Chris,
    I have most of them stored on three shelves and did photograph them. My camera has color temperature compensation but I do not have the proper software to process the data from the camera. The camera also has a point and shoot format that the software will take and I took a few pictures (without the color temperature compensation) of my Unitron microscope and Bergeon lathe which I sent to Bob. The other machines are on three shelves in my machine shop and I will have to buy another computer program or change the lighting situation to photograph them. I will get them out there when I can get to it but my time is very tight at the moment. Maby Bob will post the pictures I sent to him up here or shoot them over to you on your emai.
    david

    #55257
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Hi guys,
    Sure will David. I’ll re-size and post them a little later today. I just arrived in Santa Barbara late last night so after the dust settles a bit this morning I’ll jump on the pics. I also have a lot of catching up to do reading all of the forum posts! You’re gonna love both the lathe and the scope Chris!
    Bob

    #55258
    Bob Tascione
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 38
    • Total Posts: 1552

    Here are the pics.
    Adios and enjoy!
    Bob



    #55259
    randy
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 39
    • Total Posts: 594

    Niiiiice lathe!!

    Chris,..here’s my story…

    Here we go,

    I’m 58 years old.
    My father was a WWII veteran who went through the Bulova school.
    He stayed in the profession for only a few years. He never said why he left it, but I think he got bored. A lot of vets are adrenaline junkies and need to have exciting jobs after their stint in the service. So he went into law enforcement, and rose through the ranks. Chief/FBI, etc.etc.

    He passed away over 20 years ago, before I got a chance to learn much from him. My bothers and I would get in trouble when we were younger getting into the movements /tools that he had hidden away.
    I’m always restoring something, and about 4 years ago I was trying to think of a retirement job that I could learn, where I didn’t have to spend my life in a garage working on old cars, firearms, etc., as I have in the past.

    It’s warmer in my atelier…..

    So I asked my mom if I could have all of his stuff, and she said of course.
    So I bought the Chicago school course, Bob’s course, and of course the Bulova materials. Freid, DeCarle, Daniels sit in my bookcase as well.
    I’ve been doing a slow, piece by piece business until I retire, learning a lot from some very talented and wonderful folks..many of them on this site.
    I love being able to untangle hairsprings ( not all, but getting better every time), restoring / conserving heirlooms for friends / clients. I’m always looking to upgrade tools as my money permits, to enhance the overall experience.

    I don’t collect a bunch of watches..they seem to move in/out of my possession as I get bored with them,..need money for another tool, etc.

    I’ve had , or have Curvex’s, Hamiltons, a very sweet Waltham Maximus in 14k, Elgins, Omegas.
    I have my great, great grandfather’s Elgin PW, and it’s still near new condition.

    Today I’m wearing a nice Hamilton Trent, circa ’55 ( my birth year).

    It just keeps getting better

    All the best

    Randy

    #55260
    chris mabbott
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 119
    • Total Posts: 1525

    Nice story Randy, it’s like your father paved the way for your hobby, there you go son :)
    I’ve heard many people talk about the Chicago watchmaking school, are the text books still available and would you recommend it?

    Well, I’ve had two battles with trying to unwind hairsprings, I lost both of them, I think I may still have the photos 😆

    Bob, I’M JELLO, beautiful lathe/scope set-up 😯 David, only 49 photos to go 😆

    Thanks for posting guys I’m enjoying these stories, keep em coming..

    Chris

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chris mabbottWhat Do You All Collect & Why?