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Anyone affordable around anymore???

collectingfool

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I realize by looking at a lot of these threads that many here love to work on their own clocks. I too would love to work on my own clocks but I know myself and after some disastrous attempts I know i don't have the patience or finesse to work on clocks or watches myself. So, is there anyone left that does decent work for a reasonable price? I'm in the NYC area so I know I'm at a disadvantage here. I know two people who are still willing to work on older pieces, one is 87 and the other told me she's thinking of retiring in a year. Many times I bring a clock I feel the cost is not worth it as I'm not collecting very high end pieces. Are there any alternatives for someone like me in this area? I've got about 5 pieces I'd love to have worked on. What are my chances of finding someone I can deal with?
 

MARK A. BUTTERWORTH

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If you are capable of removing the works from the case and reinstalling it there are a number of folks who advertise in the MART and you would not be confined to that geographic area. There are likely a number of folks on the list who would take on your work. Once the movement is removed and properly packed it can be shipped anywhere.
 

collectingfool

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Thank you for your responses. Removing the movements might not be an issue, I mainly like pocket watches and miniature clocks. As for what I consider fair pricing, I'm not 100% sure but I do know that when I bring in a pocket watch that is worth about $250 and the estimate is $250-$300 it's not feasible. Same thing with smaller clocks, $250 for a cleaning doesn't work when the thing isn't worth that much. Either I need to find a cheaper alternative or I need to start buying more expensive pieces!
 

shutterbug

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Or you need to learn how to fix them yourself. Those of us in the business charge be the hour for the most part. In my area, $250 - $300 will get you a complete service on a two train clock. A three train would not be a lot higher. Watches? More.
 

Talyinka

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The problem with these rising prices rally lies with the local butcher. Getting decent beef fillet for a fiver a kilo is getting increasingly difficult... ;-)
 

David S

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I agree with Shutterbug, unless you really know that you aren't cut out for servicing clocks, you could learn to repair your own.

Other than that, find a good repair person that does this for a hobby and doesn't need to cover overheads and make a living repairing.

David
 

Tom McIntyre

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The Getty Museum in West Los Angeles has a marvelous collection of French Bulle clocks and none of them are running. They could certainly afford to have them running, but they are more concerned for preservation than an authentic display of the technology.

At the other extreme, I have a number of $40 tp $60 Connecticut kitchen clocks that I do not keep running. I also have a fairly large collection of inexpensive watches that I do not have running. These silent timepieces are essentially documents. I can study and "read" them without seeing them operate.

If the value of the item does not justify its maintenance then you must want it for study and/or reflection on the passage of time. Perhaps one day these things will have appreciated in value, but I think that is unlikely in real terms. My kitchen clocks were bought 30 to 40 years ago at about the price they currently bring (or perhaps a bit more back then). Given inflation that represents a real loss of at least 50% of their value.

I am more interested in watches than I am in clocks and the view that non-running items are historical documentation works well in that case. You can collect a lot of broken loose movements for relatively little money. If you want one or two to show friends you can put your funds into buying and upgrading those and keeping them in good order. Effectively the cost of the maintenance can be spread over the entire collection since one running example can demonstrate a dozen non-running examples.

If you love watches and clocks and the technology and history of horology in general, as I do, you can get a lot of pleasure out of a fairly modest budget.
 

lpbp

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Just be careful, there are several repair persons, that hang out a sign saying they are professional, been in business for years etc., who are practicing dunk and swish and use punches to close holes, or Rathburn bushings or screw-in, some even resort to just spraying it with WD-40, and saying it's cleaned and oiled.
 

David S

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Larry I think you bring up a good point. Not the spraying with WD-40, but charging based on ones experience and expertise.

As one whom is learning without a mentor or overseer, I figure that I can't charge as much while I am learning on their ticket. On the one hand I have done some neat repairs that I am very proud of, and yet there are others that I knew that more practice was required.

I always let the customer know where I think I am in my learning curve, and let them know if they are not satisfied with what I have done I will fix it for free (or at least try to) or refund their money.

My customers who don't have much $$ to spend on their clocks understand this. They get what they pay for. And I don't mean that I will do shoddy work for low pay, but rather I understand that due to my level of experience, that I may get a recall.

David
 

R. Croswell

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...... As for what I consider fair pricing, I'm not 100% sure but I do know that when I bring in a pocket watch that is worth about $250 and the estimate is $250-$300 it's not feasible. Same thing with smaller clocks, $250 for a cleaning doesn't work when the thing isn't worth that much. Either I need to find a cheaper alternative or I need to start buying more expensive pieces!
I'm afraid that's just the way it is. One way to look at it is if you invest $250 to have a clock repaired then it is now worth $250 more than it was before you had it fixed, or it wasn't worth fixing in the first place. I'm just curious, but you seem to be saying that you think it is OK for one to charge more to repair a valuable clock than to repair an inexpensive clock? If that is correct, then why would you think that the clockmaker's time is worth less when performing the same task on a cheap clock, when in fact, "cheap" clocks are often more time consuming to repair than better made clocks?

RC
 

Randy Beckett

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........... when in fact, "cheap" clocks are often more time consuming to repair than better made clocks?

RC
Good point, and so true. Case in point is the Korean clocks we talked about recently.
 

collectingfool

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I'm not saying the clockmaker's time is worth less, just that it's not worth it to me to spend that much on a cheaper clock. I don't know if the prices I'm hearing are because of the overhead of having a shop in NYC or because of the time involved. Don't know if it's regional as I know most things are more expensive here or if it's a standard hourly rate for this type of work. I wouldn't take a beat up VW to a guy that specializes in Rolls Royces because his rate would be prohibitive. Just trying to find out if there's an alternative to the Rolls guy in my area. Hope that's clearer.
 

harold bain

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Well, certainly anyone with the expense of a storefront must charge more for his overhead. Perhaps if you join the NAWCC, and go to local chapter meetings you will be able to network with fellows who work out of their home and can afford to charge less.
 
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leeinv66

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I'm not saying the clockmaker's time is worth less, just that it's not worth it to me to spend that much on a cheaper clock. I don't know if the prices I'm hearing are because of the overhead of having a shop in NYC or because of the time involved. Don't know if it's regional as I know most things are more expensive here or if it's a standard hourly rate for this type of work. I wouldn't take a beat up VW to a guy that specializes in Rolls Royces because his rate would be prohibitive. Just trying to find out if there's an alternative to the Rolls guy in my area. Hope that's clearer.
You haven't mentioned any pricing that would be close to what a Rolls Guy would charge. The pricing you have mentioned is what the average repairer would charge. If you decide that is more than your clock is worth, then the only options you have is to do it yourself or not have it repaired. That's just the economic truth.
 

bangster

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AFFORDABLE?
RC and Peter are exactly on the right track.

Asking whether the cost of repair is less than the cost of replacement is asking the wrong question. In my experience, customers almost never ask, "would it be cheaper to buy a new clock than to have this one fixed?" And they would be insulted if they were told, "Look, you can buy one on Amazon for less than I'll charge you to fix this one. Junk this one and replace it ."

Those who bring me clocks have an investment in THAT clock. The market worth of the clock isn't their concern. They know they can get something that will tell time just as well, at Wal-Mart, for $19.95. A client has never asked me, "Would it be cheaper for me to buy a new clock than to have you fix this one?" If one did, I would say, "Yes it would. Please do that, and stop taking up my time."
 

MartinM

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Then there are the guys who buy stripped or abused flea market clocks for a couple of bucks, think they'll be worth twice what they really are when fixed, that you'll repair/restore it for half your rate and refuse to realize they won't be making any money on this thing who try and drag you into their mistake.
 

Albert Antonelli

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Worth is a question I have been trying to figure out for a long time. I get people who ask me all that is wrong with my grandfather's clock, it strikes the hour 1 o' clock at all the hours but, it runs well and chimes the quarters and keeps time, I ask how long since the last professional work and the answer is never, I have had it for 25 years, these kind of people are cheep and tighter than a set mainspring. Anyone who asks how much, or is it worth it, is shopping around and only wasting your time, I send them on their way, if you get junk then the customer want you to put a tuxedo on a PIG. My two cents worth. Al
 

R. Croswell

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Don't know if it's regional as I know most things are more expensive here or if it's a standard hourly rate for this type of work. I wouldn't take a beat up VW to a guy that specializes in Rolls Royces because his rate would be prohibitive. Just trying to find out if there's an alternative to the Rolls guy in my area. Hope that's clearer.
One who can afford a Rolls does not need to be concerned about the cost of service. (I heard of a fellow once who had his Rolls in to have a broken axle repaired and when he returned to pick up the car and asked for the bill the manager said, "Sir, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your car, Roles axles simply do not break" so there was no charge at all for the new axle and installation.) Back to reality, if you took that beat up VW to the VW dealer for service the hourly rate you would pay, at least in my area, would be at least $85 per hour - perhaps more in NYC. For a typical clock tear down, cleaning, and a little pivot and bushing work, actual hours spent x $85 = a lot more than the $250.

As for other alternatives, One that has not been mentioned is to collect only those clocks that one feels are worth the cost of proper maintenance. One still needs to do one's homework and shop around. Higher prices do not always mean better work.

RC
 

R. Croswell

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Worth is a question I have been trying to figure out for a long time. I get people who ask me all that is wrong with my grandfather's clock, it strikes the hour 1 o' clock at all the hours but, it runs well and chimes the quarters and keeps time, I ask how long since the last professional work and the answer is never, I have had it for 25 years, these kind of people are cheep and tighter than a set mainspring. Anyone who asks how much, or is it worth it, is shopping around and only wasting your time, I send them on their way, if you get junk then the customer want you to put a tuxedo on a PIG. My two cents worth. Al
The best definition of "worth" that I have heard as it pertains to material objects like antiques and clocks is that it is worth whatever someone is willing to pay on the day your are selling it. I don't mind someone asking for an estimate to have their clock serviced, in fact if they don't ask, I will give them an estimate anyway so there will be no surprises. If they want to shop around and think they can have the work done elsewhere for less $$$ then that's fine with me. I'm probably better off without their business. What "gets under my skin" is when someone comes in with a piece of junk and proceeds to tell me what's wrong with it and how much I should charge.........don't let the door hit you in the backside on the way out!

RC
 

AndyDWA

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Not that I've paid anyone to repair a clock, nor do I repair them for others, but I guess if you want one to run properly and can't do it yourself then it's a bit like having a clunker of a car - you just have to pay someone else to repair and maintain it for you. But the total cost of motor vehicle repairs and maintenance (and fuel and tyres, etc) will always be way above the resale value of such a vehicle.

If the clocks have no sentimental value, you may be better off selling them and buying something that already runs. If they do have sentimental value, then the monetary value could be irrelevant.


Then there are the guys who buy stripped or abused flea market clocks for a couple of bucks, think they'll be worth twice what they really are when fixed, ...
Huh? You mean it doesn't work like that?!!

Well, there goes my retirement plan.
 

Randy Beckett

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Nowadays, clock repair is just a trade that provides a service that is optional for the normal, daily, carrying-ons in peoples lives. Most other skill trades provide services that are not optional (mechanics, plumbers, a/c technicians, etc.). I guess that is why many people view the cost as high. And most have no idea how time consuming the work is.

I know I work slow, but it probably averages me a day per clock. More times than not, what I expect to be a 2 or 3 hour job, turns out to be 4 to 8, or more. Always seems to be some kind of unexpected TROUBLE, that sets you back. So, you estimate your work based on a 40+ hour rate, and in the end, make half that, or less. Everyone should be expected to make a decent days pay for a days work.
 

john e

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What is needed is a clock repair "maker space". A location where kids can learn how to bolster their manual dexterity skills while also challenging them mentally as to how physical things work. Machining, lathes, broaching, there are so many things to challenge a mechanical mind. Having a repair service centered around that would help reduce the cost to those who can't spend that much, and the kids could actually earn some money. Course, details like how to not run afoul of child labor laws come to mind. The instructors can never earn an income from it.

I taught a 12 year old grandchild how to completely disassemble, re-assemble, and phase a korean knockoff mantel clock movement in 90 minutes. (minus the springs of course).

While that was 6 years ago, and he'll never do it again, it's a set of understandings that he may take with him in some other endeavor after college.

These kids need challenges, time to get out of the Iphone and into the real Iworld. Us old guys need to set these kids on the path of mechanical learning.

John
 

john e

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More times than not, what I expect to be a 2 or 3 hour job, turns out to be 4 to 8, or more. Always seems to be some kind of unexpected TROUBLE, that sets you back.
So true. When my wife asks me how long to do a job, plumbing, electrical, roofing, sheet-rock, tiling, appliance repair, even clocks..I give her what I believe to be a good time estimate.

She then doubles it.

She's always right..drives me nuts..

John
 

harold bain

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So true. When my wife asks me how long to do a job, plumbing, electrical, roofing, sheet-rock, tiling, appliance repair, even clocks..I give her what I believe to be a good time estimate.

She then doubles it.

She's always right..drives me nuts..

John

You can count on it taking twice as long if your wife helps. Or if she continues talking while you work:whistle:
 

Tinker Dwight

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Not to beat on Colectingfool but to charge less would mean
to do less.
One needs to cover overhead, materials, equipment and wages.
As was mentioned, cheaper movements often need more work
and often cost more to repair.
If you only consider resale value, things are often not worth
getting fixed.
Tinker Dwight
 

R. Croswell

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What is needed is a clock repair "maker space". A location where kids can learn how to bolster their manual dexterity skills while also challenging them mentally as to how physical things work. Machining, lathes, broaching, there are so many things to challenge a mechanical mind. Having a repair service centered around that would help reduce the cost to those who can't spend that much, and the kids could actually earn some money. Course, details like how to not run afoul of child labor laws come to mind. The instructors can never earn an income from it.

I taught a 12 year old grandchild how to completely disassemble, re-assemble, and phase a korean knockoff mantel clock movement in 90 minutes. (minus the springs of course).

While that was 6 years ago, and he'll never do it again, it's a set of understandings that he may take with him in some other endeavor after college.

These kids need challenges, time to get out of the Iphone and into the real Iworld. Us old guys need to set these kids on the path of mechanical learning.

John
It is amazing what some kids could do if we just give them a chance and stop trying to overprotect them and do everything for them. I had to learn bicycle repair as a kid if I wanted to ride, had to learn to fix radios because I couldn't afford to by one that worked, had to learn car and small engine repair for the same reason. Started a radio repair business before I was old enough to drive a car, and my bicycle shop helped pay my way through college. My mom was always afraid I would get too dirty, cut, burned, or electrocuted but that didn't happen so by the time I 15 she got over it. Our public education system comes up wanting in the area of vocational training. There is probably no justification for training a large bunch of young clockmakers for some of the reasons just discussed - most "ordinary" clocks have less "value" than what it costs to fix them considering overhead, taxes, and all the state and federal locations that stand in the way of earning a decent profit margin. Perhaps one solution would be more vocational training in middle/high schools focusing on general mechanical skills and machine shop practices. Students might be given a variety of mechanical (or electrical) devices to learn from. If one has a good set of transferable skills one can pick up clock repair fairly easily. While I enjoy the work as a "second retirement occupation" I think it would be challenging to earn a good middle class living today except in a few select market areas.

RC
 

shutterbug

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You might also find some clock class instructors, and offer your movement as a "trainer". Under close supervision, it would likely be repaired successfully by a trainee, and would not likely cost much. Usually they have to take their own movement, but if one were available, someone might do it as a "second" experience.
 

john e

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and my bicycle shop....
Ah, building and truing wheels and re-assembling freewheels without getting a bazillion little ball bearings on the floor while wrestling with the pawls (clicks for you clock guys)... Those were the days.

My mom was always afraid I would get too dirty, cut, burned, or electrocuted..
Car stopped short on me one time while riding, my chin met the trunk. When I got home, walked in with so much blood on my shirt it looked like I ran afoul of a chain saw, she just looked up and said hi, then returned to her ceramics. Her students looked like they were gonna faint. Mom was clearly a "ten fingers, ten toes, you're good" kinda person.

While I enjoy the work as a "second retirement occupation" I think it would be challenging to earn a good middle class living today except in a few select market areas.

RC
Agreed. There's very few in the area here, I think it would be difficult setting up a clock school for teens without impacting the local repairmen trying to make an honest living. But we've got to get the kids using their minds and hands somehow.

John
 
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john e

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You might also find some clock class instructors, and offer your movement as a "trainer". Under close supervision, it would likely be repaired successfully by a trainee, and would not likely cost much. Usually they have to take their own movement, but if one were available, someone might do it as a "second" experience.
We do that here at the museum. A stipend is charged, it goes to the guild, we'll buy tools and supplies with it.

The problem is, all the trainee's are older than I am. Sigh..

John
 

Styrofoam_Guy

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I cannot afford to pay someone else to repair the clocks I am buying so I try and do the repairs myself.

I joined the local NAWCC and these forums are great for advice on repairs and trouble shooting problems.

I also purchase clocks that do not work so they are cheaper than working clocks. Get some junk clocks that don't work and play with them to get a better understanding of what is needed to fix/ service them. I don't have all the tools yet but I am slowly getting them when I can find them at good deals.
 

collectingfool

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First, thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. I do appreciate it.

Secondly, it seems I hit a nerve with some. Guess I'm cheap (judging by the responses) to have the nerve to ask how much something costs to fix. I do OK but I can't afford to give someone a blank check on a repair. My "Rolls" analogy was just to make a point, wasn't saying my local people were charging as much as a Rolls Royce shop. Whatever, most of you knew what I meant, I guess for some this is a sore subject.

Finally, I don't buy clocks that don't work intentionally to get them "on the cheap". I buy items at auction that worked when I tested them in preview then stop working a few days after I get them home. Another scenario is I'll buy a lot with 5 clocks and the one most interesting to me isn't working (just happened to me Tuesday). I would love nothing more than to work on it myself but my fat arthritic fingers are not good for the fine work required. I've lost too many parts trying. I understand the whole argument of having a clock that doesn't work as a "historical document" but for my personal taste the clock needs to work.

Thank you all again. Whether you were responding or "beating me up" I appreciate the information and learning more about the hobby.

Ruben
 

Tinker Dwight

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When I hear that a clock that was working quits in 5 days,
I have to think the unscrupulous seller may have sprayed
a solvent into a warn out clock. It reduces the friction of
teeth that are not properly depth because of bushing wear.
The clock will run until the solvent dries.
If you buy a working clock, you should always get some
guarantee. Also, a valid contact information.
If you are paying for a working clock, the seller should be
willing to stand behind it for at least 6 months minimum.
Tinker Dwight
 

leeinv66

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First, thanks to everyone who took the time to respond. I do appreciate it.

Secondly, it seems I hit a nerve with some. Guess I'm cheap (judging by the responses) to have the nerve to ask how much something costs to fix. I do OK but I can't afford to give someone a blank check on a repair. My "Rolls" analogy was just to make a point, wasn't saying my local people were charging as much as a Rolls Royce shop. Whatever, most of you knew what I meant, I guess for some this is a sore subject.

Finally, I don't buy clocks that don't work intentionally to get them "on the cheap". I buy items at auction that worked when I tested them in preview then stop working a few days after I get them home. Another scenario is I'll buy a lot with 5 clocks and the one most interesting to me isn't working (just happened to me Tuesday). I would love nothing more than to work on it myself but my fat arthritic fingers are not good for the fine work required. I've lost too many parts trying. I understand the whole argument of having a clock that doesn't work as a "historical document" but for my personal taste the clock needs to work.

Thank you all again. Whether you were responding or "beating me up" I appreciate the information and learning more about the hobby.

Ruben
We are not trying to beat you up Ruben, we are just trying to let you know that the prices you are quoting are not out of the norm. Don't worry I'm cheap too;). The reason I learned clock repair is I couldn't afford to pay a professional to do the repairs for me. And, the clocks I wanted repaired were not worth half of what the repairs would have cost. I started at this hobby about 40 years ago, so the economics of it haven't changed as far as I can see.
 

Fitzclan

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We do that here at the museum. A stipend is charged, it goes to the guild, we'll buy tools and supplies with it.

The problem is, all the trainee's are older than I am. Sigh..

John
Hey John,
What museum are you talking about? I live on the east end but I am not aware of any clock museum besides the one in Bristol Ct. (Great place to visit btw).
Thanks -Duncan
 

R. Croswell

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We are not trying to beat you up Ruben, we are just trying to let you know that the prices you are quoting are not out of the norm. Don't worry I'm cheap too;). The reason I learned clock repair is I couldn't afford to pay a professional to do the repairs for me. And, the clocks I wanted repaired were not worth half of what the repairs would have cost. I started at this hobby about 40 years ago, so the economics of it haven't changed as far as I can see.
Well put - same exact story here. Not beating up on anyone. I'm as cheap as the next guy, maybe cheaper. Sure, I ask what it will cost when I hire someone to repair something, that's good business. Yes, I may get a price from more than one contractor or shop, how else would one know what the going market price for that service is? But it does indeed "hit a nerve" when someone brings in a piece of junk and expects me to perform the same quality service requiring the same or more time at a lower rate simply because the item IS a cheap piece or junk or otherwise not worth the cost of the repair. Business is business and charity is charity - there is a place in this world for both.

RC
 

doug sinclair

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Generally,my hose of us that pursue an endeavour want as much money as we can get for what we do. So, it should be different with clock repair people?
 

collectingfool

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We are not trying to beat you up Ruben, we are just trying to let you know that the prices you are quoting are not out of the norm.
I wasn't being sensitive, I was quoting one of the responses that said they didn't want to beat up on me more. Whether harshly worded or not, I appreciate all the responses. While I've been buying for a while I've only recently started getting things repaired so the education in that end of things is a big help.
 

Glenn Davis

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The Getty Museum in West Los Angeles has a marvelous collection of French Bulle clocks and none of them are running. They could certainly afford to have them running, but they are more concerned for preservation than an authentic display of the technology.

At the other extreme, I have a number of $40 tp $60 Connecticut kitchen clocks that I do not keep running. I also have a fairly large collection of inexpensive watches that I do not have running. These silent timepieces are essentially documents. I can study and "read" them without seeing them operate.

If the value of the item does not justify its maintenance then you must want it for study and/or reflection on the passage of time. Perhaps one day these things will have appreciated in value, but I think that is unlikely in real terms. My kitchen clocks were bought 30 to 40 years ago at about the price they currently bring (or perhaps a bit more back then). Given inflation that represents a real loss of at least 50% of their value.

I am more interested in watches than I am in clocks and the view that non-running items are historical documentation works well in that case. You can collect a lot of broken loose movements for relatively little money. If you want one or two to show friends you can put your funds into buying and upgrading those and keeping them in good order. Effectively the cost of the maintenance can be spread over the entire collection since one running example can demonstrate a dozen non-running examples.

If you love watches and clocks and the technology and history of horology in general, as I do, you can get a lot of pleasure out of a fairly modest budget.
I'm starting to see this point of view Tom. I got into collecting over a year ago and have had a blast learning from each and every purchase. I taught myself how to diagnose whats wrong with most watches now and I will forever be in the learning how to repair side. I have found out that on some watches parts have become very hard to source or the cost would be to high to justify purchasing. I have now resigned myself to the fact that I will keep some watches in my collection that simply will never run. Out of the 40 or so I've bought over the first year I was able to get all but 2 of the dead ones to at least tick. Getting them to keep great time is a whole different story. I have enjoyed bringing them back to life. I love to reinstall the balance cock and all the sudden the balance wheel comes to life. Nothing quite like that feeling. I will continue to do this as a hobby but investing more in a $200 watch than what it's worth just to get it ticking just doesn't make sense to me. Now- if I had tons of extra money sitting around to pay a watchmaker $200 to clean and oil all my collection I would do it but most of us do not.
So- I wonder how many agree with Tom and I about having some watches that don't have to run. In reality most of us do not carry our pocket watches daily we just pick them up occasionally and look them over and admire them. Does it really have to run? I will continue to buy running and non-running and will always try to get them to run but now if I see the cost will be to high it will become a non-running example. I see nothing wrong with that but I can understand if this would drive some crazy.
 

David S

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Glenn I think Tom brought up an interesting view that I hadn't considered before. It seems perfectly sensible to keep something original and preserve it rather than having a hack job or cut rate if one can't afford, or simply decides to conserve as is and not running.

So for me it is not so much an agreement, but rather like so many things on this forum, just accepting another point of view.

I only work on clocks and people bring clocks to me because they want them to work. Having said that I know a few that after I got them working, folks couldn't be bothered winding them any more, especially 30 hour movements.

I will use Tom's explanation when suggesting alternatives to people that have a number of clocks and can't afford to have them all repaired.

David
 

R. Croswell

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I'm starting to see this point of view Tom. I got into collecting over a year ago and have had a blast learning from each and every purchase. I taught myself how to diagnose whats wrong with most watches now and I will forever be in the learning how to repair side. I have found out that on some watches parts have become very hard to source or the cost would be to high to justify purchasing. I have now resigned myself to the fact that I will keep some watches in my collection that simply will never run. Out of the 40 or so I've bought over the first year I was able to get all but 2 of the dead ones to at least tick. Getting them to keep great time is a whole different story. I have enjoyed bringing them back to life. I love to reinstall the balance cock and all the sudden the balance wheel comes to life. Nothing quite like that feeling. I will continue to do this as a hobby but investing more in a $200 watch than what it's worth just to get it ticking just doesn't make sense to me. Now- if I had tons of extra money sitting around to pay a watchmaker $200 to clean and oil all my collection I would do it but most of us do not.
So- I wonder how many agree with Tom and I about having some watches that don't have to run. In reality most of us do not carry our pocket watches daily we just pick them up occasionally and look them over and admire them. Does it really have to run? I will continue to buy running and non-running and will always try to get them to run but now if I see the cost will be to high it will become a non-running example. I see nothing wrong with that but I can understand if this would drive some crazy.
Makes perfect sense to me. I have a watch that was my uncle's so it means something to me but I have NO knowledge about fixing a watch and ain't even going to try. I have no idea what it would cost to get it fixed but I'm pretty sure I can't afford it so it is just resting in it's little box.

RC
 

leeinv66

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Just to get a little off track, I have to say the thing I hate most is seeing broken machinery of any type on display. Especially when it would take a minimum amount of work to have it operational. For me, the conservation argument is fine when it comes to the Arts and such, but it doesn't stand up when it comes to machinery. A time piece is designed and built for a specific purpose. That purpose is to measure and display time continuously (I specify continuously because even most broken clocks tell the correct time twice a day:). However, once it is unable to complete that task, it ceases to be a time piece. But, that's just my view ;)
 

R. Croswell

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Just to get a little off track, I have to say the thing I hate most is seeing broken machinery of any type on display. Especially when it would take a minimum amount of work to have it operational. For me, the conservation argument is fine when it comes to the Arts and such, but it doesn't stand up when it comes to machinery. A time piece is designed and built for a specific purpose. That purpose is to measure and display time continuously (I specify continuously because even most broken clocks tell the correct time twice a day:). However, once it is unable to complete that task, it ceases to be a time piece. But, that's just my view ;)
Just wondering how you would regard a clock/timepiece that is able to run and keep time but is not being kept wound being on display. At one time I tried to keep all my clocks running, now I wind about 3 dozen regularly and the others that are in running order get wound occasionally. The ones that are not in running order are in "the waiting room" of the clockspital.

RC
 

leeinv66

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Just wondering how you would regard a clock/timepiece that is able to run and keep time but is not being kept wound being on display. At one time I tried to keep all my clocks running, now I wind about 3 dozen regularly and the others that are in running order get wound occasionally. The ones that are not in running order are in "the waiting room" of the clockspital.

RC
I'm fine with them not running as long as they are capable of running RC. I have over 100 clocks. All are in running condition, but I only run a dozen or so at any one time.
 

Kevin W.

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I work very cheap in fact too cheap. rarely do i turn a job down. I have quite a few clocks and most can or could run with some repair or work on them.
I dont get much work, but i dont advertise much, i have a FB page as my repair page, did advertise on Kijiji but never found work there either. maybe when i retire it will improve for me.
 

collectingfool

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Just to get a little off track, I have to say the thing I hate most is seeing broken machinery of any type on display.
Not off track at all Peter, I feel the same way. As a matter of fact, it's that type of thinking that was the root cause of my starting this thread in the first place.
 

shutterbug

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I work very cheap in fact too cheap. rarely do i turn a job down. I have quite a few clocks and most can or could run with some repair or work on them.
I dont get much work, but i dont advertise much, i have a FB page as my repair page, did advertise on Kijiji but never found work there either. maybe when i retire it will improve for me.
Try the Yellow Pages. Not cheap, but it does bring in customers. Find a business name that starts with "A" :)
 

doug sinclair

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I can recall a time when modesty led me to charge very modest prices. Problem! The busier I got, the more it occurred to me that I could realize more dollars doing fewer repairs by raising my prices, and to have the time available to pursue other interests. Callous, I know. I don't advertise, but after decades of satisfying many customers, they advertise for me! Nowadays, when I get a cold call from someone I don't know who asks me if I repair clocks, my stock reply is "I do some clocks". When they ask what I mean, I tell them that I only do clocks that I find interesting! Callous, I know, but life is too short, and there are many things beside repairing clocks that I find rewarding. Like repairing watches!
 

JDToumanian

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In recent years I've managed to acquire some fairly valuable clocks, but for most of my years collecting I bought cheap clocks and learned to work on them myself. If I didn't do my own work, I wouldn't mind the cost of professional repair because I know how much work is involved. However my collection has reached the point where when I buy, I also sell to keep the numbers in check, and the professional upkeep of my collection would gobble up my entire salary every year. Not to mention I lack the stamina to wind them all every week. (or in some cases every day!) So most of them are just on display, and I only display them if they are complete / not broken, and could be run if I gave them service / overhaul.

One of these days I would like to get all my kitchen clocks running at one time... Overhaul one every few days for a few months. A portion of them shown below!

Jon

010m.jpg
 

topspin

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I'd like to say a big thank-you to everyone for their illuminating posts in this thread, even "beef fillet for a fiver a kilo" guy.

The next time I go visiting a museum of (say) cars, trains, planes or other machinery, I shall ask myself (or the curator if he's around) how many of the exhibits are in a condition such that they could readily be fired up and safely used as intended. I suspect the typical answer would be "not many".

Returning to clocks/watches - if I'm not planning to use it regularly then why do I need to get it running, either by fixing it myself or by paying for the repair? Good question. Perhaps I don't always need to. I guess it provides, to myself and to whoever buys or inherits it from me, a nice warm fluffy feeling that all the bits are there. So if in 50 years time someone winds it up and nothing happens, maybe just a cleaning & oiling would be sufficient to get it going again.
 
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