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Average Age of an Horologist

How old are you?

  • Under 50

    Votes: 27 21.6%
  • 50-54

    Votes: 11 8.8%
  • 55-59

    Votes: 18 14.4%
  • 60-64

    Votes: 21 16.8%
  • 65-69

    Votes: 24 19.2%
  • 70-74

    Votes: 9 7.2%
  • 75-79

    Votes: 9 7.2%
  • 80 and over

    Votes: 6 4.8%

  • Total voters
    125

David S

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Dec 18, 2011
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Check post #20 average was 61 in 2012 when I did my survey. So this seems right on.

David
 

Chris Radano

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Feb 18, 2004
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Yep. I am 46. I became a clock enthusiast rather suddenly about 13 years ago. I am the only person in my immediate circle who has an horological interest of any sort. It seems like my interest in clocks isn't waning anytime soon. Now....I will participate in the age poll!
 

doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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Nearly 46% of those who took the poll are under 69! Of the remaining 54%, the largest representative group is the 75 to 79 group (the group I'm in). Of this group, I wonder how many have gravitated to the craft after retirement, and how many started the craft at an early age (as I did). I was running my late father's jewellery store while the rest of the family was on vacation, and doing watch repairs, at age 16.
 

David S

NAWCC Member
Dec 18, 2011
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Doug you may have to start a brand new thread and poll with exactly that question. I am in the after retirement group for serious clock repair.

David
 

richiec

NAWCC Member
Feb 24, 2007
7,201
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69
Brick, Ocean, NJ
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I am the pre-retirement group, started at 53, but was in love with a family watch for about 50 years prior to that but not allowed to touch, when anyone was looking, until I inherited it when mom died when I was 36.
 

novicetimekeeper

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Jul 26, 2015
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I'm in the after retirement for collecting, I may have left it too late to learn repair I find it hard enough to see to tell the time sometimes
 

doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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I don't think another poll is actually required. I was just thinking out loud (sort of). It occurred to me that it was a bit of an interesting statistic within the poll. About 52% of those responding are over 65! And 79% are under 50! Maybe there's hope for the craft after all!
 

shutterbug

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Oct 19, 2005
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On the other hand, there is still under 50 total people represented in the poll at this point.
 

scottmiami

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May 14, 2014
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From Google:

ol·o·gy
ˈäləjē/
nouninformalhumorous

noun: ology; plural noun: ologies

  • a subject of study; a branch of knowledge.

    So, if you are studying any aspect of time, you qualify as a full horologist.

Since you put it that way..

52, for a couple more months.
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
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Calgary, Alberta
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On the other hand, there is still under 50 total people represented in the poll at this point.
What is it that has been said about some polls? Accurate to within 2% 19 times out of 20? We'll never know if the results of this poll might be applied to everyone involved in watch repair. I am certain that if this MB attracted teenagers who work in battery kiosks, many of whom who consider themselves "watchmakers", were attracted to this site and who participated in this poll, the percentages would be skewed. But I think this poll on the MB would be more representative!
 

David S

NAWCC Member
Dec 18, 2011
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Brockville, On Canada
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Unfortunately this is what is called a "self selected survey", so the results while interesting don't necessarily reflect the entire watchmaker population, just those that have bothered to participate. With thousands of views and 120 member views and only 50 participating in the poll, not really sure what it tells us.

David
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
14,363
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Calgary, Alberta
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Another variable to be considered regarding the poll. Among those who have responded, what percentage of those who replied are full time watchmakers who do this for a living, and have done so for some time. And what percentage are self taught, who do only simple repairs, and who work only on their own collections. We'll never know, but it is an interesting thread in any event.
 

David S

NAWCC Member
Dec 18, 2011
7,215
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Brockville, On Canada
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Yup I like that.

I have concentrated on clocks for about 6 years, self taught through books and NAWCC message board and lots of junk movements when I started, to practice on. I don't collect, but do have a couple that have been in the family. It is a mostly winter hobby and I repair for others. I charge for shop supplies, plus wear and tear on cutters and if I have to buy parts which is seldom, except for bushings.

David
 

PatH

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NAWCC Member
Dec 5, 2014
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Interesting question....No repairs for me. Although I've taken some NAWCC repair and restoration classes, and have read plenty of books, my primary interests continue to be collecting and research/learning across a great variety of horological topics.
 

MartyR

Registered User
Dec 16, 2008
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One aspect of this thread is actually very important. This kind of research, including all of those interesting additional questions which are being asked, is research which the NAWCC should be carrying out on a regular basis. Formulating a detailed profile of our existing members is fundamental to acquiring an understanding of our market, and oyur prospects for the future.

What this thread demonstrates is firstly how easy and cheap it is to research on the web, and secondly how simple common sense is all that is needed to formulate the research program.
 

Ted Collins

NAWCC Member
Feb 22, 2007
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An excellent question and relevant thread. This poll would seem to line up with what anyone can observe at one of the larger shows. Watch and clock collecting is an aged hobby, whatever the reason...and seems to be getting more so over time. The point was made earlier, but the reality is that antiques, in general, are becoming less attractive to the general population. There is less appreciation for quality, beauty and complexity in inanimate objects. Hopefully, that trend will level off or, perhaps, reverse, in our current throw-away society.

Also, I think there is a difference in the trend between clocks and watch collectors, particularly wrist watches. The internet, on a whole, has been good for horology, as it provides exposure to a younger demographic.

As for me, I am 63 and started to seriously collect pocket watches at age 38 or so, but was always fascinated by these unique mechanisms.

Ted
 

JDToumanian

NAWCC Member
Apr 28, 2008
199
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16
50
Phelan, CA
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I'm 43.

Too bad the poll lumps everyone younger than 50 into the same category... If it had the same divisions as the other categories, the poll results would appear as a sort of vertical graph, plotting our ages where you could better understand the result. Now, the 'under 50' category is nearly the same as '65-69'.

Jon
 

MartyR

Registered User
Dec 16, 2008
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You're quite right, Jon, and the reason for the "Under 50" category was that the person who set up the divisions (that would be me :D) has been surpised by the numbers in that category! I should have used 45-49, 40-44, and Under 40 ... and I suspect that we would have split the 12 Under-50s into three almost equal groups.

What that would then show is that the membership is very evenly spread across the age ranges, except that thre is a noticeable peak in the 65-69 category (about twice the size of any other) which might just be attributable to the typical retirement age of 65.
 

Gary H

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
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Virginia
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Interesting thread. I'm new to this board, and my focus over the years has been on collecting/restoring period furniture (including several long case clocks). But as has been noted by others, antique collecting - at least in the way I would define it - is a shadow of what it once was. I began collecting furniture when I was still in school. My wife and I put most of our free cash (and early on there wasn't much of it) into period pieces. Never thought of it as an investment - I just loved the look and feel of old wood and appreciated fine workmanship. But I did think that my collection would at some point constitute some significant part of my net worth/estate. And for many years that was true. Not so today. Values have plummeted, and younger people for the most part have little interest in collecting. I used to sell a piece in order to upgrade to something better, and almost always realized a profit on what I was selling. I've been trying to dispose of a late 18th century dining table and can't fine a private buyer or a dealer interested in it for less than a quarter of what I paid for it. Sigh.

Too new here to make any observations on clock or watch values, but from what I read the same may be true. What I can't understand is why. Fine pieces - be they furniture, watches or clocks - should have the same appeal today that they did years ago, but that certainly doesn't seem to be the case. A whole different set of values, I guess.

Gary (and 68, BTW)
 

David S

NAWCC Member
Dec 18, 2011
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Welcome Gary.

I repair clocks for people, but so far only one person has an old long case from Scotland I think. He has it insured and the whole nine yards. I have no idea of the value since that isn't my bag.

All of my other clients have unremarkable clocks and they only want them going for "sentimental" value, however they aren't willing to pay much since they think the cost of repair should somehow be related to the value of the clock.

A lot of younger folks that I know are having enough of a challenge to just make ends meet let alone collect a bunch of expensive stuff.

Who know maybe things will turn around.

David
 

Gary H

Registered User
Mar 9, 2016
8
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1
Virginia
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David,

Interesting your reference to Scottish clocks. One of my tall case clocks is a nice late-18th Century Rhode Island piece that I bought without works. About a year after I acquired the case, I stumbled on works made by Chas. Low in Arbroath. A perfect fit for my case. I know American case makers often used English or Scottish works, so it was a nice find and appropriate for the clock.

My wife's family is from Napanee, not too far from you in Brockville. I enjoy getting up there in the summers.

Best,

Gary

20160318_174743_resized.jpg
 

Fred Hansen

NAWCC Member
Aug 18, 2002
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36 for a few more months, and been collecting American pocketwatches since the age of 8 or 9 so for over 3/4 of my lifetime at this point.
 

ticktockpro

NAWCC Member
Mar 11, 2007
5
0
1
Florida
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There may be some age differences between collectors, those interested in collecting, those who do repair work and people who are interested in learning to repair clocks and watches.

I have been selling clock and watch repair courses last 15+ years. My analytics since 2007 - year to date 2016 show that the average person interested in learning clock or watch repair is 55-64. This range represents 23%. The next largest group is 45-54 representing 21%. The third largest group being 65+ represents 18%. 81% are male and 19% are female. These statistics are for the U.S. The percentages slightly vary in other countries.

The learning method used is DVD video and now online learning has been added since 12/2015. All products are only sold through the internet. Remember, these are only people who have an interest in learning clock and watch repair.

I thought you might find these stats interesting.
 

Robert Gary

NAWCC Member
Feb 26, 2003
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doug sinclair

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Aug 27, 2000
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I guess th next question might be, how long have you been involved in the servicing of watches and/or clocks? I started as an apprentice to my watchmaker father 67 years ago. And I ain't dead yet!
 

Dwindler

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Aug 29, 2016
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I voted 65-69 as with most people, but I think that's due to retirees having more free time than working individuals, so it only makes sense.
I don't think there's as much incentive to be one today as say, 50 years ago.
 

Robert Gary

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Feb 26, 2003
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Robert Gary

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Piisimuhkaan

Registered User
Sep 1, 2015
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Ottawa
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I'm a lady in my thirties. I got into clock repair two years ago. The trade has always appealed to me. I considered entering it in my teens and again in my late 20s, but had no idea how to go about it. I finally decided to pursue it, because my future was bleak. Typical employment intimidated me because of the emphasis on extroversion and social skills, which I struggle with due to my autistic foundation. Suddenly my world became larger. I was introduced to machine shop which I discovered I am quite good at and love. It fits me and my abilities. I discovered this is what I was meant to do. The trade has definitely changed my life. My friends and family have noticed, and they support me.

Making parts and tools, and fixing clocks satisfies me.
 

doug sinclair

Registered User
Aug 27, 2000
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48
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A very thoughtful post. Welcome to the trade. Success results from preparation and opportunity. And with determination, it sounds to me as though you should do well.
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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It fits me and my abilities. I discovered this is what I was meant to do. The trade has definitely changed my life. My friends and family have noticed, and they support me.

Making parts and tools, and fixing clocks satisfies me.
:) This is so good to hear.

For me, I'm only about two years back into it because the trade in Australia has not been sustainable outside the most populated areas. It warms my heart to hear your story.

My grandchilden visited me at my workbench yesterday and the shop owner told them, "Your grandfather is one of a unique few. We are lucky to have him".
 

roughbarked

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Dec 2, 2016
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I guess th next question might be, how long have you been involved in the servicing of watches and/or clocks? I started as an apprentice to my watchmaker father 67 years ago. And I ain't dead yet!
I'm not even that old. wow. Some serious years of experience there. I started at age 17. Didn't otherwise know what to do with myself and an apprenticeship came up. As I've stated elsewhere, this was only a year and a half after they left an accutron on the moon.
 

watchtinker

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Dec 25, 2016
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I realize that I am rather unusual, but I'm a senior in high school and I think old timekeeping devices are amazing. I am trying to learn more about how to work on watches. Now, as was mentioned earlier, as a teenager, my funds are rather limited, so four of the six watches that compose my "collection" are family heirlooms. I would enjoy learning more about watches though as I go through collage and hopefully continue with this hobby.
 

RailwayEagle

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Dec 19, 2014
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I was very young when I first took an interest, 9 or 10 years old. My father had 10 or 11 watches, he gave me an 18s 11j Hampden which didn't run as it was far out of beat. Against his wishes I took it apart, cleaned it with alcohol, put it somewhat in beat, oiled with Vaseline and 3 in 1 household oil. It ran really quite well, 20 seconds per day timekeeping or so. After that I got more broken cheap watches, then more. I'm 27 now and service watches for a living. My favorites are 18th century verge fusee's. I started my business when I was 17, still learning new things every day. I just joined the forums here a couple years ago, but I lurked for a long time. As a teenager the Internet was my primary source of knowledge. I never had any mentor or family who was into horology.

A lot of younger people aren't into watchmaking/clockmaking because it isn't "cool" or "exciting". It doesn't go boom, or fast, or attract ladies. For me it's about interest in history. My oldest watch is from 1720, and I enjoy knowing the amount of history it existed through. Ticking away through nearly 300 years of history. I don't think it's about being too expensive. One can buy decent 18s Elgin's on eBay auctions every week for $20 to $30. That's considerably cheaper than the $1400 exhaust system a 20 something year old put on his Subaru. But I like cars, motorcycles, and guns too. I have a 67 Mercury Cougar, several Soviet surplus rifles, a 1942 German 98k Mauser. Of course you can notice a trend here, it all involves antiques and history. I was born a few years too late I think.
 
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RODALCO

Registered User
Mar 27, 2006
301
3
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I am 57. Noticed that the poll knew my age.
Started collecting wind up alarm clocks when I was about 12 years young.
Now have 10 Master Clocks at home and around 20 slave dials connected up in the house.
Mainly collect actively old electro-mechanical electricity meters since i was around 14.
 

breeze

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May 2, 2010
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My late father in law, on his last visit here, took one look at my shop and said " you have so much time here you will never die"
64 for me

Breeze
 

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