Every Experience Counts: Learn, Network and Enjoy Clocks, Watches, Horology More…at the NAWCC regionals! (#011)

1-20131101 NAWCC Mid East Regionals York PA 17Get out there and learn, network, and enjoy the experience of exploring the vast opportunities available to you.  Enjoy the Journey!

Find the Opportunities and Gain Experience.  The best way to learn about clock and watch collecting and ownership is by getting out there to invest in experience. Expose yourself to as much as you can in the world of horology, because every bit of that experience counts:

  • Explore antique stores and markets
  • Visit your local clock shop
  • Buy and take apart project clocks to learn from
  • Read books
  • Buy videos
  • Explore websites dedicated to clocks, watches, horology and antiques
  • Participate in forums and facebook pages
  • Join and get involved in horology organizations
  • And…Attend conferences and workshops!
Read more about these suggestions in Post #006, “8 Essentials You Need to Know About Collecting or Repairing Antique Clocks”

The best way to gain experience is to pay attention and see as many clocks as you can. John Tope, Tick Tock Productions.

I had the huge pleasure and excitement to attend the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) Mid-Eastern regional conference in York Pennsylvania (1-2 November 2013).

Living in Europe for the last couple of years, I could only read about them. Suffice it to say, when I moved back to the U.S. in late 2012 I was eager to attend one.

What are NAWCC regionals? NAWCC Regionals offer opportunities for learning, networking, and collecting; for buying and selling, including replacement parts and tools, in the mart; attending educational seminars; asking questions and getting answers; and enjoying good fellowship with friends in the NAWCC. NAWCC Regional Events page

Every year, regional chapters of the NAWCC organize regional events to offer members a grand opportunity to show, sell, learn and network with other members. A brilliant idea and a truly a superb opportunity to learn and network!

The Mid-Eastern regional show was sponsored by NAWCC chapters from Virginia, Washington DC, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Day 1. Getting up early Friday morning, with family and bags packed into our minivan (and plenty of room to add a few items to my collection), we drove north 130 miles (209 kilometers) from Northern Virginia to arrive close to the start of the mart.

This 2013 event was held at the York Fairgrounds in York Pennsylvania – where America’s first fair was held in 1765.

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Honestly, I didn’t expect what I found – rows and rows of tables and a sea of clocks, watches and people. I expected a regional of a smaller scale. Looking at my wife and daughter in tow, I asked for their wisdom: “where do I start?” They responded: “start quickly! We don’t want to be here all day.”  They were happy to be there, but were not as “a-kid-in-a-toy-store” enthusiastic as I was.

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I was prepared to be there all day – look at every table, pick up every clock, talk to every person, and help them close the doors at the end of the day. But if I were to return for a second day of clocksploration I needed to protect the family harmony and promise to keep this day down to a “few” hours.

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Day 1 over. With an antique French carriage clock (with its original leather case) and a fabulous movement for a Dutch bracket clock in hand we left for our hotel and a promised trip to the local mall and Olive Garden for dinner. Family harmony still intact!

Day 2 started when the doors opened.

A great benefit these regional conferences offer are the expert demonstrations and lectures on various topics.

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Gregg Perry, of Gregg Perry Horological Sciences, provided superb demonstrations on gilding, finish restoration, french polishing and chinoiserie/lacquer work.

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David Lindow, of David Lindow Clockmaker, lectured on “The Process of Making Reproduction Clocks.” David is one of only two mechanical clock movement manufactures left in the US. His factory is in his barn in northeastern Pennsylvania where he makes 18th and early 19th century reproduction weight driven clock movements.

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He took us through the manufacturing process, explaining how he makes clocks today while comparing it to the materials and techniques of the period he reproduces.

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David maintains a partnership with the Dial House for the dials he marries to his mechanisms.  Every aspect of this dial was done by hand, which is a testimony of the artistry and craftmanship behind creating a clock!

Chelsea Clocks and David Lindow Clockmaker are the last two clock movement manufactures in the United States.

A large number of NAWCC members, clock shops and horology services set-up tables to present their products services and advice.

At every table I stopped to explore, I found a clock or watch enthusiast that really cared for and enjoyed what they were doing. Each one had stories to tell and enthusiasm to share.

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These events are rich with seasoned experts and experience. Jerry Maltz calls himself a “clockaholic.” Certainly, he’s perhaps the undisputed expert on Baird advertising clocks (see the clock with the “Spanish Blacking” label).

Jerry has been collecting and restoring these advertising clocks since 1976, and wrote the authoritative book on them “Baird Advertising Clocks.”

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“Did you know that advertising clocks are made out of papier-mâché?” Jerry pointed out. I could have spent the day talking to him and absorbing his stories and enthusiasm.

You can read more on Jerry Meltz and advertising clocks in this 2008 article: “TIme for a History Lesson,” by Vicki Walker.

These shows are also rich with new enthusiasm and expertise. Jeff Richards, of Antique Cuckoo Clock, had on display remarkable examples of German Black Forest Cuckoo Clocks. By far, Jeff won my award for “best-of-show” for his collection, presentation and superb work.

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Jeff’s passion began when his grandmother gave him his first Cuckoo Clock when he was a boy. Today, his hobby has turned into a first class business and he’s clearly an authority on “golden Era” Black Forest cuckoo clocks.

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You can learn more about Jeff on his website,, or follow-him on Facebook at All Things Black Forest.

The people you meet at these events are amazing. It was hard to pass Kay Mitchell, of Time Saver Dials, without saying hello and talking to her. Her warm and inviting smile was contagious.

With her husband, Chad, they’ve been restoring antique dials for decades. Even so, her energy to explain her craft and artistry made me think her passion was as fresh as mine.

Flipping through her portfolio of her and Chad’s extraordinary work was impressive. She could explaining in detail the challenges, learning and painstaking process they went through with each restoration.

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It was an honor and a true pleasure to have had met Kay.

Unfortunately, if you notice the “Effective January 1, 2014…” sign to her right, Kay and Chad will be tapering down their work and eventually retire for good.

I had hoped to hear they were teaching others their craft, or had written a book on it. But regretfully, she noted that no one really wants to learn. In contemplation, this may be a future project of mine. I would hate to loose the knowledge and history of their wonderful work.

These events also provide exposure to new things. I learned about french polishing from Gregg Perry, the process of making reproduction mechanical clocks from David Lindow, about dial restoration from Kay Mitchell, and advertising clocks from Jerry Maltz. These were only a few examples, otherwise this post would be pages long.

I also want to mention Chris Hooper, of Windy City Watch Collector,
who provided me an introduction to marine chronometers and timepiece.

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Chris and Melanie, capped-off my Mid-Eastern regional experience. It was the end of the show on Saturday and they needed to pack-up in order to start for home to make another engagement that night. They graciously paused and took their time to introduce me to and explain maritime timepieces. Marine chronometers were new to me, so I’m grateful for the time they offered me.

This provided a culminating example of the care and passion they have for what they do, and the many others just like them who were there that weekend. Thank you!

Indeed, the Mid-Eastern regionals was an experience that counted.

Finally, today is Veterans Day here in the United States as I write this post. In honor of this occasion I wanted to provide a special salute to Michael Cherry and David Smith who proudly served and now enjoy the clockventure.

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In much the same way as I did, they both started with clocks years back during their time in the military. I’m privileged to follow in their footsteps!

So, get out there and learn, network, and enjoy the experience of exploring the vast opportunities available to you. Find the opportunities.

A good place to start is with one of the horology organizations like:

Let me know if there are other organizations that offer these type of opportunities by sending me an email at

Good luck and Happy Clockventures!

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