Why Collect and Repair Clocks


Well in advance of retirement I began collecting antique and vintage mechanical clocks. It was not a serious hobby at first but as I immersed myself into the world of horology I began to realize that I love collecting and relish the challenge of repair and restoration.

It all began in 2000 when my wife and I were travelling around our home province of Nova Scotia, Canada. We stopped at a little village called Blockhouse near the south shore. We found an antique shop which is long since gone, walked in and never intended to buy an antique clock that day but left with a Seth Thomas Adamantine mantel clock (circa 1910). It looked like it was worth many times more than we paid for it. We left the store thinking we had stolen it.

Seth Thomas Adamantine mantel clock circa 1910, my first “real” clock

Not long afterwards I discovered that thousands of these clocks were made and the price we paid likely reflected its true value. The clock came home and sat on our upright piano and looked great. For the first 2-3 years, I wound it up regularly and marvelled at its beautiful case and the sound of the strike on the hour and half hour. Eventually, it went quiet. Sometime later I wound it up, recognized that it was made to run and have kept it running ever since.

Daniel Dakota wall clock, one of Tempus Fugits more popular models
Daniel Dakota wall clock, made in China

Later I found a Daniel Dakota wall clock at a thrift store in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia. I knew at the time that Chinese clocks are practically worthless but I cleaned it up, eventually took the movement apart several times for practice and managed to get it running. Mission accomplished; now on to the next challenge.

Next, came a Ridgeway Hamilton Country Westminster chime tall-case clock that was in great shape and needed no work. More mantel and wall clocks followed until I began to realize that my modest collection was growing. Where to put all these clocks, I thought.

Ridgeway Hamilton Country, tall-case clock

I now have over 100 clocks in my collection, a third of which are running daily and a few are in various states of what I call, rehabilitation. As my tastes change I have confined my purchases only to those that interest me.

My horological journey has enabled me to acquire a wealth of information about clocks of all types. Meeting interesting people along the way and listening to their stories has given my hobby added value.

Arthur Pequegnat Moncton 15-day wall clock

Learning to maintain, repair and restore clocks is an ongoing challenge. No matter how much I learn I am constantly facing new and unique challenges. Essential tools are important and the necessary equipment allows me to further my hobby.

Will I fix clocks for other people? Yes, for friends and family but a money-making business would take away all the fun.

I have been a member of the NAWCC, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors. since 2012.

Contact me at ronjoiner@gmail.com if you have any questions.