A Message from Our AWCI President – Fred T. White, CMW21, April 2017

March 31st, 2017

Take a few minutes each month to write to your board members.

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

The midyear has come and gone. It is now time to get to work on the things your Board of Directors made motions to accomplish. If we do not follow up on these motions and put them into action, then we will be at fault, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves. I have challenged the Board of Directors to get to work; all through the midyear meeting I kept saying, “When it is all said and done, there is more said than done.” Now is the time for action—in other words, get to work and do the job you were elected to do. When you are elected, it is not a glory position; it is a labor position. Talk to members, visit members, get input from them, and then vote how they would like you to vote.

You, as members, should be taking a few minutes each month to write to your board members. Share an idea with them or, better still, talk with them. When was the last time you talked with another member about AWCI, about what you could do to help the organization to grow, or what we all can do to improve our lot in life? It is your organization, so put a little work into it. I learned many years ago that you get out in proportion to what you put in. You cannot get money out of your checking account unless you deposit first. What have you deposited into AWCI?

We are facing a situation where our membership is declining. Some of you may have an answer to what we can do, so please don’t keep that to yourselves. I would love to hear from you (email moc.icwanull@etihwf or phone 301-868-7264). Contact me with any ideas you have to improve our organization. I know some of you will say, “Make parts available,” but there are some things we have no control over.When some of these companies realize that they need us more than we need them, they may release parts to us. Until then, continue to do good work and there will always be a job for you to do. When was the last time you turned down a job because of parts? There are ways of getting what you need; look for them, don’t sit on your hands.

We are not the only group suffering from the loss of membership, but we can be the one that breaks that mold. It is up to you. How many watchmakers and clockmakers do you know who do not belong to AWCI? These people can be your prospects to recruit. It doesn’t take much, just each member bringing on one new member or convincing an old member to rejoin. I challenge each one to go find that one member and sign him or her up.

I would like to know what you would do if you were president of AWCI? How would you go about improving our organization? What educational classes would you offer? What are we doing now that is relevant or not relevant to your business? In other words, help me to help you by improving AWCI for your benefit.


Welcome to Our Newest AWCI Members, Jan-Mar 2017

March 1st, 2017

Contributors to the ELM Trust, 2017

March 1st, 2017

In Memoriam, Jan-Mar 2017

March 1st, 2017

Congratulations to Our Members Who Recently Passed the CW21 Exam, Jan – Mar 2017

March 1st, 2017

A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, March 2017

March 1st, 2017

When a door closes, a window opens.

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentWatchmakers and clockmakers are a solitary group for the most part. We spend a good amount of our day or night working by ourselves, with little interaction with other people. That six square inches that so much of our time is spent working in can become very lonely. That is why it is good to take a break and call a fellow craftsperson, because he or she will understand what you are experiencing. We have a lot of time to think, and sometimes “stinking thinking” creeps into our lives. We must do everything we can to keep our minds on the positive things that are going on in our lives and around us. That is why I keep a book of motivational quotes close by.

I find it very therapeutic to take a timepiece that has not run for years, or that the customer has been told cannot be repaired, give it a good servicing, make the necessary repairs, put the balance in place—and it comes to life. That is my reward.

Why do we look at our situation and say the sky is falling? How many times have you missed a repair job because of parts? Did you take the job in and attempt to find parts, or did you just turn the customer away? Who knows how much business you may have missed by that one act?  Many times I am reminded of the children’s story of the boy who cried wolf so often when there wasn’t a wolf that when there was one, no one listened to him. Do we cry wolf, or do we try to find a solution to our problem?  We can moan and groan about the parts situation and get our blood pressure up, but the problem is still there; and it will be there until someone wakes up and realizes that they need us. Meanwhile, let’s continue to do good work and educate ourselves to be the very best we can be. I have only missed a few jobs because of parts, thanks to my network of people. You can say the sky is falling or do something to improve your lot in life—it is up to you.

Throughout history our industry has had its ups and downs. In the 1960s the quartz watch came on the scene, and many a good watchmaker left the business, never to return. Watchmakers heard there would not be a need for a repair for years. (There were three watchmakers in the small town of 5,000 people where I lived at the time, and today there isn’t one left.) I too left because you could not charge enough to make a living at the bench. My second career gave me a good education in sales and sales management and working with people. When a door closes, a window opens; seize the opportunity. As horologists, we have gone through the “good ole’ days” when parts were readily available. There was a time when the brands begged us to buy genuine parts because the generic parts were so well-made and sometimes cheaper than the genuine. The downside was there was a flood of watchmakers in the marketplace, and it was difficult to make a living. I knew one watchmaker who worked 12 to 14 hours a day to support his family. So, were the “good ole’ days” the best? In many ways they were, but some things were not as good as today. We can always find something to complain about, or we can look for the good. For many years there was a plaque that hung on the wall in my office. It simply said: “The sun always shines after the rain.” So look for the sunshine.

Industry News, March 2017

March 1st, 2017

Jewelry Store Robberies Lead to First Fatalities of 2017
Two separate robberies occurred in late January marking the first jewelry store robbery fatalities of 2017 reported by Jewelers Circular Keystone. The first occurred January 21 in Henderson, Nevada, at a location of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. A man brandished a gun inside the store. When a store security guard intervened and attempted to shoot the robbery suspect, the security guard’s shot missed the robber and accidentally struck a female employee who later died from her injuries. The suspect escaped the scene without any cash or jewelry and was still on the loose at the time of the report. Authorities were checking surveillance footage from nearby businesses to try to track down the suspect. The second robbery took place at a Kay Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas, inside the Rolling Oaks Mall. Two armed men entered the store attempting a robbery when Jonathan Murphy, a former Marine, intervened. The Marine was a customer of the store who was there with his wife to get their rings cleaned. The Good Samaritan was shot and killed during the struggle. Another shopper, who is licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shot and wounded one of the robbers while the other fled the scene. The wounded robber was apprehended at the scene, while the second robber was apprehended a short time later after crashing a stolen car. Both men are being charged with capital murder and aggravated assault.

For tips to prevent jewelry store robberies or minimize damage:





More Management Changes at Richemont Brands
Amid the rocky landscape that is currently the Swiss watchmaking industry, Richemont is continuing to make management changes affecting many top brand CEOs. In separate reports from Reuters and Bloomberg News, the CEOs of Dunhill, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin will be changing in the next few months. Two CEOs will be retiring, Juan-Carlos Torres, of  Vacheron Constantin, and Philippe Leopold-Metzger of Piaget, while Fabrizio Cardinali of Dunhill, and Daniel Riedo of Jaeger-LeCoultre are leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” The weakening demand for Swiss luxury watches is being blamed for many of the changes. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert was quoted speaking to a group of investors, talking about the board of directors, “I want to see less grey men, less grey Frenchmen, as a subcategory,” and “We have too few women. We don’t have enough diversity.”




SIHH 2017
Citing the event’s own website, “The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is the year’s first gathering of professionals in the watchmaking segment. Held in January, it sets the tone for the twelve months to come as it rolls out the latest trends.” It’s a chance for some brands, typically Richemont brands with a handful of independent watchmakers, to debut new product before the larger and more accessible Baselworld show. The show is five days of wining and dining, along with mini boutiques for each brand amid luxurious hallways. Here are a few watch highlights for the 27th season of the event. The Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days, containing a movement with bridges made of ceramic-like material and escapement components made of silicon. The watch movement requires no lubrication and comes with a 50-year guarantee. Greubel Forsey debuted their first watch with a chiming complication, the Grande Sonnerie, which also manages to include the brand’s signature inclined 24-second tourbillon. Montblanc came out with the limited edition TimeWalker Chronograph 1000, a chronograph that can mechanically measure and display the time accurately to the 1000th of a second. Vacheron Constantin followed their recent trend in setting the bar for the rest of the watchmaking community by debuting the most complicated wristwatch they have ever made to supplement the most complicated timepiece ever made that they produced in 2015. Only one version of The Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 has been produced so far. It features 23 complications, and sold at the show for over $1,000,000.






Rolex was a Main Sponsor at Academy Awards
Rolex significantly expanded their sponsorship role for the 89th Academy Awards. Last year Rolex was brought on as a sponsor of the Oscars Greenroom, a backstage hangout for the celebrities and their guests. This year they continued to sponsor the Greenroom but were brought on as a main sponsor for the entire event. Rolex has a dedicated amount of philanthropic funding set aside each year for support of the arts, some of which is spent on the filmmaking industry through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. The 89th Academy Awards was broadcast on Sunday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET.




Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.

Industry News, February 2017

February 1st, 2017

LVMH Opens Watchmaking School in La Chaux-de-Fonds
The luxury goods conglomerate, Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE or LVMH, has opened a new innovative watchmaking school housed within the TAG Heuer Manufacture. The program is an apprenticeship-based curriculum in partnership with the Institut des Métiers d’ Excellence (IME), an institute founded by LVMH in 2014 to preserve and spread its traditional “savoir-faire” and promote the appeal of careers in traditional crafts. The school will accommodate 12 apprentices and be run primarily by both the Tag Heuer and Zenith brands. However, the students will also benefit from access to many of the other watchmaking facilities within the LVMH umbrella.


Australian Watch Company Bausele Uses Nanotechnology to Manufacture Watch Cases

The Australian watch company Bausele has invented a new ceramic-like material called “Bauselite” in collaboration with the Flinders University’s Centre for NanoScale Science and Technology in Adelaide, South Australia. The details of the new manufacturing process have largely been kept confidential, but nanotechnologist Professor David Lewis was quoted as saying, “Bauselite is strong, very light and, because of the way it is made, avoids many of the traps common with conventional ceramics.” The new material also propelled Bausele and its founder, Christophe Hoppe, to be the first Australian-based luxury watch brand to showcase at Baselworld. Bausele is an acronym for Beyond AUStralian ELEments. Another unique feature of the brand’s watches is that each crown has part of the Australian landscape embedded within, red earth from the Outback being just one of many examples.



Chelsea Clock Promotes Frank DiFrancesco to Director of Manufacturing
Formerly the Director of Manufacturing Services, Frank DiFrancesco was promoted to Director of Manufacturing in November. JK Nicholas, CEO of Chelsea Clock, said in a statement, “The Director of Manufacturing position plays a vital role in both preserving and enhancing the qualities that make a Chelsea so special. During his time here, Frank has demonstrated the expertise and passion necessary to lead this portion of our business, and we are confident he will continue to play an important part in the company’s success.” DiFrancesco started with Chelsea Clock in May of 2015 and has a background full of engineering, machining, and manufacturing experience. He also repaired helicopters for the Massachusetts Army National Guard for over six years starting back in the late 1980s.
Source: Patrick Capozzi, Director of Marketing, Chelsea Clock.


NAWCC Museum Tour Now Available on Google Street View

Thanks to a two-year collaboration between the Google Cultural Institute and the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, the National Watch and Clock Museum is now available to be viewed online in “Google Street View.” The museum can now be viewed online for free in its entirety with high-definition resolution. This is the second time in 2016 that the museum has gone “viral.” The earlier occurrence was in May when the museum’s YouTube channel posted a security-camera video of a museum patron tampering with a one-of-a-kind wall clock and accidentally knocking it of the wall. That video has been viewed more than a million times.
To view the museum street view visit:

Bulova and Citizen Watch Integrate US Operations
When Citizen purchased Bulova, and its stable of watch brands back in 2008, it created the world’s largest watch manufacture. The two companies continued to operate with mostly separate infrastructures. Beginning in 2017, Citizen will be restructuring Bulova’s US operations and integrating both companies’ sales and marketing forces into a new entity named Citizen Watch Company of America, also dubbed “Citizen Watch America.” The brands will continue to operate with distinctly different product lines and designs. Jeffrey Cohen, formerly holding the titles President of Bulova Corporation and President of Citizen Watch Company of America simultaneously, has been promoted to President of Citizen Watch America. There will be two regional managing directors overseeing each brand and reporting to Cohen—Michael Benavente for Bulova and Eric Horowitz for Citizen.


Jean-Claude Biver Named as Interim CEO of Zenith

Jean-Claude Biver has been President of the Watches Division of the LVMH group overseeing their three main luxury watch brands Hublot, TAG Heuer, and Zenith. Biver has also been working simultaneously as the CEO of TAG Heuer since December of 2014. Now, Biver has displaced the current CEO of Zenith, Aldo Magada, to work as the head of the brand. Biver has largely been credited with building up Hublot and TAG Heuer to the brands they are today, and they expect much of the same from him when dealing with Zenith. “I’ll be working with the teams to give this brand the luster it deserves,” Biver said in a statement to the media.



Mondaine Watch Ltd. Owners Buy Out Luminox

The current owners of the Mondaine Watch company, brothers Ronnie Bernheim and André Bernheim, have purchased the remaining shares of Luminox, making them the sole owners of the tritium inset watch brand. The shares were held by Barry Cohen, a founding partner of the brand. The Bernheim brothers had purchased 50% of the shares back in 2006 but had not held a majority stake until now. With full control, they plan to unveil a new and exciting vision for the brand at Baselworld 2017. André Bernheim was quoted as saying, “We have great concepts and products under development which we strongly believe will take the brand to a much higher level, even with the difficult nature of the industry at the moment.”



Breitling Jet Team Completes American Tour


The Breitling Jet Team has ended its first flight tour of American territory. The two-year long “Breitling Jet Team American Tour” concluded in October of 2016 at the first Breitling Huntington Beach Airshow, after participating in 30 airshows, 70 public demonstrations, and touching down in 35 American states. Jim DiMatteo, a US Navy veteran and director of the tour said, “A French team flying on Czech jets and supported by a Swiss watch brand was a first for the American authorities. But having admired its performances in Europe, I knew we just had to have the Breitling Jet Team come to the United States.” The Breitling Jet Team consists of seven L-39C Albatros aircraft and makes up the largest civilian professional aerobatic display team.

Breitling Press Release

Rumors Circulate Amid Problems at Tourneau Flagship Store

Tourneau is currently the largest authorized retailer of luxury watches in the United States, with 33 locations, including the largest watch store in the world, the Time Dome in Las Vegas. Various news outlets, including the New York Post, have reported that the private equity firm Leonard Green & Partners, which owns Tourneau, was shopping the company around with a “pre-packaged bankruptcy” plan, and have yet to find an interested party. Reports have indicated that a number of factors are to blame for the mega-retailer’s alleged troubles, the downturn in the luxury watch market being a major factor. However, another recent report has indicated that the location of their flagship store on 57th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan is another factor. Tourneau has occupied the same city block and shared an adjoining atrium with Trump Tower for the last 20 years. This hasn’t caused many problems until the latter half of 2016 when Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. President-Elect Trump’s primary residence is in the tower, necessitating the need for Secret Service and other security personnel to be ever present and occupying the entire nearby area. After AWCI reached out to Tourneau, an executive within the company stated to us that these reports of sale and bankruptcy were “completely false,” and the company is planning certain areas of growth in the near future. The executive also confirmed to us the problems of the recently congested area and that sales projections for 2016 were not achieved in the way the company had hoped.





Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.



A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, February 2017

February 1st, 2017

 When I handed him the watch, the very first word out of his mouth was



Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentDo you live for those “wow moments” when a customer picks up a repair job?
    Charley dropped off his 982 Hamilton tank watch, which needed a dial refinish, a crystal, and a complete servicing. We agreed on a price for the repairs, and he left the watch for servicing. I sent the dial out for dial refinishing, and located a crystal for the watch in my collection of “fool’s gold”—that collection of parts that is worthless until the day you need it, and then you turn it into money. Next, I serviced the movement. Hamilton made a beautiful watch; their product is always a pleasure to work on. They have a nice finish on all parts, and they time out well. After all, the most important thing is that a watch keeps time. It had a 14K yellow-gold case, which finished very nicely. When the job was complete, the watch looked new.
    When Charley came in to retrieve his watch, he had his two children with him. When I handed him the watch, the very first word out of his mouth was “Wow!” Immediately, the two children, who were about 10 and 12, said “Let me see!” He proudly handed them the watch with the instruction: “Do not drop it.”
    The little girl asked, “How did you do that?” I explained that it was because of my training and years of experience that I could make the watch look new.
    It is that training and work experience that makes you good at what you do.  
    When he was ready to leave, he left another job with me—one of the major brands—for servicing. That is what we all hope for in our business: that repeat customer.
    So, I hope you have many of those “wow moments” in your shop.
    We are working on getting a new Chief Examiner and a Clock Director to enhance our educational programs. We offer some of the best training in the world, whether it is a class that is taught at AWCI headquarters or at a convention. As craftspeople, we should strive for perfection, knowing full well we will never achieve it. Doing the best job you can for your clients is utmost.
    Here’s hoping that you have many moments like this.








A Message from Our AWCI President, Fred T. White, CMW21, January 2017

December 30th, 2016


Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI PresidentI hope you had a great holiday season and a Happy New Year. We begin a new year here at AWCI with all the hopes and expectations that this year will better than the last. However, last year was good. We accomplished some of our goals, but not all. It was a good year for volunteers to come forward and work on the many projects we have. So, let’s reflect on some of those projects.
    The Horological Times Committee has helped our editorial team produce a great magazine each month for our membership to enjoy. They aim to include technical articles in both watch and clock repair, as well as industry news and other interesting features. I wonder if you have any idea of the amount of man and woman hours that go into each magazine. The Horological Times Committee, made up of volunteers, reviews a large number of articles each month to make sure they meet our standards and practices and are worthy of publishing. With their help and the work of our editorial staff, we get a great product every month.
    The Education Committee is now working on hiring a Clock Director and a Chief Examiner. The Clock Director will oversee all work that needs to be done to get the certification of clockmakers on track again. The Chief Examiner will oversee all certifications that AWCI currently does (CW21 and CC21) and certifications we plan for the future (CMW21 and CMC21). We are also working with the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (NAWCC) on education for both of our organizations. We will offer technical classes, to them, and they will teach us about horological history and about collecting timepieces. Thanks to all the volunteers who are giving their time to make this committee work.
    Our Convention Committee always gives us an excellent convention to attend. This committee never fails to make each one great and lots of fun. Also, we get some first-class speakers to educate us on the most modern timepieces as well as on the basic fundamentals of horology. They spend hours researching the best hotels at the best price possible for our membership. It not just the hotel rooms but the meeting rooms and meals and a hundred other things that have to be considered. All this is done, for the most part, by a group of volunteers. We look forward to our 2017 convention in Tampa, Florida.
    It is the job of the Finance Committee to organize the budget and to come up with a balanced budget. They do a tremendous job of keeping our finances running smoothly, and I am happy to say we are on good, solid financial footing.
    We are fortunate to have a Perpetuation Trust Fund, which is handled by a committee of three trustees, and the president and treasurer of AWCI head up and control this fund. In our Governing Documents, there are guidelines that control how much of this fund can be drawn out at one time. It is set up to keep AWCI going for a long time, through the good and bad times, so there will be an AWCI for future generations.
    The Nominating Committee is in place to select new members for the Board of Directors. If you would like to run for the Board of Directors, which is a voluntary position, please get in touch with the chairman of this committee, Drew Zimmerman.
    The ELM Trust is for the purpose of helping to fund education and AWCI’s library and museum. This is a very is hard-working group, which gives of their time very freely for the betterment of AWCI.
   Our Ethics Committee handles complaints about various issues that arise between a member and a customer or persons misrepresenting themselves as members of AWCI when, in fact, they are not.
    There are two other committees, the Honor and Awards Committee and the Marketing Committee. They both serve vital roles in the work we do for our members.
    “Thank you”—just two small words that are not sufficient to express my appreciation for the tireless effort that these volunteers give to the horological community. Without these people giving their time, energy, and money, we would not have the strong organization that we have today. If you are not already a member of one of these committees, then step up and volunteer. It is very rewarding.