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

“It is not how many facts you know;
what’s most important is how you put them together.”

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

That big, silver bird set down in Austin, Texas, at 4:05 p.m. on June 28, and Shirley and I were met by Dennis Warner. After an hour’s drive, we were at his home, where his wife, Ruth, had dinner waiting. After dinner, Dennis and I set off on a three-hour drive to Arlington, Texas, for the NAWCC Convention. The next morning, we registered and got our AWCI display set up. Dennis brought a TV from home, and Jordan had provided us with a thumb drive with the many things that have gone on in our organization. I brought my computer with a large screen and played an endless loop of a watch that I had repaired. We had a good spread of HTs and other literature promoting AWCI. We talked with many people who were interested in what we, as an organization, are doing. Some people were members of both AWCI and NAWCC, and some were just NAWCC members.

Within the craft competition, some beautiful timepieces were on display, along with some novelty items using watch and clock parts. Pat Holloway exhibited some very interesting Christmas ornaments made with watch cases and watch parts. There were clocks and watches produced by some of the finest horologists; their skills are impeccable. Some very beautiful work was on display. One clock that caught my attention was made by John Thomsen. It was patterned after a tower clock, but stood only about five feet tall. It is the only clock I have ever seen with universal joints. The main drive for the hands came off at an angle from the dial, so the use of universals was necessary to drive the hands. The craft and design made this an absolutely gorgeous piece. Oh, by the way, it kept time to within approximately three minutes a month, which, to me, is pretty doggone good.

One of the most enjoyable parts of being there was the opportunity to visit with people who share my interest in repairing timepieces. One of many we met was a retired doctor, Leonard Steiner, who told us a story about a friend from medical school who had a photographic memory; he could remember everything in the books but was not a good doctor. Dr. Steiner made a statement that really rang true for me. “It is not how many facts you know; what’s most important is how you put them together.” If that is true in the medical profession, it certainly is true in our profession. You can read the books and study how a watch or clock works, but until you take a job in your hands and get the feel of it, you will never become a craftsperson. It is like riding a bicycle for the first time—it probably didn’t go so well. As time goes by, though, you master it, and so it is with what we do. I will never forget how intimidating it was to work on my first chronograph. Keep trying—one day you will master it.