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

We are problem solvers.

Fred T. White, CMW21, AWCI President

Today I heard a song that I haven’t heard for some time, “One Day at a Time.” When we think about it, that is all we can do—live one day at a time. We sit at our benches and solve one problem at a time. We are problem solvers. Recently, a client brought me a 16-size pocket watch that had been made into a desk clock. The casing for it had been made from a large gun shell, circa WW1. The clock was not properly attached in the case; the dial feet were broken off and attached with glue; the case did not close properly; and the movement needed servicing. What to do with this basket case? First, get the story behind the watch; really listen to what the client tells you. This client said she wondered about the man who made the case. Was he in his barracks and did he use this to fill his time while waiting to go into the trenches? How many fox holes did he carry it into? Then, determine a price with a guestimate of time spent to do the job and add a few hours more because invariably your first price will be too low. Second, the customer agrees to the price. Now you have the job, so you need to get the dial feet put back on by laser welding; drill and tap the case for screws to hold it together; service the movement and put it in the case with case screw and case strap. This is where your problem-solving skills come into play: there is no going to the parts drawer and pulling out a part. You have to rely on your skill, knowledge of your craft, and your ability to think on your feet to solve these types of problems. For me, this is what makes watchmaking and clockmaking interesting—it’s not the same old thing day after day. You are rewarded with the smiles on your customers’ faces when they pick up their timepieces. By the way, this client also left a major-brand watch for repair, which is extra business.