Dear Friends and Colleagues,
July is here and I am very excited about the upcoming Annual Convention in Clinton, Maryland (just outside of Washington, DC). Early registration ends on July 15, so if you haven’t registered yet, call toll free 1-866-367-2924 (in the US) or 513-367-9800 if you are calling from overseas. An even easier way is to register online by visiting AWCI.com. Please take the time to read this month’s message from our Executive Director, Jordan Ficklin, as I am sure you will be quite pleased to hear about our upcoming activities and programs as well as all the great progress we are making.
I’ve been attending the AWCI conventions since the year 2000, and I have to admit I have always enjoyed meeting with all of you. Ours is a relatively small community, and it’s nice to meet each other, share our knowledge, and gain new knowledge. The amount of information I have gained from the seminars has always been highly valuable, and I have learned from many of you. Thank you to all of you who have influenced me in a positive way. I have learned much from both old and young, and it has helped me realize we are what we do with ourselves. It is all in our own hands; learn to improve and have a positive outlook on life, and this is what you will attract. The opposite can also be true. The most dangerous phrase in our language is “We’ve always done it this way.” Do not think for one moment you know it all, as you will be severely humbled at the most unexpected moment. The only thing you can do is to continue to learn and improve.
As many of you may already know, this is my life-chosen profession, and I have been directly involved in it since age 13, not to mention I was born into a watch-and-jeweler’s family. At a very young age in 1973, I barely remember my father going to the 125th Anniversary of the Omega Watch Company in Montreux, Switzerland. We were at the time an Omega and Tissot retailer. As you can see, I grew up with watches all around me and, yes, many of my school teachers would receive a nice watch from my father during Christmas as a token of appreciation for all their hard work. While my father had his retail store, he also had dedicated one room in our house as a watch-repair workshop where he would handle some minor repairs, such as crystal replacements, minor adjustments and such in the evenings and on some weekends. More involved and complex repairs were sent to his specialist watchmaker or authorized brand dealer. On some occasions, he would invite me to the workshop and let me see all the cabinets, drawers, tools, and equipment. I remember the first time I saw the eerily glowing green light of his Vibrograf B200 accompanied by its spooky tick tick tick sound. It definitely had a profound effect on me. Fast-forward to 2014—if you are still using the Vibrograf B200 without an amplitude meter (I understand, as I sometimes miss the B200’s green light and distinct tapping noise), there are now new alternatives that will help you do the job better and quicker. Come and check them out in person during the vendor fair.
If you like and love watches and clocks, live with them, retail them, repair them, restore them, and everything that has to do with every aspect of horology, from sales to service, then we’re it! And while I can encourage you to attend, I also know you have your own obligations, such as your store, your workshop, or perhaps an employer to answer to. Regardless of the situation, I recognize the challenges involved in leaving your business for a day or two or more to attend a convention and seminar. But like my father who attended his first convention in Switzerland 41 years ago, which eventually led me to follow in his footsteps on so many levels, attending this convention may also be the first step in your long and fulfilling journey in horology.
Be kind to each other and help your fellow watchmaker and clockmaker any way you can, for what comes around also goes around.
Until we meet this summer, keep your skills honed, your standards very high, your attitude professional, your tools and equipment in great condition, and your workshops clean and organized—this is the only way we will excel.