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April 14, 2016

The IBM Engineer Turned Clockmaker

If you have ever had a clock or a watch that dates back a few decades, you know how difficult it is to find someone to fix anything that goes wrong with it. My friend: meet Lew Bishop. The guy that can fix anything that goes “tick tock”, and when we say anything, we really mean it. And he’s up for the challenge.

High Street December-131Lew Bishop considers making clocks as “an interesting occupation, and it is dying out.” It is certainly difficult to find a master craftsman like him these days who still frequently does house calls and runs two shops—one at home and another at High Street. He also has over 8,000 crystals that will allow him to repair any clock regardless of age or rarity.

He started with a woodworking business and was once asked to build a grandfather clock. His wife then thought that he should learn how to make clocks. It has been 35 years since he learned his craft from a German professor dubbed “The Perfectionist” who trained him “in anything that goes tick tock.” Lew credits his background as an engineer for IBM in helping him to better understand clockwork.

In his trade, he loves encountering 200 to 250-year old clocks. Vintage clocks are special because families built them with a different member making each part. They have also been tinkered with several times over the years and repaired with any available materials. This poses a unique challenge to a clockmaker like him.