Augusta, GA (WJBF) – The clock is ticking on a profession that few people take the time to think about.
“It’s a dying trade and I feel bad ’cause it’s going to disappear one year,” says Richard Heaton, who repairs antique clocks.
“You have to be real patient. You can’t get in a hurry. Sometimes, if you get aggravated, you have to get up and walk away for a little bit and then come back, especially on coo coo clocks…” said Heaton, with a laugh.
The lack of qualified clock repair people is no laughing matter. “There are some people out there really butchering the clocks. I don’t know who they are,” Heaton said, adding that customers turn to him after the damage is done to their family heirlooms by unqualified people, leaving him to pick up the pieces.
“It sometimes takes me two to four weeks to get the problem solved, you know, and I’m not going to take a clock back that’s not running. I give a two-year guarantee,” said Heaton.
Heaton has been working on clocks for almost three decades. In 1988, his father-in-law got him a job with Walker Clock Company, in Martinez, Georgia. Mr. Walker, who was European-trained, taught Heaton everything he knows.
Walker retired in 2005 and Richard Heaton’s business was born. “It’s getting to the point where there’s nobody out there doing the clock work, correctly, like Mr. Walker taught me to do,” said Heaton.
“It’s a passion for him to take a piece of something that someone cherishes and fix it for them,” said Heaton’s wife, Mary.
The couple owns more than a dozen clocks, some of which Heaton built himself.
So, how many more years will this master clock repairman sit at his bench?
“Until I’m put in the ground,” Heaton answered with a laugh.(laughs).
You can learn more about Heaton Clock Company here.