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110 Main Street
Bar Harbor, ME
207-288-3684
clockmkr@acadia.net


The Clockmaker

Alexander began fixing clocks when he was 10 years old. It was his hobby. He kept his clocks in a suitcase stashed in his bedroom closet. Young Alexander's father wanted the boy to become a concert pianist and after many years of practicing, Alexander earned a scholarship from Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut to Manhattan School of Music and off to New York City the young man went. When not practicing Alexander spent his time "hob knobbing" with a couple of elderly clockmakers.

Gradually clockmakers were disappearing in New York City. Trade shops were giving way to chic boutiques. Most of the clock shops were long gone when Alexander was accepted as an apprentice at Hennor Jewelers & Clockmakers on Lexington Avenue in 1969. He might have been well skilled at the bench, but doing business was yet another thing, especially in New York City. Norman Steinkritz ran the establishment. Old Norman taught young Alexander how to make a living at this trade. After 20 years, Alexander and his wife, Eileen, moved to Bar Harbor, Maine where he established his own shop on Main Street.

The business of fixing clocks and watches is almost like being a solo musician. You really must love it in order to make a living at it. Years upon years are spent perfecting your craft. Success can only be measured by your reputation.

Most of Alexander's machines are old. His watchmaker's lathes were made during the 1880's. His 1935 milling machine came from his father's machine shop. A topping tool used for diminishing the diameter of a gear, came from a clockmaker who inherited it from his mentor 60 years ago. His hand tools, his textbooks; most have been passed-down from colleagues he never met. He does, however, have some modern equipment: a computer and an electric watch-cleaning machine. The cleaning machine was made in 1952.

Alexander is a gregarious, robust individual and takes to good food, bourbon, and cigars. Although most of his time is occupied with his business, he occasionally gives performances on his Yamaha Clavinova playing the classical piano repertoire. His constant companion is Tyler, an English Chocolate Lab.