Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Passing time with The Clockmaker

The Clockmaker. It could be the alias of a sinister hitman, renown for their efficiency, precision and timing... perhaps it is! However, today Morgan PR was with someone altogether more likeable, so much so an interview that should have lasted a mere hour, lasted closer to two.

Actually I can be precise on the timing as I was surrounded by clocks. Dozens if not hundreds of them; big clocks, small clocks, long case clocks and everyone of them a ticking clock. After all The Clockmaker not only has a reputation for being able to make a clock if only presented with a hand, he also repairs and sells a host of elegant timepieces.

Before the interview could commence I had to repress nostalgic recollections of that 1970s TV series Pipkins and the cacophony of ticking clocks which meant it was 'time for a story' and subsequently took me to Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side of the Moon', or more specifically 'Time'.

Chris Bessent is The Clockmaker; warm and friendly, Chris Bessent does not strike the archetypal image of a clockmaker, he is not in the least wizened and nor do I find him hunched over a workbench peering through thick spectacles when we meet him at his Hungerford business.

He is very engaging and clearly passionate about his business, which has built upon a fascination founded in childhood for understanding how things work and his conversation, like all conversations is littered with time-orientated references which show how fundamental time is to our very existence.

He explained: “It started when I was a child; most people take for granted that something works. Me, I wanted to know how it worked and left alone I would take something apart to try and find out. Invariably I would wreck it, but today, with 29 years experience in making and repairing clocks that curiosity has developed into a real skill. Someone once joked I could make a clock if someone simply brought me the hand... and I probably could!

“We take time, but we provide a quality service that does represent value for money. A clock isn’t something like a car that needs servicing every year, but you have to appreciate if it goes wrong after 20 or 30 years, or 100 or 150 years, then it might take some time and effort to fix it. Of course it might not, but we will tell you, and we offer a three year guarantee.

“We also sell clocks, but people do not buy a clock to tell the time. It is about so much more; it can be an elegant focal point of a room and offer something stable, something solid and reliable. We have companies that buy clocks from us and what gives gravitas and a feeling of longevity more than a clock? Of course if you don’t care then you can go to Next and buy a quartz thing!"

For such a complicated and specialist task there is an incredible transparency to how Chris Bessent does business; the whole process, from the initial quote to explaining what he has done is clear and easy to understand – not unlike the skeleton clocks of the early 19th Century that revealed the inner workings of clocks, The Clockmaker and his team inspire confidence and trust with their time honoured approach to providing a real service to the customer.

No comments: