NORTH HAVEN -- For Raymond Pavkov, tinkering has always been a hobby.
“I grew up in Ohio on a small farm. We always worked on the tractors and the wagons, and took the wheels off and greased the axels, and so I kind of had a mechanical inclination growing up. After I came back from the service in the U.S. Army, I was stationed in Germany, I brought a couple of clocks back with me, and I really enjoyed working on those clocks because of the gears and the main springs, and so forth, and that’s when I contacted the clockmaker in Guilford, and he brought me on as an apprentice. Eight thousand hours later, I was certified by the State of Connecticut as a certified master clockmaker,” he said.
“I usually lay out the pieces so that I know where everything goes back,” he explained.
There aren’t many people like Raymond in the United States, let alone Connecticut.
“I think the lost art is the fact that as I did, a four year apprenticeship, kids don’t want to do that it seems to me today. Hopefully there will be enough of us that will live long enough until there’s another generation that appreciates you can do things with your hands,” said Pavkov.
His hands work along with his mind as he studies every clock to figure out what’s wrong and how it can be fixed.
“We have to take the clock apart, we have to do what’s necessary to address the problem. They don’t talk to me, I just sort of have to eliminate whatever the issue may be, and correct it,” said Pavkov.
He says that he’s been seeing a resurgence in mechanical clocks because people are getting tired of battery-operated ones. Instead, they’re treasuring the clocks that have been passed down for generations, ticking away for centuries.
“This is a clock that is one of the early Connecticut clocks from Waterbury, Connecticut,” he said as he showed us around the store.
He knows each clock has its own special features. And no matter if it chimes or ticks away, it holds a special meaning to its owner.
“When I can give that clock back and it’s working, when it was brought in and it was not working, when I can give that back to a customer and see the smile of satisfaction in their heart, I really know that – yes money is involved – but the joy of them being able to pass this on to another generation, that’s what keeps me going and that’s why I love it so much,” said Pavkov.