Few professions exist in this day and age that call for a formal apprenticeship. Businesses often rush new hires through a training program in a few days with the aid of training manuals.
Bill Kane, however, is a master of his trade in the truest sense of the word.
Kane drew an interest in clocks and clock-making as a teenager, and by the time he was in his 20s, he opened his first clock shop.
“I was kind of like a dinosaur; nobody my age did anything like that,” he said. “Certainly no one my age was in business for themselves. I’ve been kind of a bit different, eccentric when it comes to those kinds of things.”
Kane underwent an apprenticeship under a master clockmaker for 10 years before he earned the title himself.
“It’s a learning the process,” he said. “You have to be shown every single portion of the industry. It’s not something that you can just do.”
As owner of The Clock Shop, Kane has used his skill and knowledge to operate the largest clock sales and repair shop in north Houston. The Clock Shop typically has 300 to 400 clocks on display in its showroom, ranging from shelf and mantle clocks to wall clocks and grandfather clocks.
“The younger generation is really starting to get interested in clocks again,” Kane said. “Like everything else, they are coming back into vogue.”
Among the clocks The Clock Shop features are those made by Herman Miller, the Michigan-based clockmaker who has been making clocks for more than a century, and one that Kane calls “the gold standard” of clocks.
Although American-made clocks are among the most popular and valuable he also sells centuries-old time pieces made in Europe, Kane said.
“The Americans have only been around since 1776 basically,” Kane said. “The English, French and Germans have been making clocks for hundreds of years. Several clocks in the store are from the 17th and 18th centuries.”
To keep his inventory fresh and his store stocked, Kane often travels to Europe to purchase clocks.
“You can go online and find [clocks], and we make several trips to Scotland and England and try to find them there,” he said. “We buy them all the time. We probably buy almost one per day. We sell hundreds of clocks, so I guess we buy hundreds.”
In addition to selling a variety of antique and modern clocks, owner Bill Kane specializes in clock repair. Kane said repairs make up about 60 percent of his business and customers can expect a 10-day turnaround on clocks needing repairs.
Kane said parts are no longer made for many older clocks, but he maintains a large quantity of spare parts he has accumulated throughout the years in the clock repair business.
The Clock Shop
6315 FM 1488, Magnolia 281-259-8338, www.theclockshoponline.com
Hours: Mon.—Sat. 10 a.m.—4 p.m., closed Sun.