Watch & Clock Collectors Descend on Grand Rapids for the ‘National’

A collection of clocks on sale at the National Watch & Clock Collectors Association's annual show in Grand Rapids, Mich.

A collection of clocks on sale at the National Watch & Clock Collectors Association's annual show in Grand Rapids, Mich.

This year the National Watch & Clock Collectors Association (NAWCC) had its annual event/show at the prestigious Devos Convention Center, adjacent to the Grand Amway Hotel in downtown in Grand Rapids, Mich. The “National” is the premiere event of the NAWCC and this year’s show—held in early June—was a real classy event, held at the four star host hotel, the Grand Amway.

The main event was pre-empted by Girrard Sensoli’s World Wide Traders show—a small show—but well-attended by watch enthusiasts from as far away as Japan, China, Europe, and just about every state in the Union. Trading was brisk at first, but quickly tapered off as the bargains were snapped up.

Business continued at a slow but continuous pace as dealers and collectors alike competed for the best of the remaining timepieces. Vintage wrist watches in the sport watch category continue to be the strong sellers, with accessories following a close second. Sales of pocket watches, with the exception of Patek Philippe or the unusual, continue to remain in the doldrums.

When the National opened with great fanfare, it saw a large turnout of both watch and clock enthusiasts, with attendance in the 3,000- to 4,000-person range—which would be small for a public event—but this is a closed show, open only to members of the NAWCC. An exhibit room featured an excellent display of rare Ohio Clocks and a fine array of watches and artifacts from the Chamberlain Collection. The following two days were filled with a day-long watch and clock mart (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and six seminars on everything from James Bond’s watches to stenciling clock cases. The mart is a large convention room lined with 900 tables loaded with vintage watches, clocks, various parts, pieces, and the tools associated with this peculiar hobby. This annual event is held in a different state as local chapters get their chance to host the National. But no matter where, collectors and dealers alike bring their best pieces and put their best foot forward for this, the top show of the year. Some of the finest, most unusual antique and vintage clocks and watches turn up at the National, along with the inevitable re-productions.

David Mycko is a WorthPoint Worthologist specializing in watches.

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