BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY
From kitschy 1930’s Kit-Cat replica clocks with swinging tails and darting eyes to the grandest of grandfathers, House of Clocks in Morgantown, Indiana, sells new clocks and repairs old ones, too. Located on the main street at 75 W. Washington, the shop has been a fixture in town since 1971.
The store is awash with all of the ticking and clicking, chimes and bells, and customary cuckoo calls you would expect — and the not-so-traditional sounds of monkeys, cows, horses, and other animals that emerge from brightly colored plastic clocks on the hour. Dan and Anna Jo Condon are the House of Clocks’ fifth owners. Their son, Matthew Condon, has been repairing clocks for the shop since his parents purchased the business in 2003. Matthew describes himself as a “clocksmith,” a word he uses for the ease of his customers. “Horology is the study or science of timekeeping,” he explains. “You could say I am a ‘horologist,’ but a lot of people are like, ‘What!?’ So, ‘clocksmith’ is a lot more straightforward.”
Matthew says clock repair involves a bit of sleuthing. “Every clock is like a puzzle,” he says. “Each piece has its own place, but you don’t always get the luxury of having the picture on the front of the box.” Fortunately, because missing or damaged parts can be fabricated in-house, clocks that need to be fixed are seldom lost causes.
While he frequently repairs circa-1800’s mantel clocks, Matthew takes all comers, noting some customers spend more on repairs than their clocks are worth. “I could have someone bring in a fairly modern, Chinese-made, mechanical clock that’s not worth anything, but it was Dad’s clock,” he says. “They’re willing to put $300 worth of repairs into it. … So, what it’s worth to the customer is different than what it’s worth, say, at an auction.”
The shop’s customers seem as patient as they are sentimental, bringing in broken and neglected clocks from as far away as Chicago Louisville, and even Texas, despite the shop’s two-year waitlist for repairs. To afford more workspace and enable Matthew to make some of his own clocks from scratch, House of Clocks will expand into the building next door later this year.
House of Clocks is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. For clock repair details, call 812-597-5414. You can also visit the store on Facebook or at theclockconnection.com.