The Horologist

Ivan had been a clockmaker for decades. He could still do it well, in spite of his advancing years. Of course, it was more than that. He fixed clocks of all kinds, too. Ivan even cared for the clock in the town square.

All around his tiny storefront the town had grown. You could hardly call it a town anymore; it was now more of a city. Business wasn’t the same, either. There wasn’t the same call for what Ivan did, as there once was. Yet he continued on, feeling a purpose.

Ivan took great pride in his shop, as well as his craft. He surrounded himself with clocks of all kinds. He had fancy clocks, simple clocks, grandfather clocks, and cuckoo clocks among many others. He had new clocks, but he preferred the old clocks feeling a connection of age with them. He understood them, as if they were his family.

Every morning before dawn, Ivan would rise in his little apartment at the back of his shop. He would wind his pocket watch, and then go about winding each clock in the shop carefully. As he went he would inspect each one. It was important to keep them wound and in good working order. He didn’t do it for sales really, but rather feeling he was doing each one justice. He did his job so they could do theirs.

Finally, Ivan would check the time on his pocket watch once more. He was always careful to open on time; it was important. Sweeping his sidewalk, he would wave to the other shopkeepers. Seeing his familiar, dependable and friendly face, they waved back.

Ivan had clients who had come to him for many years. These days however, most people usually came in to have their watches repaired or batteries changed. That was fine with him. On a good day, someone brought him a clock to fix. Sometimes they came in just to see his clocks. He liked to tell them about the clocks and their history.

One morning the sign did not turn to “Open”.  People immediately knew this was not like Ivan. His routine was well known, running like proverbial clockwork. He was a fixture as much as the town clock was.

The police were called to assist with a well check call.  They found Ivan seated at his workbench. A smile on his face, he looked very peaceful they said.  In his hands was his old pocket watch; both now still. 

Story by: McGuffy Ann Morris
Photo by: Photobucket

38 thoughts on “The Horologist

  1. A truly wonderful story, Annie! I love the way you used the prompt word, and how skillfully you wove the tale so that we could get the sense of Ivan's connection not only to his beloved clocks and watches but to punctuality. I loved the character you created for him, he is someone I would have enjoyed knowing. Thank you for an awesome contribution to Two Shoes Tuesday!


  2. Wind those clocks, Mister ~~ This is a very nice use of the prompt, Ms. Mack. I did think of it when doing mine but I had this photo sitting around of the trapeze school equipment so I used the other definition.

    There was an old movie I saw on TV about a clock winder/repairman and of his son who was following his steps. My favoriet clock was the one above everything in the train station. It reminded me somewhat of the clock in Musée d'Orsay of Paris, once a train station.


  3. Hi Ms. Mack ~~ The Movie was “Hugo” and Mrs. Jim said we went to the movie instead of seeing it on TV. It was a November 2011 film. There is a scene from a train wreck in the Gare Montparnasse railway station back in the late 1800's.

    You would like it. It is about an orphaned boy whose father had been the official clock winder. The boy runs away from his step-father, lives in the train station, and begins his own Horology career. And also he is busy evading capture as a run-away thief.


  4. I envisioned the old man as he went through his daily routine in his shop with a sense of purpose and pride, unassuming and gentle.
    Very well written.


  5. This was a lovely story. It reminded me of all the interesting clocks family members of mine have owned. My great-grandma's cuckoo clock, my mom's grandfather clock, my grandma's mantle clock. I do love them, and can picture your clockmaker taking such care to wind them and check them each day.


  6. Wonderful. I love that he passed doing the thing that he loved all his life.

    McGuffy Ann, I wanted to let you know I've started reading “Weeds.” So far, my favorite poem was “Rain,” but all of them have spoken to me on some level.


  7. I knew this man … he had a shop in a little country town near where we used to live. We used to take our antique clocks in to him. He was such a gentleman and had so many stories to tell about the clocks he had. He was still there when we moved away, but he was old and this was long ago … I hope he died with a smile on his face as Ivan did. That would be a fitting end, as it was in your story. Another great job and I love how you used this prompt in an uncommon way 🙂



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