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June 09, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-06-09

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, June 9, 1978-Page 7
Watchmaker leads a'timety' movement

Lee Pickett is part of a new movement
gaining adherents in recent years, the
pocket watch movement.
The 31-year-old third-generation wat-
chmaker, who has collected 90 antique
watches of his own, said that many
people are just now realizing the value
of grandfather's timepiece and are
keeping them in the family.
NOT ONLY does a watch in good,con-
dition bring a good price-from $125 to
$500 with age-but Pickett, who sells
antique watches at Campus Jewelers
on N. University, claimed antique wat-
ches are more precise than today's
The difference is pride in workman-
ship-there is none today. Pickett said
the best watches were put together
before the turn of the century. Before
1900 there was a watch company war to
see who could impress the public with
the best finish and works. But then
there was a down-turn in business and
companies began to care less about ex-
cellence and more about production.
were manufactured separately in the
U.S. during the height of the pocket
watch era, according to Pickett. When
you wanted to buy a watch, you picked
out a gold, sterling silver, nickel, silver,
or silverine case and a movement you
wanted to go with it and the unique wat-
ch was assembled by the watchmaker.
Open-faced watches were used
during working hours and those with
covers, called hunting case watches,
were for special occasions. The hand-
engraved cases were often quite
elaborate with maybe a scene of house,
lake, mountains, and trees all cram-
med into the back side. Pickett
hypothosized that these scenes
represented home and comfort. Many
of the watches also had fancy faces of
porcelein, which doesn't yellow.
The movements of the antique wat-

ches vary from seven to 26 jewels.
Pickett explained that a jewel is similar
to a ball bearing in machinery since
they are bothused at friction points to
prevent metal-to-metal wear. He said
the more jewels the better, but only to a
limit since there are only a certain
number of friction points. He warns
buyers to be aware of this-50 jewels in
a watch is more than is necessary.
American watches since they are more
sound and easier to find parts for than
European watches. He says the
European watches were handmade, so
they don't have any serial numbers,
making it difficult to trace their origins.
American watches, on the other hand,
have consecutive serial numbers and
the ledgers of most of the manufac-
turers are available.
Railroad watches are an area of
special interest to Pickett. He says
there weren't any standards for
railroad watches until 1891 following a
particularly bad train wreck in Ohio.
Trains often ran on the same tracks
causing frequent accidents. One even-
tual requirement was that the watch be
checked weekly or biweekly for ac-
curacy during an authorized watch
repair. Due to higher standards,
railroad watches are the most accurate
of the antique time-pieces.
A MEMBER OF the American
Association of Watch and Clock Collec-
tors, Pickett said he believes he's the
only antique watch repairer in the area.
The average charge for repair is $36,
which includes cleaning, oiling, ad-
justing and a new mainspring. He can
also tell the date and location of
manufacture of all American watches
and some history of the company.
He suggested handling antique wat-
ches with care since they aren't shock
"Never get inside your pocket wat-
ch," advised Pickett. "You don't know

Daily Photo by JOHN KNOX
Watchmaker Lee Pickett plies his trade at Campus Jewelers shop on North

what you're doing and you break more
than your repair. A lot of what you
break is irreplaceable or expensive to
replace at best. Take it to someone who
knows, at least for an estimate of cost."
Someone like Lee Pickett.
About 70 per cent of Sri Lanka's
residents are of Sinhalese extraction,
descended from Aryan stock of nor-
thern India. Some 22 per cent are
Tamil, akin to the Dravidian population
of southern India. Sri Lanka was for-
merly named Ceylon.

mon - fri to 9
saturday 10 to 6
sunday 12 to 6
123 w. washington
ann arbor 1

Panel bars Baker from ballot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)- Senate
Minority Leader Howard Baker Jr.,
running for his third term, was barred
from the ballot yesterday by the state
election commission in a dispute over
the signature on his qualifying petition.
Barring legal action in his favor, the
decision by the Democratic-controlled
panel will keep Baker, the nation's
highest elected Republican and a 1980
presidential prospect, off ballots in the
Aug. 3 GOP primary or the Nov. 8
general election. The deadline for
qualifying either as an independent or
the primary was June 1.
"IT IS MY signature, it really is,"
Baker said in Washington yesterday.
"We're going to take whatever steps
we have to do. Politics is tough enough
without people playing partisan
games-childish games," he added.
He said an aide brought the petition to
Washington, and "we sat in my office
and I signed it." Aides said the senator
left Washington Thursday on a trip to
RON McMAHAN, Baker's press
secretary, said the senator signed the
document in Washington on May 25. "I
don't know what form of harassment
they're trying to engage in down
State Election Coordinator David
Collins said yesterday that he com-
pared the signature on the petition with
Baker's signatures on other petitions
filed with the Federal Election Com-
"I don't think you had to be a han-
dwriting expert tosee the 'iference,"

Collins said.
HE SAID the "H," "O," and "D" in
"Howard" appeared to be different,
along with the "J" in Jr.
Jim Harpster of Memphis, one of two
Republican commissioners, said
yesterday that, "I talked to Senator
Baker. I pulled him off the Senate floor.
Senator Baker told me he personally
signed that petition and signed it in
front of a raft of people."
HARPSTER MOVED that the com-
mission certify the petition but it was
not seconded. Jack Seaton of Johnson
City, the other Republican on the five-
member commission, was absent.
Richard Holcomb of Chattanooga, the
Democratic commission chairman,
said he agreed with Harpster, but since
he is commission chairman, he could
not second the motion.
The two other commission members,
both Democrats, are Tommy Powell, a
former state legislator, and Lytle Lan-
ders of Shelbyville.
The hottest
t game in town
n the
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at the
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