Thursday, April 9, 2009
The walls at About Time are filled with them – clocks of all sizes and sounds, from all over the world, with styles ranging from cuckoos to grandfathers.
Their stuttered, constant ticking could drive you crazy, but Wlodzimierz “Vlod” Pabian, longtime owner of this Monterey clock shop, contends the noises keep him sane.
“Working on clocks for so long, it’s become a soothing background noise,” he says. “When the clocks stop, then I get aware of them. If they’re not working, I can’t work.”
Pabian, a third-generation clock repairman, has owned About Time since 1999 – “Ten years already,” he says. “Time flies.” But he has worked on timepieces in the area for more than 20 years. His uncle still owns and operates a clock shop in Poland.
The challenge of crafting pieces that balance beauty and dependability still makes him tick.
“I like the idea of creating something from hand,” he says, “making it functional, but also making it art.”
Repairing clocks, meanwhile, is more engineering and assiduity than craft and creativity. Often, he says, the hardest part is figuring out what is actually broken. Staying cool is key.
“Sometimes I just want to smash [the clocks] with a hammer,” Pabian laughs, adding that time stretches when he is faced with a challenging fix – he’ll skip lunch when consumed by a job. “It’s not about how long it takes. I just want to fix it. It’s just me and the clock.”
According to Pabian, the county is home to some highly regarded clocks.
“There are lots of rare, collectible time pieces [here],” he says. “This place has a lot of nice clocks and people love them.”
On any given day, About Time houses around 100 clocks – their average age being 150 years old – and Pabian has about 40 in his own collection. In at least one way, his passion for clocks transcends time: Despite being surrounded by time pieces, Pabian admits he doesn’t always know what time it is.