The clock in downtown Fairhope will receive a long-awaited makeover this year.Luis Valencia, a watch repairman and resident of Fairhope, found himself frustrated with the broken clock, which he said …
The clock in downtown Fairhope will receive a long-awaited makeover this year.
Luis Valencia, a watch repairman and resident of Fairhope, found himself frustrated with the broken clock, which he said had been out of commission for at least a year, if not longer.
"I called them about three months ago," Valencia said. "They told me that they were waiting on a company to come and fix it for months, but when they finally came the repairs only lasted a couple of weeks until it broke again."
Valencia, who was trained as a watch repairman by Rolex in 1987, now works at Brenny's Jewelry Company in Fairhope. He found himself inspired to lend his own expertise to repair the clock and restore the classic Fairhope landmark.
"I donated the clock in Chipley, Florida, where I lived before moving to Fairhope," Valencia said. "I know how to work on these things, and I like to take on challenges like that, so I offered to get this fixed."
He said he plans to update the clock, replacing the complicated mechanisms to make it easier to control.
"It's been there for a while, and the control is currently located at the welcome center," he said. "I plan to eliminate all of that and put the clock mechanism inside the clock to control it."
Valencia said he has already been in contact with the clock company to order the repair parts that are needed and hopes to have the clock up and running again in just a few weeks.
Valencia, who was born in Colombia and moved to the United States in 1968, has always been enamored with clocks and watches.
"I have been repairing watches since 1985," Valencia said. "I enjoyed working with my uncle, and I took very well to the watch repairs."
He eventually experienced a boost in his career in 1987 when he was trained and employed by Rolex.
"At age 25, I was very grateful to be invited to such a specialized training," he said.
Before moving to Fairhope, he spent 25 years in Chipley, Florida, with his wife, MaryAnn, and opened his own jewelry store there in 1993.
"About six years ago while vacationing, we fell in love with Fairhope," he said. "We sold our store in Florida and moved to Fairhope to semi-retire."
Valencia said that while he has learned a lot during his 38 years as a watch repairman, he enjoys any training courses he can attend.
"I have had the opportunity to attend many training courses. Some of my favorites have been jewelry making and diamond certification," Valencia said.
He added that some of the biggest highlights of his career have been buying and donating the city clock in Chipley and painting a mural on his building in Florida.