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For the love of clocks: Bob Colvin's passion

Centerville clock maker
Centerville clock maker
Photograph taken by Danielle Coots

Bob Colvin, a Centerville resident brings back the love and creativity of clocks. Clocks are not just a device to tell time, but an art that Colvin has perfected. Recently retired from Wright Patterson Air Force Base, after 32 years, he now has time to dedicate to his hobby and recapturing time.

The history of clocks is a long journey and improved technology continues to change through today. In 1656, Christian Huygens, a Dutch physicist, mathematician, astronomer and inventor developed the first pendulum clock, which was first to be regulated by a mechanism with a period of oscillation making the clock more accurate than any other time keeping device of that time. Huygens invented the first wrist watch in 1675. Clocks have changed throughout the years, but the need for time has not.

“I have been making clocks for over 30 years. I just got into doing it a lot after I retired at the end of 2009,” said Colvin. “I built a little workshop in the basement and have everything I need.”

When talking about clocks, Colvin’s face brightens and his eyes twinkle. As he describes his clocks and the individual style of each, his pride shines. “I’m just fascinated by them. I just buy the movements and build something to put them in. I can put a clock in almost anything,” he said.

Each clock is designed from a different form of inspiration. Most of his clocks are wood -based and always natural wood; never pressed word or painted. He hand picks wood that has unique texture, color and grain directions to add character to each piece. He takes his love of woodworking and clocks and combined them to design a piece of art that has a multiple purpose.

In the past, his children would ask him to make clocks for wedding presents for their friends. For each of these clocks, he makes them special for their individual newlywed couple. His parents had a grandfather clock that was cherished by all the grandkids and the singing of the chimes reminded them all of their love. To cherish that memory, he designed and made a clock for each of his nieces and nephews that contained the same chiming song. He has made anniversary clocks, sports clocks, desk clocks and many, many others.

“One of my favorite and most memorable clocks I built was a clock made out of hammers that once belonged to my grandfather, father and my wife’s father. The hammers were just collecting dust in a box and I wanted to put them to use,” Colvin said. “It reminds me of them every time I see it.” The clock is the centerpiece of his woodworking shop.

To see a gallery of his work and the clocks available for sale, visit Bob Colvin Woodworks at Contact information is also available on the website.

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