Robert Corlin keeps a collection of vintage clocks on display at Watchbands Plus in Farmington Hills.

Robert Corlin keeps a collection of vintage clocks on display at Watchbands Plus in Farmington Hills.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Clocks are a vital part of a home’s decor

By: Maria Allard | Farmington Press | Published June 22, 2022

 Some homeowners prefer using alarm clocks.

Some homeowners prefer using alarm clocks.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


FARMINGTON HILLS — When furnishing a new home, clocks are often part of the décor. While they are functional to measure and indicate time, they also can be a decorative piece to provide the right finishing touch.

Some homeowners prefer to keep it simple with a basic design, while others go all-out with a clock that features pendulums and chimes. Displaying clocks that have been passed down as heirlooms also is common.

Robert Corlin, owner of Watchbands Plus in Farmington Hills, has been selling clocks, watchbands and watches since opening in 1987. Corlin also repairs watches and clocks. Over the years, the business owner has sold countless table, desk, wall and mantel clocks for the home. The two companies he orders from are Citizen and Bulova.

“Each company is owned by Citizen. They have been around over 200 years. I order on an as-needed basis,” Corlin said. “The clocks are made in Japan, and the movement (parts) could be made in Germany, Switzerland or Japan. The movement is what runs the clocks. Most of them are battery operated but not all of them. People like to see the hands running. The second hand, people are used to seeing it.”

Some clocks come with an analog style, which indicates time with a traditional clock face and moving hands. Digital clocks, which display a numeric representation of time, are another style. There are some clocks that come with weights that need to be wound up with a key once a week.

“When you wind it up, it takes the weight from the bottom and brings it up to the top,” Corlin said. “As it chimes and the hands move, the weights slowly drop to the bottom.”

Since clocks come in all shapes and colors for the home, there are many styles from which to choose. The wood finishes, for example, include mahogany, walnut or cherry. Corlin said he really doesn’t see any current trends when it comes to clocks.

“I have some people buy two or three clocks in one year just to have them. They think they’re cool to look at,” Corlin said. “Sometimes (customers) look for ones that chime, and sometimes they don’t want chimes.”

Outdoor clocks also are sought after for boaters and backyards. And like everything else, clocks have moved into the 21st century.

“Now you can get a smart clock that works with Alexa,” Corlin said. “You can get your alarm just by telling it.”

At the store, Corlin keeps a display of vintage clocks he inherited from family members. Many are from the 1950s, and Corlin’s personal favorite is a 1940s Place De L’Opera. The display is not for sale, but Corlin receives plenty of comments about them.

“It brings back memories for people,” he said.

Corlin said people need to remember to take care of their clocks.

“A windup clock, set it at the exact same time every week as a habit,” he said. “It’s better than letting the clock stop and the harassment of setting up the times and chimes.”

When walking into the Roseville Clock Shop, the chimes of vintage grandfather clocks welcome patrons. The family-owned business, established in 1975, offers expert clock repair and also has vintage clocks for sale.

“Ninety percent of what we do is repair,” Manager Mai Pin said. “We fix things to work like they used to work. They have to be perfectly aligned, or it won’t work. We do a lot of repairs on old American clocks from the 1900s. A lot of times, they just need to be overhauled. They get dirty and need to be cleaned.”

The customers who frequent Roseville Clock Shop bring in clocks that have special meaning.

“A lot of clocks have been passed down from generation to generation. People do like them for sentimental value. It reminds them of their childhood. People will remember that clock from being at their grandparents’ or their parents’ home,” Pin said. “Younger customers are more prone to buy something. People like the cuckoo clocks because their family has a cuckoo clock.”

If you have an antique clock, it’s recommended to keep it as authentic as possible.

“You don’t want to re-stain the wood,” Pin said. “You don’t want to change the face or hands. Keep it as original as possible.”

With the onset of cellphones, Pin has noticed that clocks aren’t used as much as in the past. Now “it’s more of a furniture piece,” she said. “The late ’80s and ’90s were a very popular time for grandfather clocks. Grandfather clocks were a furniture trend. Now, there aren’t as many places to buy them.”

Mantel clocks continue to be popular.

“A lot of people will put them on top of their TVs or on their dressers,” Pin said.