He said he especially feels that way about standing, grandfather or wall-mounted clocks which chime, ring or make a sound to signify the passing of each hour.
“These clocks are like living things in the home,” said Champion, who has been in the business of selling and repairing clocks of this type for 47 years in Douglasville.
“People become dependent on the hourly chime or ring of their clock and, if that chime or ring doesn’t sound, they know it immediately because that clock has become so much a part of their daily lives,” he said.
With more than 1,000 such clocks displayed in his shop at 3834 King Drive in Douglasville, plus another 3,000 in its storage area, the chiming of each new hour is a momentous occasion in the store.
Champion grew up in his father’s clock business in the late 1960s.
Around 1976, Champion began helping his father, a former Atlanta city firefighter who was injured on the job, to turn his hobby of clock sales and repair into a business.
One of their first business locations was as a vendor at the old Lakewood Fairgrounds in south Atlanta.
“One day, without permission, I packed and secured our car with the clocks in a strategic manner so they would not be damaged en route to the fairgrounds,” Champion said.
His father was so impressed with how he secured the clocks for travel that it became Champion’s job not only to secure the clocks but to unpack and assemble the clocks at the fairgrounds space as well as in the homes of customers.
“It wasn’t long before I could tell a customer anything about our timepieces, even knowing what type wood that was used in its construction,” he said.
“Nothing is more suited in these modern times for our link with nostalgia than the tradition-rich grandfather clock.”
Many such clocks have been passed down through the same family from generation to generation and are family heirlooms, Champion said
Another element of such clocks which make them special, he said, is that while many modern timepieces are electric or battery powered, most of the clocks Champion sells are mechanical and require winding, usually in a very specific way.
His shop has become a destination for visitors from the U.S. and abroad.
“The Internet has brought international visitors to our shop while many from the U.S. have gone hundreds of miles out of their way so they could visit us,” Champion said.
Since every clock in his store is for sale, many visitors have commented that they feel as though they are in a museum of quality timepieces.
“However, here, they cannot only view our displays but can purchase them and take them home,” Champion said.