No time on his hands

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Clock repair keeps local man busy

By Lisa King


Art Kile is crazy about clocks.

And keeping mostly morning hours at his Works of Art Clock Shop allows his business to run like clockwork.

The shop, located on U.S. 60 west of Shelbyville, right across the street from Claudia Sanders Dinner House, is open from 9 am. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, to free him up to make home repair visits in the afternoons.

Kile, who is originally from Pennsylvania, opened his shop in Governor's Square Shopping Center in 1999, when he relocated to Shelbyville to be near his son, Kent Kile, who had married a woman from Louisville and opened a sign shop here.

He moved the shop to its present location on U.S. 60 in 2007, he said, because he wanted a better location.

Kile served in the in the military in Germany, and he said that's when he became interested in clock repair.

That afforded him the chance to learn his craft from some of the finest clock artisans in the world.

Although he has a wide variety of clocks for sale - there are about 1,500 in the store -- his focus is on clock repair. He also has an assistant who repairs wristwatches.

When customers walk into his shop, they are greeted by a row of beautiful grandfather clocks, cases full of beautiful smaller clocks and a selection of cuckoo clocks that line the back wall.

"I have new, used and antique clocks," he said.

Browsing through his shop, one feels transported back in time by the many fascinating old clocks on display, such as a 1930 edition.

There are many clocks dating back to the 1800s and clocks with wooden gears, which were made hundreds of years ago, before metal was used in clockworks.

He even has what are called Atmos clocks, which are made in Switzerland, and do not need batteries, electricity or winding but run off atmospheric conditions, such as pressure and temperature.

"This one is a beauty," he said, stopping beside a grandfather clock and running his hand over its polished wooden case in admiration.

"I wanted to take it home, but my wife said no, because I already have too many clocks there now," he said.

Yes, he has about 500 more clocks at home.

Kile said the larger clocks, such as the grandfathers, are the only ones that he will service at customers' home, because they are too difficult for them to transport. He can remove their "movements" from the case to take to his shop to repair.

Kile speculated on why the clock repair business keeps him so busy.

"Well, some older clocks can't be replaced, and you can't get parts for them," he said. "So if you want to keep them, you have to get them repaired, like some of the grandfather clocks.

"You can't buy movements anymore. Also, there aren't too many people doing repair work anymore."

One of his favorite clocks is the cuckoo, and he said the only place he has ever heard of the actual bird residing is in Germany.

"The bird sounds just like the ones in the clocks," he said. "You can't tell the difference."