‘I have always had a passion for the people, their stories and their timepieces’ 

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Michael Taylor sits at his desk, explaining the mechanics of a brass clock with sun motifs. (Cayla Grace Murphy)

CULLMAN, Ala. – With decades in the business and hundreds of restored timepieces under his belt, Michael Taylor is beyond a tinkerer, and no stranger to the world of luxury timepieces and what makes them tick – literally. After cutting his teeth in the fine timepiece industry of Florida, life brought him to north Alabama, where Taylor’s Fine Timepieces exists today at 124 Seventh St. SW. His skill is widely sought after, with clients across the country sometimes waiting over a year for his expertise restoring heritage pieces, family heirlooms and classic watches. 

“Taylor’s Fine Timepieces was established to offer my expertise and skills to our community. I have always had a passion for the people, their stories and their timepieces!” smiled Taylor, who said that while he’s lived in Holly Pond since 2017, business for him in Cullman started just over a year ago. Business has been booming since, despite the growing trend of smart watches, and checking the time being as easy as pulling a smartphone out of your back pocket. 

Taylor said that like in any market, the popularity of clocks and watches rises and falls, but with a recent resurgence of collections coming available the industry has seen a renaissance. “I’ve also seen a rise in the watch market and clock market for high-end clocks and watches. They will always sell, especially rare ones, due to the availability of collections coming to the market, and good auctions with rare pieces becoming available again! It keeps interest up,” he explained, noting that part of the renaissance is the younger generation once again becoming fascinated with timepieces. 

“I have also seen a new resurgence in younger people wanting an analog watch to wear,” he said. “Whether it be a quartz or mechanical timepiece, I think that is great, especially to share the legacy of a brand when they choose a vintage timepiece.” 

Taylor said that despite younger people coming into the watch game, many high-end watch companies now want to support real collectors, not investors. 

“They are not catering to the watch flippers that could get on a waiting list to buy Rolexes, Omegas and Patek Philippe,” he said. “They seem to want to support the person who is passionate about wearing their product to enjoy a good watch!”  

Taylor is happy to provide dozens of clocks and watches he’s collected over the years and restored, in a variety of price points, as well as offer small repairs like battery insertion and fittings. He maintains that while he has a few favorites here and there for different reasons, the true favorite he has in his work is seeing the reactions of his clients after a family heirloom is restored, or a collector’s item is brought back to life. He doesn’t discriminate on brand, either – if it tells time, he’s happy to help.  

Michael Taylor, certified watchmaker and clockmaker and owner of Taylor’s Fine Timepieces, gestures to one of his most valuable clocks, estimated to have been built between 1870 and 1880 by Emilian Wehrle, a Black Forest clockmaker well known for his musical clocks. The clock is priced at $50,000. (Cayla Grace Murphy) 

“I used to have favorite watches, some not so expensive even. I have owned and sold some of the ‘holy grail’ watches that I hear collectors talk about today! But when it comes down to what I have worked on, it truly makes me happy to help a customer restore their family timepieces,” he said, noting a waitlist with over 70 people hoping to get their pocket watches and grandfather clocks restored.  

“No matter if it’s watches like Patek Philippe or Rolex, or even an old Hamilton dress watch, or maybe an old clock – like tall and long case clocks, mantle or even a cuckoo clock that a person remembers from 50, 75 years ago – nothing makes my job more satisfying than to see their face when the job is completed,” smiled Taylor. 

Taylor’s Fine Timepieces is located at 124 Seventh Street SW. Hours are Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.. 

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