Boonville watchmaker still working on 95th birthday


It’s a Monday to remember for Ralph Hutchinson. The Boonville watchmaker celebrates another day on the job, but this is no ordinary day.

“Oh, this is pretty easy,” said Hutchinson, twisting the tiny screws of a lady’s watch.

It takes him no time at all to pull the thing apart. He knows more than most; time is a precious thing. It flies by without a care, ready or not. It’s safe to say Hutchinson has spent a great deal of time worried about it.

“This is a simple fix, just put a battery in it,” he said about the next watch on the table. Sure enough, with a quick flip of the back cover, he has it ticking.

Ralph has been fixing watches since 1948 and on his 95th birthday, you’d think he might have earned a day off work.

Not today.

Hutchinson Jewelers got its start, sandwiched between wars. Ralph was on the frontlines of World War II in Germany and served in the Korean War.

Between the two wars he came home to learn his craft. “I had worked at Chrysler down here and didn’t want to go back, so I went to Kansas City to school.”

At a party on the showroom floor, there’s cake and punch and a host of family and friends celebrating. It’s obvious, the years have treated Ralph well.

He has hunched over his bench and tinkered with countless clocks for six days a week as long as he can remember. That’s almost 35,000 days, or 833,000 hours, or 50 million minutes.

There’s not a second wasted.

From the front lines of brutal war to the back bench of his pride and joy, Ralph Hutchinson will keep coming back as long as time allows.

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(This story was originally published August 27, 2018)

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