The International Writers Magazine: The Importance of Watch
ONE-MAN CHAIN GANG:
A DE MEDICI WATCH-CHAIN MAKER IN MICHIGAN
Most Rev. Dr. Antonio Hernández,
things of the past really shouldn't be of the past. Many things
accompany us through life, only to be dumped unceremoniously in
life's cruddy ravines. What a way to live! Our craftsmanship has
gone to hell, and there are many issues that bear the burden for
that. Our economy is cheap-and-easy-bake-oven, or as Dr. Cornell
West of Harvard puts it, "We live in a Denny's society: we
want it cheap, we want it the way we dictate, and we want it now."
As such, the glorious
pocket watch and chain have nearly gone the way of the dinosaur. Horrible
watches, battery-driven and ugly as sin, can be had at Kmart for $10.
The chains that come with these watches are too ugly for a postal worker
to use to carry keys. Recalling the day, I still see in my mind's eye
the gorgeous watch chains, thick as licorice sticks, and the "turnip"
watches. All gentlemen wore them: laborers and white collar alike.
I've worn a watch and chain all my life. In all my weather-torn decades,
I've run through my share of cheap watches. Growing up poor really sucks,
and anyone who says otherwise is a liar. The best thing I have left
is my Westclox Pocket Ben watch, circa 1954, still ticking like a time
bomb and keeping Greenwich-worthy time.
But I'm reduced to having it rigged to a pot metal key chain, and so
I really feel like the hobo I am.
Enter my latest discovery! Imagine, if you will, a modern De Medici,
a gentleman craftsman, a real guildsman, laboring away making watch
chains. For eight years now, he has been laboring at PROPER chains,
with the little T-bar to insert in your buttonhole, the drop chain that
is meant to suspend your favorite charm, and the swivel clip that never
lets your watch slip. With an alchemist's celerity, this modern wizard
of chains uses several types of link styles, and offers true gentlemen's
watch chains, along with fobs, fob chains and lots of other nifty stuff.
His name is Gary Di Cenzo, a true, confirmed descendant of the great
Cosimo De Medici. He is affectionately known as Slim (he says cheerily,
"So many people call me Slim that I almost forget my real name.")
Slim owns and operates THE COWBOY EMPORIUM, 1461 Oakwood, Sylvan Lake,
Michigan 48320, at http://www.cemp.com/chains.htm.
He has a loyal fan base (these are not mere customers) ranging from
re-enactors and stage folk to modern cowboys and engineers.
Slim is a true rarity among craftsmen, a bubbly, optimistic man who
laughs easily and chats comfortably. Complimented for being the only
man in the world, and a De Medici to boot, who hand crafts superb watch
chains, he modestly says, "I'm just a poor schmuck...!"
Far from it, my friends! His website boasts lovely photos of beautiful
watch chains. "I've cornered the market", he says proudly
but modestly- another rare gift among craftsmen of today. Slim is also
a master engraver, though he admits to using a modern machine.
To that I say, more power to him- any man who is divers enough to offer
custom engraving for your Glock or your clock is a man of power, indeed.
Like his ancestors. As he says, a simple internet engine search for
"pocket watch chains" will turn up his site at number one.
He is a Renaissance Man to end all Renaissance Men. As one who counts
himself as among the elite, I bow deeply to Slim.
The site happily speaks for itself: it supplies "...Cowboy Action
shooters, Historical Re-enactors, and Old West/Victorian aficionados."
So, whatever kind of pocket watch you wear, The Cowboy Emporium is the
only place to go for the right chain. Slim is as fine a fellow as God
ever formed, and his decently priced works of art are simply not to
be found anywhere else.
Slim tells a story of a horrible phone call he took one day. A fellow
told Slim, "I don't like your chains, but you're the only one who
makes them." Before he could even think, Slim calmly told this
fellow that if he didn't like the chains, he shouldn't buy them, and
immediately hung up on the sullen nimrod. Slim said to me that he didn't
know what came over him at that moment.
I said to Slim, "Well, of course you told him off! You're a craftsman
of the old world, not WalMart!" There is such a thing as respect,
and Slim is of the rarest variety of all: he is a man who shows respect
as much as he is worthy of it. If you cannot appreciate that, go find
chain at your local hardware store.
For everyone else, there can only be SLIM, at The Cowboy Emporium of
to the Thief
Antonio Hernandez on the GOP victory
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