My name is Eric Unselt, and welcome to my website.
I'm a former electrical engineer who happily quit my job several years ago to restore watches professionally, nauseated by the corporate obsession with diversity and political correctness. Like the majority of my customers I am also a dedicated collector of our American timepieces that date from the mid to late 1800s.
I'm a firm believer in the preservation of our history and that American heirlooms should remain here in America; whether that makes me a patriot or a xenophobe is up to you to decide. I'm always in favor of doing things right the first time and think that quick fixes have no place in horology or in any other vocation.
This is the section where most watchmakers would list their many certificates, plaques, awards, diplomas, pedigrees, memberships in clubs, offices held in clubs, pictures of their shop tools, eBay selling history and feedback, watchmaking lineage all the way back to the Mayflower, and anything else showing their horological prowess.
None of that means anything if the quality of the work is poor and the attention to detail is non-existent.
I also own and maintain the Seth Thomas Research website, which was launched in 2015 to reconstruct the factory's 30-year run of pocket watch production around the turn of the century and was grudgingly recognized by the NAWCC as an online resource in 2017.
Pocket watches were not only an engineering marvel in a time before electricity and automobiles, but they were also a very personal item to their owners, who used them to mark all their daily events as well as life's milestones. These people carried them as they went about their time here on earth in sickness and in health, youth to dotage, at work and at play, in good times as well as the tragedies. There is history in pocket watches, not just personal, but national as well. Inventions like the telephone and discoveries like penicillin changed lives, the World Series was played every year (except 1904), authors wrote sweeping bestsellers, wars were fought, Presidents were elected, weather events destroyed whole towns, scandals erupted in polite society, and these vintage timepieces marked every one of those occasions.
This hobby that was such a delight for both the stories these watches could tell and for the amazing intricacies found in their gear trains is slowly being ruined because of sheer greed. There are those parasites who have gutted tens of thousands of these antique watches for profit, apparently lacking the skills to do anything constructive. Even worse are the bottom-feeders that swarm to buy their leftovers in the unending pursuit of bargains, failing to do the math that says otherwise. Novice collectors watch a few YouTube videos and then try to fix their own sometimes-rare pieces with Superglue and pliers, scoffing at professional "purists" who take the time to do it right. I stand against all of these disgusting practices, since I honor not only our history and my ancestors, but also the creative energies and dedication of the men who spent years inventing these mechanical works of art.
My father found this scarce Hamilton 993 laying in the weeds along the Erie Canal in New York over 40 years ago. He was a line foreman for the New York State electric utility company and was working storm with another lineman.
They both went for it, but Dad was quicker.
"I have never been so excited to see one of my collection come back to life. This one will be the most rewarding. I did a lot of research on different watchmakers and after a two month search I finally decided on American Timekeeper. Eric did not disappoint by keeping me engaged throughout the whole restoration process with amazing communication. I'm happy to say he is now my watch guy."
"After my father passed away this year, I was given my great-grandfather's pocket watch that had been stored for over 35 years. After combing through several websites of businesses that repair jewelry and watches, I reached out to Eric. The customer service, the communication and the personal concern over my family heirloom was exceptional. Not only is Eric an exemplary technician, he's a no-nonsense businessman that is honest about his work and provides his services at a value that seems impossible when compared to others. My great-grandfather's 12s Illinois is now timed perfectly, restored and displayed in my home waiting to be passed to my children. I wouldn't trust my watches, whether they are heirlooms or collectibles, to anyone else."
"I cannot overstate the level of professional quality and service I experience when dealing with Eric. His workmanship, knowledge, and attention to detail are more than impressive. 10 stars if I could!"
"Eric's work is to an extremely high standard, giving you a full breakdown on what work has been carried out. I know that if I send him a watch the attention to detail is way beyond my expectations. I can highly recommend Eric at American Timekeeper."
"Eric did a fantastic job with my Illinois Bunn Special. He answered questions, made recommendations, and did some amazingly intricate work/repairs. Attention to detail was top notch … no shortcuts here. I won't send my watch anywhere else."
"The reason that I send my watches clear across this continent for repair is that you can trust your precious antique to Eric. He gets it RIGHT the first time."
" As a new customer I can highly recommend American Timekeeper. Eric did an amazing job on this watch!"
"Eric received a Frankenstein that I purchased and had sent his way, and Yes, the watch had some major issues that were fixed and taken care of … awesome work."
"A big thank you to Eric for the most recent purchase of my Hamilton 992E! I have purchased several watches from him and I must say they are all beautiful and keep very accurate time, even better than some of my modern watches! I would highly recommend anyone interested in a vintage timepiece whether it be for a repair, restoration or purchase to reach out to him."
"Whether you are a collector of pocket watches, or have come into possession of family heirloom, you are making the right choice by sending to Eric for servicing. He takes the time and effort to make sure your watch is brought back up to factory specs the way the manufacturer would have wanted the repairs done."
"I knew nothing about pocket watches prior to visiting the American Timekeeper site. I found a Seth Thomas in my deceased Father's desk. The site had lots of information that enabled me to determine what I had. Eric was able to further determine the year of manufacture and provide other details. This was all before I had committed to have a restoration performed.
I concur 100% with the other reviews. What stood out first for me was Eric's knowledge. This man definitely knows his stuff and has no problem sharing that knowledge. The cost matched what was laid out on the website with no surprises, and Eric kept me apprised throughout the restoration process. Five Stars without hesitation!"
"Eric restored a treasured family heirloom carriage clock for us four years ago, when no one else could, after decades of trying. It still works perfectly to this day, a testament to his expertise and superb craftsmanship. Professional and knowledgeable, there are simply no better hands for your watch to be in. He is the best."
"As a resident of Columbus, Ohio, I began collecting Columbus pocket watches almost two decades ago, with a dream of someday finding an elusive 25-jewel example. (There were reportedly fewer than a hundred made before the factory closed in 1902). When an example finally came within reach - a neglected and abused relic - I knew I had to send it to American Timekeeper. It's now the crown jewel of my collection. I love to walk past the old Columbus factory in the south end of town where this grand watch was made about 120 years ago. I proudly take it from my pocket to check the time and smile."
"In my humble opinion as a seventh-generation family watchmaker and British Horological Institute-trained watchmaker, I consider Eric at American Timekeeper one of the finest old-school restorers in the business. His restoration of my Dennison, Howard & Davis timepiece was astonishing. His attention to detail from the bluing of the plate screws to the reshaping of the hairspring was nothing short of new factory standards. He has surpassed most of the skilled watchmakers that I have worked with over the years here in the U.S. and in the British Isles. I highly recommend him for your restoration work."
"Very professional and knowledgeable with a very quick turnaround. Excellent customer service and communication, always willing to share knowledge with the customer. Excellent attention to detail."
"Eric is a fantastic watch restoration expert! He has worked on several of my Elgin pocket watches, and they always come back looking and working like brand new. Truly exceptional! I highly recommend him!"
"I was ecstatic with American Timekeeper's restoration work on my 24-jewel Illinois Bunn Special. It always amazes me how Eric can transform an old weathered pocket watch and bring it back to life."
"To find someone that will treat your watch as their own from beginning to end you have to send it to Eric at American Timekeeper, and I guarantee that you will be thrilled by the results."
“Eric is an outstanding watchmaker, in the truest sense of the word. His horological knowledge is amazing, and he is able to completely restore your watch to “original” condition. I would trust my finest watch to his knowledge and craftsmanship.”
"I have bought many pocket watches from Eric at American Timekeeper. The prices are very reasonable and the watches are always better than advertised, arriving on time in great condition."
"I was left my grandmother's mantle clock that was not working. I sent it to American Timekeeper, and not only did they get it running, they fabricated a part in-house, and gave me a value and brief history of the clock. Now I sound like an expert when friends and family ask about the clock, and it runs beautifully. Thank you!"
"My watch arrived today and Wow what a beauty, even better than the photos on the Store page. Really nice touch with the burgundy velvet pouch for storing the watch in. Everything about Eric and American Timekeeper is top notch."
"Eric's level of knowledge, skill at his craft, and dedication to achieve perfection is very difficult to find these days. If you are looking for an old-world craftsman to return your old-world mechanical timepiece to original condition, then American Timekeeper is your answer."
"I want to give a big thanks to Eric at American Timekeeper. He was incredibly responsive and helpful to me as I was overwhelmed by all the things to learn in this new hobby. I don't know how I would have navigated all this without his generous and expert guidance. You may know him as the top Seth Thomas pocket watch expert on the planet, and you may be aware of his incredible Seth Thomas website. If you haven't checked it out, it is a must.
But he is so much more than that. He is a master at restoring any pocket watch. Visually he works magic on the movements, dials, hands, cases, making them look amazing. But mechanically he just blows my mind with his detail, precision, and knowledge in taking down and rebuilding the movement. Eric takes no shortcuts and does everything he can to get it as close to perfect as humanly possible. If you have a watch that needs an expert magic touch, don't hesitate to send it to Eric. I can't recommend him enough."
"This Waltham 21-jewel Vanguard is just one of the eight pocket watches that I sent to Eric at American Timekeeper. They all came back looking and running like new, with all the proper parts. It is hard to believe that these watches are well over 100 yrs old. It's a nice feeling to get your watch back knowing it has been properly taken care of by Eric. His craftsmanship really is the best."
"Eric is dedicated to absolutely perfect workmanship and authentic, factory restoration of our precious pocket watches. I have sent him many rare pocket watches and have been very satisfied with the results as he has always exceeded my expectations."
"Eric will restore your watch correctly, including fixing botched repairs. My watches now run wonderfully and are a joy to own and show off. He kept me informed on the problems he found and his progress in correcting them. I especially enjoyed the clear close-up photos he sent, showing the problems that needed correcting."
"This beautifully restored Waltham M99 is a typical testament to why I put my trust into American Timekeeper when it comes to servicing antique pocket watches. The watches that go through Eric's hands end up as close to perfection as possible. Eric possesses not only great technical skills but also vast historical knowledge about antique American timepieces and that is why his work is the best."
"Eric is the most thorough and exacting watch restoration provider I have ever worked with. His knowledge and workmanship are unequaled."
"Eric expertly repaired my antique pocket watch when I couldn't find anyone else to do it at a very reasonable price. He corresponded with me regularly, provided information about the repair, as well as historical information on the watch, and treated it as it was to me - a precious family heirloom. I can't recommend Eric enough."
"Over the years I have both purchased and serviced many watches from Eric and have always been amazed at the uncompromising quality, knowledge and attention to detail Eric puts into his craft. To put it more simply, I would most likely stop collecting these fine pieces if I didn’t have access to all that American Timekeeper brings to my collection."
"Just got my grandfather's 21-jewel Waltham Riverside back from service and repair from American Timekeeper. Couldn't be happier with service, communication, and value. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!"
"The trials and tribulations of finding a good watchmaker ended for me when I found Eric at American Timekeeper. A deep level of experience, attention to detail, high degree of communication and transparency, and above all else, doing the job right summarizes Eric’s work. Where most watchmakers draw the line or take the shortcut, Eric makes sure to treat the piece as if it were his own. I have sent several pieces to Eric, and have been delighted with the results every time. I can’t recommend American Timekeeper enough and he has made me a lifetime customer. Thank you, Eric!"