A Chester County old-timer who likes to design and sell watches has parlayed his zest for President-elect Barack Obama into the Obama inaugural watch.
Mickey Orloff, 98, said yesterday from his Valley Forge home that he likes what he sees in Obama. And, he figures, why not make a little money from the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration?
"I'm all cooked up about Obama," said Orloff. "I think he's our savior; I truly believe he has the talent to do what he promises to do."
The watches are to be shipped from Hong Kong by Monday. Samples show they have an imitation leather band and a quartz crystal. They run on a one-year battery and sell for $29.95.
The watches are numbered 1 to 400. There will be no more when the 400th is sold, so time, Orloff said, is of the essence.
What makes the watches different from a typical Timex is the inscription: In place of numerals 1 through 12, TIME FOR OBAMA is inscribed in red and black letters on the clock face. The back makes reference to the Jan. 20, 2009, inauguration.
The commemorative item is one of the "message watches" that Orloff has developed. Samples on his dining-room table include the 9/11 watch, the rainbow watch with appropriate coloring, the "time for Jesus" watch, and a watch that can be worn around Fido's neck.
Orloff was an artist in the Army during World War II, but someone told him he couldn't make a living at it, so he became a jewelry retailer at 706 Sansom St.
Then he formed his own company selling watches to big stores such as Strawbridge & Clothier, and had his four brothers working for him. The firm would buy assortments of watches at $12 apiece and resell them for $19.95.
"It worked for 15 years," Orloff said. "But when Ike Eisenhower raised tariffs, it put us completely out of business."
Orloff went to work as vice president of sales and marketing for Elgin Watch Co. and retired after 27 years. Now, he writes poetry, immerses himself in his artwork, and designs watches.
Orloff said he created a smaller watch for women because he admired how they volunteered in droves for the Democratic candidate.
"If anyone should be thankful for the women of this country, it is Obama," Orloff said.