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A thought about Chuck Maddox

  1. Bill Sohne Bill @ ΩF Staff Member May 13, 2023

    Hello Everyone

    It's been 15 years since my friend Chuck Maddox passed away. I watched Iron Man (2008) last night. It was released in the USA May 2, 2008 . I remember seeing the first trailers like a year before and thinking that it was going to be great.

    After the first trailer dropped, Chuck and I started to talk about the movie and how and what it could be. This was a topic of countless conversations with Chuck.

    Just for the record Chuck and I talked at least 5 to 8 times a day.. and some conversations were more than an hour long ( also talked Macintosh computers and sometimes Omega watches hahahaha). At that time I was a traveling salesman and I did alot of driving in my territory ( Eastern United States ).

    We were both excited as we got closer and closer to the May 2nd 2008 release date for Iron Man. The date came and we were both busy with work... and we kept putting off going to see Iron Man. I called him the morning of May 13th and told him I went last night to see it. I just said it was great and you need to get dressed and go. He replied saying. " he was tired and needed a little while.... " I called him back about 30 mins later and his sister answered and said " Chuck was gone".....

    I was in shock... My best friend who I was just teasing, I went to see Iron man, the movie we both waited almost a year to see and talked about everyday like school kids ..... Chuck passed away and never saw the film....

    I still miss him everyday, and the 15th anniversary is no different. Chuck passed away on 5/13/2008.

    Be safe

    Richard Borden, Syrte, nik_t and 96 others like this.
  2. Faz May 13, 2023

    Dear Bill,

    Thanks for sharing this very touching account of your relationship with Chuck. If I may say, you and Chuck share the very same traits of generosity and passion. I clearly remember that in my early TZ days (dare I say, more than 20 years ago?), I greatly benefited of both yours and Chuck’s curiosity in search for knowledge in the world of Omega and chronographs.

    I remember clearly the first time I reached out to Chuck when I wanted to purchase my first Speedmaster, I figured that he would be swamped by so many others trying to extract any kind of information. I was amazed at how quickly he responded to me and answered every one of my questions and every subsequent email! I dared sharing some observations with him on some of the watches I had purchased. He was humble enough to admit that his knowledge was sometimes anecdotal and that there was so much more work to be done. I found his website and contents to be the most interesting and resourceful at that time and I’m sure he laid the groundwork for others to carry the torch. The information today is astounding ( ;) @Spacefruit ). Of course, his loss is monumental in our enthusiastic world of watch collecting. He is dearly missed.

    I’ll end this by sending kudos to you Bill. Your intense passion over the decades can’t go unnoticed. Your generous sharing of knowledge is simply immeasurable.


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  3. SpeedyPhill Founder Of Aussie Cricket Blog Mark Waugh Universe May 13, 2023

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  4. sheepdoll May 13, 2023

    See my post in the "we need to talk about it thread."

    I thought about placing it here. But this is Chuck's thread. The important thing is Chuck lived.

    While I did not know Chuck other than what you have said on the chats. I got to tour the spaceX headquarters and Elon hand the Iron man costume on display. I wonder what Chuck would have made of Elon Musk fascination with Iron man and wanting to be an actual Mad Scientist benevolent super villain.

    As for the subject of Macintosh. I went to mount some HFS Macintosh floppy disk images. Only to discover that HFS is no longer mountable on the newer versions of OSX not even read only. The mac was a different thing 15 years ago. I wonder if I would have connected with Chuck. Did he also deal with Desktop publishing? Adobe and such things.

    It is also interesting to speculate on the nature of time. 15 years before I was born in 1960 WWII was still being fought. Although in the last days. I often see the destruction of Dresden listed as happening around that time. Of course none of that made any sense till I visited Dresden, which I felt a connection to. Another thing that happened was the opening of King Tut's tomb. Now these events are February events. Still as a child I would have nightmares of king tut chasing me down a hallway. (now I envision the coffin bouncing like the one in Dickens Tale of two cities made of India Rubber.)

    Not that any of this is relevant (but when am I ever relevant?) It is more about what the separation of time means. When we are 15 something that happened 15 years before seems relevant. Something 30 years not so relevant and something 3000 totally out there.

    15 years is also important in calendars. It is called the Indiction, and is where the word indited comes from. A vestige of Roman civil law where all debts are forgiven. Mortgages and prison sentences still retain this time fame from 300AD or so. It takes three numbers to date things in history. The number of times around the sun. The number of lunations (Lunar orbits or lunar days which is about 29 days.) This determines the calendar. As I recall these are called the Golden Number, the Epact and the Indiction. Leap years and month names are used to keep these in alignment with the seasons.

    I have no idea if Chuck would have found things like this interesting or not. Back in the late 1990s the Y2K bug was all the rage (It was found and fixed in 1980.) There were a number of watchmakers what came out with calendar watches. Some which had small glass vials of replacement disks, should the watch last another 200 to 400 years.

    On the other hand here we are almost a quarter of the way into the 21st century. Yet in some ways the 14th century seems just as relevant as the 20th, the 19th or the 17th. Was Beehoven and 18th or a 19th century composer?

    The older I get the more I come to believe in pre-destination. Small things can have large effects. We expect the world today to be the same as the world yesterday and will be tomorrow.

    I am sorry I never got to know Chuck. On the other hand I am glad to know such a person existed and touched so many.

    So much of what I have learned has come from books and those outside my own time bubble. I am glad I can now add Chuck to this group of acquaintances who never were and will always be.)
    noelekal likes this.
  5. Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. May 13, 2023

    Bill as someone I have grown to consider a friend, and knowing how much he meant to you, I can only come to the conclusion that it was my great loss I never got to meet Chuck.

    Tony C., airansun, rcs914 and 3 others like this.
  6. watchyouwant ΩF Clairvoyant May 14, 2023

    Chuck was a gentle Soul. His vast knowledge paved the Way for all of us.
    michael e, M'Bob, Bumper and 4 others like this.
  7. Franco May 19, 2023

    Exchanged mail with Chuck, always ready to help and have a good discussion. News were a shock, May he rest in peace.
    M'Bob and watchyouwant like this.
  8. M'Bob May 19, 2023

    Always incredibly generous, articulate, and thorough with his responses. Never snarky, impatient, arrogant. He is still missed for his contributions to the community. Thanks Bill, for reminding us. I dug this email correspondence from January of 2004. It’s important to remember, too, that much of his information was garnered before everything was available and posted on-line. There was a lot of old-fashioned digging and research that made him the quintessential expert of his era. Just an example of how gracious a guy he was:

    Hi Chuck, In large part to your generous sharing of information, attached please see my Speedmaster 125 with an original bracelet. As you said, the watch is heavy, but surprisingly comfortable, and I've been wearing it for hours now and often forget it's on my wrist. I'm curious if your center minute totalizer works as mine does: rather than "click" off the minutes, it just glides through them, as a normal minute hand would do. Is this right? Bob.

    Hi Bob. Yes, this is correct and is consistent with the Omega 1040, 1041 and 1045 (Lemania 5100 Movements). They basically are linked to the watch's minute hand, not a cam that increment's it like a Valjoux 72 or Lemania 321 or 861. That's normal and as expected. I'm pleased that you liked it, it's in nicer shape than mine is too!


    Hi Chuck, I know with the Rolex auto movements, if they've wound down, they tell you to manually wind the movement about 15 times to get it going. Would this be about the same with these 1040 based movements?

    Hi Bob, you can probably get it going with as few as 15 winds, but a full reserve will require between 40 and 80...

    Cheers Bob!

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  9. rcs914 May 19, 2023

    Bill -

    Sometimes the "like" button just isn't enough. Time can make the ragged edge of grief grow dull, but the wound always remains tender. I lost my dad 11 years go this July, and it still hurts because it was so sudden and unexpected, and so many conversations and experiences together simply could never happen. I am glad for your sake that you had such a good friend.

  10. Fish70 May 19, 2023

    I fell in love with the Speedmaster "Mark 4.5" reading Chuck Maddox's site back early 2000's. It took me 15 years before I found the right one and I still look at his archived articles sometimes.

    Nice Jacket.jpg
  11. meglos Jun 2, 2023

    When I first got into mechanical watches in college and soon after the Omega bug bit hard but I didn't have the money. My dad gave me his old Girard Perregaux Gyromatic. It hadn't ran in a number of years after he tried (and failed) to regulate it. I was lurking on Time Zone Forums circa 2002-2003 and noticed that Chuck was friendly, helpful, a fountain of knowledge, and in the Chicago area too. I emailed him for thoughts and advice.

    Since Girard Perregaux USA had no interest in helping with a 50's or 60's Gyromatic he referred me to a local watchmaker that he said would treat me well. The local watchmaker was very diplomatic but said there was so much damage to the watch from the failed regulation and parts weren't easily available it wasn't worth fixing. He recommended buying a similar model for about $200-300 off Ebay either as a donor watch or as a replacement.

    I didn't email with Chuck much after that but he did make sure that a young, recent college graduate short on money went to an honest watchmaker that wasn't going to try take advantage of me.

    Our lives only briefly intersected and only online but I still think of his kindness to help educate a young kid trying to learn the hobby.

    P.S. His website of Speedmaster information back then was incredible.
    Shabbaz, Bill Sohne and Fish70 like this.
  12. keepsonticking Jun 10, 2023

    Chuck was a good dude. I, too, considered him a friend, but I don't even speak to my wife 5 to 8 times a day. (maybe some days) I emailed Chuck with questions and sent photos of whatever I'd found on a given day over a period of several years. I do look back wistfully at the days before Speedmasters were dissected to the point at which I moved away from collecting them after 3 decades or so. Chuck's enthusiasm for Speedmasters was contagious. I enjoyed finding and buying them in the pre-"I think it's been polished days." Sigh.
    Richard Borden, Bill Sohne and Fish70 like this.
  13. Walrus Jun 29, 2023

    I didn’t know Chuck but he sounds like he was a nice guy. The Iron man thing conjure up images of my best buddy John (meathead) he was 17 I was 16 and we were in a band bound for fame. We worked at the same restaurant after school and meathead got uncharacteristically serious and said “Jim I need to tell you something.” At that moment our boss walked in John said “I’ll tell you tomorrow.” John died that night on the way home from work.

    For years it really bothered me I didn’t know what he wanted to tell me that was obviously important to him. Decades later it still crosses my mind. Perhaps I will find out someday and who knows, maybe you will be able to see Ironman with your friend. There is so much we don’t know about what’s to come.
  14. Pascal S Jul 14, 2023

    I was on a trip to the US when you posted this, and therefore missed this sad milestone. And yet, there's rarely a day when I don't think about Chuck, and our stillborn plans to finally meet in real life during one of my trips across the Pond.

    Over a few years, we had built what I would define as a true friendship. I first got in contact with him to ask him about the Lemania 5100 movement, a calibre we were both very fond of. At that time, the Omega Speedmaster left me a bit cold, but he often teased me that it was just a matter of time. And I remember how amused he was when I confessed that I had finally had my epiphany. He's the one who pointed me to the particular timepiece that was to become my Speedmaster, a watch I finally got back last year after almost a decade-long separation (long story).

    Over our large e-mail correspondence, we also found out that we shared other interests. Like him, I was a fan of Apple products, and we had similar tastes in vintage cars. I really think we would have had a great time meeting, had we been given that opportunity.

    At the time of his passing, I was somewhat active in the Sim Racing community built over the Nascar Racing 2003 game. And in memory of my friend too quickly departed, I had a car painted in his honor. A Ford, of course.

  15. timeismoney Jul 15, 2023

    I haven't been on the Forum in a while but saw this article and feel compel to write this @Bill Sohne. I recalled finding Chuck's treasure trove of Speedy information back in the day and really got hooked on the Speedy Mark series (and still do). Even now after all these years, I would go on the archives and click on those links that work and read his articles. I never knew him but his writing is such that one can feel a kinship with his enthusiasm for whatever that he was writing about.

    A great loss to the community for sure.

    Take care,

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