Chuck Agnoff developed a devise that periodically rotates watches, replicating the movement of a wrist, allowing the timepieces to stay wound.
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – When Chuck Agnoff retired in 1995, his wife gave him a gold Rolex watch. But if he didn't wear if for a couple of days, it stopped working.
So he developed a devise that periodically rotates watches, replicating the movement of a wrist, allowing the timepieces to stay wound.
What started as a fix to his problem, turned into a worldwide business based in Wilmington.
The company, Orbita Corporation, manufactures the winders in Wilmington and sells them to watch dealers in European countries as well as China and Japan.
Agnoff was a part of the success story panel at the North Carolina Trade Promotion Conference held in Wilmington Thursday.
He said despite web technology that makes it easier to communicate with people across the globe, one of his keys to success is face-to-face contact at trade shows.
"You have to, basically, meet people and answer their questions directly, not through a tedious routine of paperwork and e-mails back and forth," he said. "You've got to sort of carry your product in your pocket, and fortunately ours is small enough to do that."
Of course, getting to those trade shows, many of which are held in Europe, requires air travel.
Agnoff said he believes more direct flights from Wilmington would help local companies expand into the global market.
"My favorite joke is that if you die and go to heaven, you have to be routed also through Charlotte to get there," he said.