Former NFL lineman Tom Neville tackles the jewelry trade
Former New England Patriots tackle Tom Neville may be starting a fashion trend with his preference for pocket watches like this classic, which sold in Patrizzi & Co.'s auction in October. This gentleman's Verger Frères perpetual calendar pocket watch was made in Paris circa 1925. It has a platinum case and displays the phases of the moon. It sold for about $9,000. Image courtesy Patrizzi & Co. Auctioneers and Live Auctioneers Archive.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Tom Neville's
wristwatch was giving him a callus.
It was the 1970s, and Neville was an offensive tackle for the New England Patriots.
Jewelry wasn't exactly his
But that callus was bugging the heck out of him.
That's when Neville
invested in a dapper antique pocket watch.
liked it so much, he
bought another, then another - and that pretty much changed the course of his
"I started buying watches while I was up there (in Boston) and started taking courses just to find out what it was all about," said Neville
, who has owned Tom Neville
The Source jewelry store in downtown Montgomery since 1983.
At a recent luncheon at the Capital City Club
wowed the Ladies Luncheon group with a display of some of his
treasured pocket watches - ranging from the 1820s to the 1920s - and jewelry pieces from the Victorian and Art Deco ages.
lived in Boston, a friend owned a jewelry store, and Neville
found himself spending more and more time there - on days he
wasn't roughing it out on the football field.
That friend suggested he
study to become a gemologist, but Neville
response at the time was, "Ehh ..."
Before enrolling, it just so happened there was a cancellation at the school, opening up a spot for Neville
Around that time, he
was playing in the George Lindsey Golf Tournament and met up with an old Lanier classmate, actor Jackson Bostwick (best known as Captain Marvel in the '70s series Shazam!).
Bostwick, who lived in Santa Monica, was able to help Neville
find a place to live.
"It was sort of a godsend," Neville
"Everything just fell into place."
After opening Tom Neville
The Source in 1983, this hometown native has become one of the top go-to guys in the region.
Not only for football reminiscences - but for jewelry.
Working in his
store in the old Union Bank building, he
has a customer base of more than 15,000 people - some who come from all over the United States, he
And clients aren't just customers, he