So I took on a really great opportunity last month to film a full service of an old Admiral Pocket watch for a client. I’ve been wanting to offer an immersive watch repair experience for people for quite a while so this was a great first step.
I’ve always appreciated a good leather strap. It’s that extra part of wearing a watch where we can take some creative licence and express ourselves. So I decided to flex my creative muscles and start making leather straps myself. Leather craft! What a world!!
Now this is a unique story in the world of watch repair. However, I feel that over the next few years, this type of anecdote may not be such a rare occurrence. The world of counterfeit and fake watches is a billion dollar a year industry, and it is positioning itself as a very real competitor for those established and historic watch brands. In some cases, such as this, the established brand shoots itself in the foot by producing a sub-quality product under an assumed standard and the counterfeiters have no choice but to out-perform.
For the last 5 years, I have been honing my skills and absorbing all that is watchmaking, and over the past several months, I have taken on the task of building my own Watchmaking business. I know that the time is right for the birth of “The Dialed In Watchmaker”. This is an account of my experience thus far, starting my own workshop and watch repair business in an age of viruses and systemic societal disorders.
I often get asked by people, as a watchmaker, what watches do I collect and why. We all love to talk about our watches, so I thought I’d take this as an opportunity to go in depth and talk about the watches in my very own collection. I wanted to talk about these 10 watches, how I chose them and why they’re important to me. So sit back, grab a coffee and have a go. Click on the watch you’d like to read and about, and please, let me know what you think. Happy reading!
Now, I waited to showcase this watch not because it’s #10 but really, because it’s #1. This is the watch I “go to” when I want to wear a watch but have nowhere “to go”. The conversation among watch lovers is that we all dream of the One watch and most of us never really find it, no matter how much we spend or how long we look. There’s always another one waiting down the road (this opens up a conversation about the expectations we have on material things to bring us joy. I’ll save that for another blog entry). This watch for me will always be a one of a kind and cherished keepsake, not just because its rad, but because I had the honour of being part of its conception, development and manufacturing. Talk about being in the right place at the right time!
It’s no secret that I love chronographs. It’s the one complication that I just can’t get enough of. There are countless variants and approaches and I love the beauty and complexity of the differing systems of levers and springs. I’m amazed at how many different styles and types of chronographs are out there. All doing a similar function of timing something. Column wheels and vertical clutches, cam systems and automatic integration. It’s poetry really.
Some watches you just gotta have while others grow on you. Some you regret buying and others you could never afford. Some watches don’t make an impact but others define you. But can a watch take you hostage? That’s exactly what this Vulcain Chronograph did to me.
This 1969 Omega Cosmic is the watch I wore when I got married two summers ago. Now, being a watchmaker, the choice of which watch to wear for such an important day comes with an added pressure. It’s gotta be technically advanced and socially interesting. It has to have some of my own DNA in it as well as a fresh perspective. It needs to look amazing and it needs a good story. Check!
When I was a watchmaking student, I was very hungry to possess anything and everything watch related. I wanted every tool or movement that I could get my hands on. I was addicted to the wonder and magic that is horology, and this tiny world that I had grown to love, just seemed to offer more adventure everywhere I looked. I would scour through flea market stalls and garage sales and would scoop up anything that had a mechanical movement or some semblance of one (the bag of Timex movements is testament to my cute naivety). There were a few other students at school that shared this same enthusiasm. One guy (Serge), was a “mature” student who had, over his life of watch love, collected many pieces and busted up watches. He surprised us one day with a couple boxes full of various watches and movements that he let us to, like vultures in the desert. We all flocked to the boxes and respectfully took turns claiming movements, cases, and parts. I managed to claim about 20 or so movements and full watches. This was very useful to me as I later used many of the pieces to restore and fix several watches. Most of the movements just ended up in my parts box and I would visit it every once in a while when I needed something.