Is it a passion or obsession?
For me there is nothing as beautiful as a fine watch ticking away. Mechanical machines with tiny hand made parts, some so small that you can barely see them with the naked eye. No matter whether is hand wound, automatic or quartz watch I love them all equally . Once these watches get in your blood it is impossible to put them down.
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Since I was a little boy, I always loved tinkering with watches, but you can only learn so much tinkering and I had a lot of questions.
So at the age of 18, I decided to enroll into the British Horological Institute’s watchmaking school, the oldest continous running watchmaking school in the world. During their 2 year course I learned everything from watchmaking theroy,(the science behind watchmaking), to the servicing of both mechanical and quartz watches, the servicing of clocks, as well as making watch parts on the lathe and milling machines. It was this focused education that not only refined my watchmaking skills but increased my love for Horology.
After school I went to work for a major service center and started to learn the business side of watchmaking.
Even though it was like working in a sweatshop, with ridiculous quotas to meet it, was a great learning experience. I got experience working on vertically all brands of watches like Rolex, Omega and Breitling, but I got to service Seiko and vintage watches as well. It was there that I got my first real exposure to vintage pocket watches, which I love and collect, as well as many of the many quartz watches as well.
After 5 years I felt I had I had learned everything I was going to learn in that type of enviroment and moved back home to North Carolina.
I went to work for an old watchmaker in Wilmington NC named John Stossel. John was very old school and completely self-taught. John worked primarily on clocks and pocket watches and let me work on everything else. John was also a particularly good teacher and allowed me to work on the occasional pocket watch if thing were a little backed up in the shop. But the main thing I learned from John was how to treat customers. He worked on every piece as if it was his own and his customers loved him for that. After working 7 years for John, he decided to retire due to health reasons and we gave me his customers and I started my own service company and The Watchsmith was born.