So finally my apprenticeship was complete and I left the workshop with more skills than I’d ever thought possible. But I love to keep learning so I lived in Switzerland for the next 5 years, honing my craft and working with the best in the profession.
There were times when I took on watch cleaning jobs just to get the experience of working with them. I made no money to speak of but I considered it part of my education, something that would pay me back over and over throughout my life.
I love Switzerland and during those 5 years much time was spent exploring the mountains and trekking or skiing, depending on the season of course. Between these outdoor activities I learned to work on old, primitive clocks and became something of an expert in period time pieces. It is always such a delight to come across a unique, ancient clock that benefits from care and attention.
And it wasn’t just my love of timepieces that blossomed in that beautiful country. It was during those wonderful years that I met my wife Gelda. We courted for 4 years before marrying in a gorgeous traditional village near Lucerne. In honour of my love of watches, I wore a fabulous timepiece lent to me by a watchmaker friend. It was such an honour though I was terrified of losing such a precious item.
Once we married, we settled in Lucerne for a while, until my work took me to other parts of Europe, specialising as I was in ancient timepieces. It was a wonderful time for us both as we visited Germany, France, Spain, Monaco and England together.
Once in the UK we decided to put down roots and opened a workshop and watch showroom in Bristol. Gelda loves Somerset and surprisingly some of the hills in the area remind her of home, although I’ve never considered that county to be much like Switzerland. But it’s subjective and Gelda derives much comfort from walking in the Quantocks and it’s true there’s a lot of wilderness in parts of the West Country.
Our shop prospered, we had a peaceful and pleasant life, then along came two beautiful daughters to complete our dream existence.
Today we live in an unusual property on the banks of the River Avon, not too far from the City. Between us we run three shops and a busy workshop and have a good lifestyle.
I’ve been delighted that our two girls are also interested in timepieces. Adriana is become quite skilled at taking watches apart and her small hands are definitely an advantage. So I have hopes that ours will become a family business that’s handed down from generation to generation. It would be wonderful to think we had founded a business for the future! My children’s interest reminds me so much of my own childhood