Diary of a Newcomer

Episode 2; getting the inside story

I have now been with Harrington and Hallworth for just over a month and my knowledge of different watch brands and family groups is growing each day. I love discovering the rich history of these luxurious brands, but I also felt it was important to learn about the complex movement inside a watch, so I arranged a personal meeting with our watchmaker, John Gibney.

The man behind the work

The first thing I saw as I walked into his office was John hard at work servicing a watch. Each little part has been dismantled to show the true delicacy and art of making the timepiece. During a break in his work I found out more about John the man. I discovered he has been happily married for 40 years and has two children. He has a passion for music, which he often listens to whilst working as it helps him concentrate on the job at hand.

Decades of experience

John has travelled to many different countries, with the USA being his favourite. His other passion is motor vehicles and he owns both cars and motorbikes.

When I asked him how long he had been in the trade he told me he had been repairing watches for Harrington and Hallworth for 12 years but has been a watchmaker for a total of 44 years, starting in 1973 at the Irish Swiss Institute of Horology in Dublin.

Time takes its toll

I wanted to know why it is so important to service a watch, so that I could tell our clients about it. John explained to me that a service gives an expert the opportunity to take a deeper look inside the watch movement to find any problems and deal with any wear to the parts. He showed me a very interesting picture of a watch with figures on it that explain just why this is necessary. The figures showed that an automatic Swiss watch ticks 691,200 times per day, which means it ticks 21,024,000 times per month and 252,288,000 times per year. When I saw those numbers I realised it was not surprising that the parts of the movement wear down and need to be replaced.

Attention to detail

John talked to me about a job he was completing when I walked in and this showed the lengths a watchmaker goes to whenever he services a watch. The timepiece is completely dismantled and broken or damaged parts are replaced. The watch will then be reassembled, sealed, tested and cleaned so that it is ready for someone to enjoy again.

A matter of pride

I asked John one final question: do you feel a sense of pride when you finish repairing a watch? His body language told me all I needed to know. He suddenly sat up straight with a broad smile on his face, explaining that he takes great pride in his work and is immensely satisfied when a client brings in a watch worn down by everyday wear and he uses his years of experience to bring it back to life. He told me he often receives letters and cards thanking him for his work, something that once more makes him smile proudly.

I found John a very knowledgeable and experienced watchmaker with a great personality.

You’ll find more information about the watch repairs we can do here

Thanks for reading, until the next time!

Harry Pulfer

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