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A day in the life: Master Watch Restorer

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Current mood:
February 03, 2014 09:06PM
Hello Forum Members.

If you have read any of my recent posts since joining your fantastic forum you might be familiar with my references to "the old master"watch repairer.
I want to take the opportunity now to tell you all how much this guy has inspired, and encouraged me in this newly acquired passion of collecting Soviet timepieces.

When I first met him, just 3 months ago, it was very obvious that life was not treating him well. Living in a region of south Serbia that was once very prosperous but now is struggling with high unemployment, it was no surprise to encounter an individual who was beaten, depressed and tired of just keeping his head above the incoming tide.

Apart from the odd old man wanting his Poljot serviced, there is zero interest or demand for his services in our town of 100,000 people, everyone here wants flashy, big, and quartz.

No wonder he was somewhat apathetic to an approach from a strange , English speaker , enquiring about Soviet watches, at 0930 on a Saturday morning. We got chatting, he showed me his work room, stock, parts and tools - the rest was history really. I literally ran straight home ( all of 100 meters) and posted about a Serbian "mother load" of watches - just so excited after searching so long and finally locating - in my own street really , everything I wanted to collect. Great no signing up for paypal, waiting nervously for packages to arrive, possibly getting ripped etc - I was over the moon.

With the help of my lovely wife, we established a really nice friendship with the watch repairer and his family and got to visit many times during these last 3 months, purchasing approximately 65 watches in batches monthly.

Our business dealings are really relaxed, we eat fresh home baked bread, and drink great red wine, and look at watches, and I don't spend alot by western standards, but the extra money he now makes has visibly made a difference to his family's living situation in many ways. But the biggest change we have noticed has been a new found self confidence, his life has purpose again after virtually being run over by progress, fashion, globalism, capitalism-whatever these past 15 years.

Both his father and grandfather were watch repairs and he was introduced to the trade at age 7! His formal training began at age 17,(1970) in the capital of the former Yugoslavia, Belgrade. With Tito in power and the country a nice wee mix of socialism and capitalism, his training was entirely focused on the Soviet Unions watch industry and it was an exhaustive apprenticeship of 6 years.

After this he returned to our town in the south and worked in the family business up to the late ninety's. The Cafe next door to the family business was destroyed by NATO bombs in those troubling years, must have been a not so "smart" variety, anyway they drank and danced and didn't go to the underground shelters-crazy.

Around that time his father retired and he moved all stock to little more than a clay shed at his residential address, and that's where I found him in October last year, virtually retired, and all those lovely watches jammed into shoe boxes, plastic bags, shelves and drawers.
It is truly amazing seeing a lifetime of hard endeavour stored in his little shed. Wish I had some of the experienced forum members along with me because my knowledge is very limited, I do spot things like Vostok paddle hands, 3133 movements, Kirovskies, ЗАКАЗ Komandirskies, but how much do I miss I ask myself.

Got a good demo last week in completely stripping down a Raketa TV, a result of my trying to buff scratches out with toothpaste and overdoing it, got a slap and a lecture before witnessing amazing workmanship, lasted about a hour and blew me away.

So its all about a win/win over here for me, he gets to practice his art again and I get some great examples of a period I remember well having lived in Moscow in the mid eighty's for 2 years. I want to save as many of these watches as I can in the coming years, wifes helping by starting her own little collection tooSmile
Thanks all who have suffered this long post. Will continue to post pictures of my growing collection and attempt to be a well behaved member of this forum, anything I can do to help other members any time I am home from sea is not a problem. Head back to work end of this month so wont be posting again for quite some time(6 months)
My very warmest regards to all members and thanks for allowing me to be a part of this great hobby

A day in the life: Master Watch Restorer

Inserbia343February 03, 2014 09:06PM

I liked hearing this story. Thanks for posting it. (n/t)

Kenny L49February 28, 2014 06:58AM

What an inspiring story! Look forward to hearing more of your horological adventures! (n/t)

Anonymous User40February 26, 2014 11:44PM

He should advertise a repair service online...

Ed Brandwein58February 10, 2014 02:36PM

Thanks Ed

Inserbia51February 10, 2014 07:35PM

You don't know how happy your posts make me....

BobbyMike53February 11, 2014 03:10AM

Thanks man, we feel the same (n/t)

Inserbia56February 11, 2014 08:14AM

Great post. It's wonderful how this hobby can really get people to connect sometimes. Clapping! (n/t)

JFK353148February 09, 2014 11:06PM

Great story , indeed! Great watches, too! Cheers! Thumbs up! (n/t)

IF52February 04, 2014 07:21AM

Thank you so much for sharing this - just an all around wonderful story! Cheers! (n/t)

BobbyMike60February 03, 2014 10:48PM

Re: Thank you so much for sharing this - just an all around wonderful story! Cheers!

Inserbia61February 04, 2014 08:30AM

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