Visiting Thailand's oldest
active Watchmaker: Khun Prayong Nantakun
Today I had the unique chance to visit the oldest (?) active watchmaker of Thailand: Khun Prayong Nantakun at his home. A friend of my wife had organized the visit. After a longish car ride to the outskirts of Bangkok, we entered an unusually wide and clean side road with white painted walls. An equally clean patio led to this amazing watchmaker's studio, that also serves as a workshop, storage room, sales room, living room and home.
And this is what you see when you enter: clocks, clocks, clocks ...
And if you walk along the landing a bit further still trying to digest those first impressions, then you will be even more surprised to find a lot more: clocks, clocks, clocks...
Those are the clocks waiting to be cleaned,
restored, fixed, refurbished. By the way, the clocks bearing green sticker are
sold. Do not let the simple yet organized interiour trick you, that old
watchmaker sells probably (a guess from a friend) one million Thai Baht a month
worth of watches, that is around 25 K USD...
It is not only clocks that Khun Prayong fixes. If you have a problem with a vintage watch nobody wants to touch, Khun Prayong is your man. I heard a story, that he used a guitar to fine tune the song of an old minute repeater, a very practical and capable man indeed.
As you can see from my facial impression, I
was still trying to digest all those first impressions. I am looking here at an
old Omega 1925, with a silver case. Sorry for not providing a picture of the
watch, but we did not wanted to be too indiscret and shoot too many pictures.
Can you guess his age? 75 years! No, I do not ask you to guess my age...!
Behind Mr. Prayong's head you can spot a green colored workbench with drilling machine etc. If necessary, wheels are cut in-house here. And on the desk, there was an amazing collection of watchmaker tools:
Khun (that is the Thai address for Mr., Mrs.
and Ms.) Prayong works 5 days a week 10 hours at this desk and on Saturdays he
is at his booth at the Jatujak Market (also known as Weekend Market) in Bangkok.
And this is the chemical department: watch oils and greases. Anything you ask him to show you, it takes one move, and he finds it immediately. I really wondered what kind of sophisticated indexing he is using.
Go to Part II