With over 35 years of diverse engineering experience, I've journeyed through roles as a blacksmith, tinsmith, welder, and fabricator. My projects have spanned from crafting spiral staircases to constructing bomb-proof window frames in the House of Commons. Along this path, I found my home with watchmaking.
I honed my skills during a two-year watchmaking training at Epping Forest Horology Centre (EFHC), supplementing this education with countless hours in my home workshop, with more esoteric and complex watches.
In a previous role, I facilitated groups and providing education in detox and rehab units across London. Over time, I evolved into a keyworker, focusing on supporting individuals whose lives had taken unexpected turns.
My role was multifaceted, involving the facilitation of group sessions. I embraced the role of a keyworker, working closely with individuals to provide personalised support tailored to their unique circumstances.
It was a rewarding and impactful experience, rooted in the belief that everyone deserves a chance at a brighter future, regardless of the challenges they may have faced.
Four years ago, with the skills I had acquired with engineering, watchmaking and keyworking, I embarked on a new chapter, sharing my knowledge by writing and teaching a structured weekly evening class at EFHC, introducing complete beginners to the art of watchmaking.
With the success of the first-year course, this led me to develop a second-year course, a natural progression from the initial curriculum. This advanced course focussed on more complicated automatic and chronograph watches, as well as precision repairs involving the fabrication of keyless work, replacing jewels and balance staffs. Techniques such as using a watchmaker lathe for tasks like boring and re-bushing worn pivot and arbor holes, and dynamic and static poising of the balance, are covered in-depth. These skills, along with many others, are not easily found online.
Two years ago, I founded the London Watchmaking School in South London, creating a space for individuals of all skill levels. From complete novices to seasoned professional watchmakers looking to enhance their technical and theoretical understanding, our courses cater to diverse interests. The classes, limited to six students, take place in the evenings within a well-equipped watchmaking workshop.
This school is not just about learning; it's a platform for individuals to discover the theoretical and practical aspects of watchmaking, empowering students to eventually service their own watches, through hands-on, in-person and online education in an environment tailored for optimal learning.
Beyond my role as a watchmaking tutor, I enjoy the hands-on practice of servicing and repairing a wide array of watches. My expertise spans the spectrum, from modern timepieces to vintage treasures, encompassing everything from straightforward hand-wound mechanicals to intricate chronographs, even including the servicing of quartz watches that are obsolete.
My specialisation lies in the restoration of vintage Rolex and Omega watches, a process that involves breathing life and love back into timepieces that hold both historical and sentimental value. This extends to watches that have endured significant water damage, requiring intricate attention to the movement, dial, and hands.
For me, watchmaking is more than a job; it's a manifestation of love made visible. It's a belief that each watch carries a unique story, rather than just a collection of cogs, wheels and springs.
Click on this link to have a look at my page about the evening courses and weekend taster days:
This Omega Seamaster 503 from the late 1950's had taken on a lot of water and needed each part carefully disassembled without damaging anything further, then patiently all rust and tarnish was removed before assembling and breathing life back into her.
Fortunately, this watch needed very few parts to bring her back to life again and hopefully she'll keep going for another 70 years...