Douglas magazine February/March 2019

Page 46



Ellen DeGeneres does it. So do Bradley Cooper and LeBron James. It’s the passion and practice of vintage-watch collecting — a global movement with local experts and aficionados. BY CINDA CHAVICH


I NEVER THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT MY WATCH UNTIL THE DAY IT DIED. A sturdy, utilitarian Swiss timepiece, it’s been on my wrist for more than two decades, keeping me punctual for interviews and making sure I never missed a flight, long before the ubiquitous smartphone became the preferred method for checking time. How I broke a little hole in the crystal I really don’t know, but there it was, the tiny shards of crushed glass dancing across the watch face like a snow globe. It wasn’t a good day for my watch — the red second hand stopped in its tracks — but it did lead to a fortuitous meeting with a gaggle of young watchmakers and a glimpse into the amazing world of watch collectors.

I envisioned the Norman Rockwell image of a watchmaker, an aging gent surrounded by clocks and buckets of watch parts, peering through a loupe while tinkering with a tiny timepiece. That’s what you would have found here for most of the last 30 years, when it was home to Edwin’s Clocks and Watches and the beloved watchmaker Edwin Lee. Mossop and Trudel both learned their skills from Lee — Trudel worked alongside him here for several years. Mossop befriended Lee and, under his tutelage, was soon restoring rare watches and selling them online, eventually becoming a skilled watchmaker himself.

THE WATCH GEEKS When I first stepped into Victoria’s Meticulous Modern and Vintage Watch Repair, I was immediately struck by the group of youthful experts in the crowded downtown shop, all bent over the task of servicing wristwatches. They spirited my old Sigma away and a few days later had it restored with a new movement and shiny crystal, hopefully to live to tell the time for another decade or so. They also opened my eyes to the fascinating world of watches — the beauty and history of mechanical movements, the “quartz crisis” of the 1980s that nearly eclipsed the time-honoured art of horology, and the hot new market for old-fashioned, ticking timepieces. From the ebullient Tara Trudel and her young colleague Levi Sinclair, to shop owner and expert watchmaker Jonathan Mossop, Meticulous is ground zero for watch geeks. Not only can they quote chapter and verse on almost any watch ever made, they can fix them, even if it means hunting down or fabricating old, rare, irreplaceable parts. With the time displayed on every electronic device we carry these days, it’s surprising to learn that the oldfashioned watch repair business is booming. 46 DOUGLAS

 A Swiss-made, 1940s Minerva chronograph caliber 20CH in for repair at Meticulous Modern and Vintage Watch Repair.  Expert watchmaker and Meticulous owner Jonathan Mossop trained with renowned Victoria watch expert Edwin Lee, who had designed watches in Hong Kong before moving to Victoria where he ran his watch business for 40 years.

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