Archive for March, 2017
When a door closes, a window opens.
Watchmakers and clockmakers are a solitary group for the most part. We spend a good amount of our day or night working by ourselves, with little interaction with other people. That six square inches that so much of our time is spent working in can become very lonely. That is why it is good to take a break and call a fellow craftsperson, because he or she will understand what you are experiencing. We have a lot of time to think, and sometimes “stinking thinking” creeps into our lives. We must do everything we can to keep our minds on the positive things that are going on in our lives and around us. That is why I keep a book of motivational quotes close by.
I find it very therapeutic to take a timepiece that has not run for years, or that the customer has been told cannot be repaired, give it a good servicing, make the necessary repairs, put the balance in place—and it comes to life. That is my reward.
Why do we look at our situation and say the sky is falling? How many times have you missed a repair job because of parts? Did you take the job in and attempt to find parts, or did you just turn the customer away? Who knows how much business you may have missed by that one act? Many times I am reminded of the children’s story of the boy who cried wolf so often when there wasn’t a wolf that when there was one, no one listened to him. Do we cry wolf, or do we try to find a solution to our problem? We can moan and groan about the parts situation and get our blood pressure up, but the problem is still there; and it will be there until someone wakes up and realizes that they need us. Meanwhile, let’s continue to do good work and educate ourselves to be the very best we can be. I have only missed a few jobs because of parts, thanks to my network of people. You can say the sky is falling or do something to improve your lot in life—it is up to you.
Throughout history our industry has had its ups and downs. In the 1960s the quartz watch came on the scene, and many a good watchmaker left the business, never to return. Watchmakers heard there would not be a need for a repair for years. (There were three watchmakers in the small town of 5,000 people where I lived at the time, and today there isn’t one left.) I too left because you could not charge enough to make a living at the bench. My second career gave me a good education in sales and sales management and working with people. When a door closes, a window opens; seize the opportunity. As horologists, we have gone through the “good ole’ days” when parts were readily available. There was a time when the brands begged us to buy genuine parts because the generic parts were so well-made and sometimes cheaper than the genuine. The downside was there was a flood of watchmakers in the marketplace, and it was difficult to make a living. I knew one watchmaker who worked 12 to 14 hours a day to support his family. So, were the “good ole’ days” the best? In many ways they were, but some things were not as good as today. We can always find something to complain about, or we can look for the good. For many years there was a plaque that hung on the wall in my office. It simply said: “The sun always shines after the rain.” So look for the sunshine.
Jewelry Store Robberies Lead to First Fatalities of 2017
Two separate robberies occurred in late January marking the first jewelry store robbery fatalities of 2017 reported by Jewelers Circular Keystone. The first occurred January 21 in Henderson, Nevada, at a location of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. A man brandished a gun inside the store. When a store security guard intervened and attempted to shoot the robbery suspect, the security guard’s shot missed the robber and accidentally struck a female employee who later died from her injuries. The suspect escaped the scene without any cash or jewelry and was still on the loose at the time of the report. Authorities were checking surveillance footage from nearby businesses to try to track down the suspect. The second robbery took place at a Kay Jewelers in San Antonio, Texas, inside the Rolling Oaks Mall. Two armed men entered the store attempting a robbery when Jonathan Murphy, a former Marine, intervened. The Marine was a customer of the store who was there with his wife to get their rings cleaned. The Good Samaritan was shot and killed during the struggle. Another shopper, who is licensed to carry a concealed firearm, shot and wounded one of the robbers while the other fled the scene. The wounded robber was apprehended at the scene, while the second robber was apprehended a short time later after crashing a stolen car. Both men are being charged with capital murder and aggravated assault.
For tips to prevent jewelry store robberies or minimize damage:
More Management Changes at Richemont Brands
Amid the rocky landscape that is currently the Swiss watchmaking industry, Richemont is continuing to make management changes affecting many top brand CEOs. In separate reports from Reuters and Bloomberg News, the CEOs of Dunhill, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Piaget, and Vacheron Constantin will be changing in the next few months. Two CEOs will be retiring, Juan-Carlos Torres, of Vacheron Constantin, and Philippe Leopold-Metzger of Piaget, while Fabrizio Cardinali of Dunhill, and Daniel Riedo of Jaeger-LeCoultre are leaving to “pursue other opportunities.” The weakening demand for Swiss luxury watches is being blamed for many of the changes. Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert was quoted speaking to a group of investors, talking about the board of directors, “I want to see less grey men, less grey Frenchmen, as a subcategory,” and “We have too few women. We don’t have enough diversity.”
Citing the event’s own website, “The Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie is the year’s first gathering of professionals in the watchmaking segment. Held in January, it sets the tone for the twelve months to come as it rolls out the latest trends.” It’s a chance for some brands, typically Richemont brands with a handful of independent watchmakers, to debut new product before the larger and more accessible Baselworld show. The show is five days of wining and dining, along with mini boutiques for each brand amid luxurious hallways. Here are a few watch highlights for the 27th season of the event. The Panerai LAB-ID Luminor 1950 Carbotech 3 Days, containing a movement with bridges made of ceramic-like material and escapement components made of silicon. The watch movement requires no lubrication and comes with a 50-year guarantee. Greubel Forsey debuted their first watch with a chiming complication, the Grande Sonnerie, which also manages to include the brand’s signature inclined 24-second tourbillon. Montblanc came out with the limited edition TimeWalker Chronograph 1000, a chronograph that can mechanically measure and display the time accurately to the 1000th of a second. Vacheron Constantin followed their recent trend in setting the bar for the rest of the watchmaking community by debuting the most complicated wristwatch they have ever made to supplement the most complicated timepiece ever made that they produced in 2015. Only one version of The Les Cabinotiers Celestia Astronomical Grand Complication 3600 has been produced so far. It features 23 complications, and sold at the show for over $1,000,000.
Rolex was a Main Sponsor at Academy Awards
Rolex significantly expanded their sponsorship role for the 89th Academy Awards. Last year Rolex was brought on as a sponsor of the Oscars Greenroom, a backstage hangout for the celebrities and their guests. This year they continued to sponsor the Greenroom but were brought on as a main sponsor for the entire event. Rolex has a dedicated amount of philanthropic funding set aside each year for support of the arts, some of which is spent on the filmmaking industry through the Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. The 89th Academy Awards was broadcast on Sunday, February 26 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Aaron Recksiek is an independent watchmaker in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is a graduate of the 2008 WOSTEP class at the Lititz Watch Technicum.