Time-honoured tradition: Getting lost in The Watchmaker is time well spent

In a world where social distancing is the new norm, life - and watch repairs - must go on.

If you've walked through Windsor Mall this year, you've no doubt been in to The Watchmaker, a small-yet-jam-packed store that sells collectibles for the home and garage, and provides a watch and clock repair and rebuild service.

It is run by Anthony, a Kurrajong local who comes from a family of horologists (those who study time).

"I've worked on clocks that are over 100 years old," Anthony said. "There's no limit to how old a clock can be for us to work on it."

It also doesn't matter how time consuming a job is; if you take it to Anthony, he will take it on.

"A lot of watchmakers in my industry won't touch clocks that are time-consuming [to repair], but I tailor the pricing to suit the individual. Repairs can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, so you never know how long it's going to take until you get stuck into it."

Anthony has worked on some unusual pieces in his time - some that weren't even clocks at all.

"Someone brought in a mechanical train - I'd never done anything like that before, but I fixed it," he said. "It was very similar to fixing a clock."

Anthony uses a variety of tools, some very tiny. These include Swiss-made screwdrivers from watchmaker tools brand Bergeon, and timing machines from Witschi.

"They're very expensive and the most reliable," he said. "Timing machines are what you regulate watches with. You know when you wear a mechanical watch or a new one, and you notice it's losing 10 minutes a day, even when it's fully wound? You need to adjust and regulate it so it keeps accurate time. The timing machine rates the watch and tells you how the watch is performing."

Anthony's family has a chain of watch shops around Sydney and Canberra. He did an apprenticeship with them, then studied the profession.

"My family gave me the tools and the knowledge but I entered the career off my own bat," he said.

The store is a treasure-trove of antiques and custom-made knick-knacks, everything from bespoke clocks to collector lounges and one-off lamps and antique money-tins.

"My house is actually pretty clutter-free," he said. "I keep it all in the store.

"If I had a garage at home, this is the sort of thing I would keep in it. But instead I keep it at the store, and spend a bit of time with it and then sell it on."

Anthony started his own watch brand in 2016, called the Barber Shop Watch Co.

"It's a Windsor-based brand, and we based the brand on the design of a barber shop," Anthony said.

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