Thursday, November 21

Watchmaker in Melbourne

I don’t know when my gold Citizen watch ran out of puff – it could be some years ago, as I chose to wear gaudy mostly purple watches for a long time – most of them bought at Adelaide Airport’s Terner shop next door to the Smiggle shop that appeals to the younger set.

The Terner shop has an array of jewellery, bags, scarves and other similar small fashion items for sale at around $20 – but in the past few years I have never passed without buying a watch, preferably with a purple band, though I do have a number of white or “snakeskin lookalike in black and white” ones – bought on the days I could not find a watch with a purple band that appealed to me.

In my moving to my new abode I came across the gold watch – looking pretty much the same as it did when it was given to me quite a few years ago, but the hands were stuck – immovable due to the “death” of the battery.  I know batteries can be a little pricey – and as always with my shortage of cash, I was slow in getting something done and carried the poor watch in my bag for months – planning to do something, sometime….

Walking down Bourke Street in Melbourne, I thought I’d try and find someone who would not “rip me off” with an expensive battery and went into a shop that sold watches and other gorgeous jewellery.  I ignored the beauty in the shop – just on a mission to get the gold watch back to work again. Sorry, we don’t do batteries, but there’s a watchmaker over there – indicating a corner not far away.

Off I set – enthusiastically – as I hoped that this would be the answer to my watch problem.  It didn’t take long to find – a tiny little shop about the size of a small bathroom.  I kid you not – how this guy could work in such a small place fascinated me. 

He sat behind the counter with an eye piece that I have seen “real” jewellers wear.  You don’t see that much in the new glittery shops.  A lady sat on a seat in the small space and two ladies carried on a conversation with both the lady on the seat and the jeweller.  I stood waiting for my “turn” – and they chatted on for a short while somewhat oblivious to me.  A man was waiting on the footpath in front of the tiny shop – one of the chatty women was his wife and he was getting impatient with her.  “Come on.  There are customers lining up” he eventually said as he put his head inside the shop.  He nodded to me, and added “This is the best place in all Australia to get your watch fixed – he doesn’t rip you off!”

Another two potential customers came.  Then there were three or four of us waiting on the footpath.  Quickly the conversation ended, and I went in with my gold watch in my hand.

“I think I only need a new battery” I said as I handed it over to the jeweller, I now know as Joe.  He peered at it briefly, “undid” the gold band and laid it flat on the counter before him, and then pulled off the back.

“Batteries are $15!” he said.  “Great” said I.

Within seconds our business was complete.  I had handed over $15 cash – and my now working – with time set to local Melbourne time – watch was soon on my wrist!  Yippee.

The little shop is Golden-Square, at 257 Little Collins Street, Melbourne.  The lady on the seat was his wife. 

Well worth going to!! 

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