Independent watchmaking: the business of the minute

MONTVILLE, Conn. (WTNH) — Watchmaking takes patience, accuracy, and extreme attention to detail. It’s a vanishing trade now with new blood.

Brad Gehan and Jack Dorety started their own watchmaking business in the same Oakdale barn used by Gehan’s Grandfather to repair clocks and watches. Gehan says, “It’s mindful quiet work.”

He and Dorety met at the Lititz Watch Technicum – a watchmaking school in Pennsylvania started by Rolex more than a decade ago. The 24-year-olds are now trained in an industry where the average watchmaker is older than 55.

Jack Dorety says, “I always was drawn toward things which required intense manual dexterity.” Both sit side by side at the same desks used by Gehan’s grandfather and grandmother. Yes, she made watches too.

“So what I’m doing right now is just getting a general feel for the condition of this particular watch,” says Gehan.

Gehan and Dorety could have gone to work for a jeweler or high-end watch manufacturer but instead decided to open their own business, where they have the freedom to work on more challenging pieces. Gehan says, “It’s kind of neat when we get complicated stuff like this.”

They also enjoy offering a more personal service. Dorety especially likes seeing customers’ reactions when they get they get their watches back. “They’re so surprised at what you can do with a watch that is made so well. Refinishing the case, replacing the crystal, things like that can make it look just brand new,” says Dorety.

If there is a part they cannot repair or they cannot buy they also have the equipment to manufacture what they need.  Gehan says, “We see watches all the time that are 100 years old.”

After just a year in business these young watchmakers have already established a name for themselves they hope will stand the test of time.

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