watchrepairer

NagarajaWatch Repairer

A craft of microscopic
proportions

“There are a lot of factors that go behind the ticking of the watch,” Nagaraja stated, as he sat in his small watch repair shop, measuring 5 ft. X 10 ft., in Bengaluru. His job requires a lot more than just changing the batteries or cleaning the watch’s internal mechanism. “Often, I have to work with micro parts to repair the watch, and I do it all with hands and some tools that I work with. There is a small microscope-type instrument that acts as my third eye and lets me look at the smaller details with more precision,” he explained.

Having learnt to repair Quartz and mechanical watches from a neighbouring watch repair centre, Nagaraja began working part-time as a repairer, while continuing his job at a kebab shop in the city. He is the only one in his family who has taken to repairing watches. As a result, he had to face many challenges during the early stages—from difficulties in figuring out the ‘why’ behind a stalled watch to a constant pressure to upgrade skills. Through it all, Nagaraja has relied on his community of watch repairers. “We share a good bond where we learn together and work on challenging repair works and that is how we all have been surviving till now in the repair business,” he said.

“Often, my clients will bring watches like Swiss or TAG, and the biggest factor is trust when it comes to repairing such watches. I will always be honest and keep the process transparent with my clients—one of the reasons why my customers keep coming back to me.”

To not miss a single client, Nagaraja has never taken a holiday apart from the forced closure during the COVID-19 lockdown. He is very particular when it comes to his work: “I cannot relax until I finish the watch repair I have in my hand.”

Despite his dedication and uncompromising focus on building trust, the shift in consumer culture has severely impacted Nagaraja’s business. As he said, “People have become lazier to repair their watches. They will mostly throw the watches away and are less likely to get them repaired today.”

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