Time stood still for 62 years
Friday, June 11th, 2004
on behalf of Alistir Wood Tait Antique and Fine Jewellery
A remorseful senior citizen has finally been able to clear his conscience by getting his father’s treasured pocket watch repaired – more than half a century after he broke it.
Malcolm Tilley, 69, shattered the precious watch after taking it out of its special case to play with when he was just seven years old.
After getting a stern telling off, his father never bothered getting the sterling silver watch repaired and it remained on display in the family home until his death 25 years ago when it passed onto Malcolm.
More than 60 years later, the retired engineer finally decided to right a wrong by getting the watch repaired.
And leading Edinburgh jeweller, Alistir Wood Tait, was able to come to the rescue by offering his expert services to fix the watch Malcolm believed was beyond repair.
Alistir Tait, sole director of Alistir Wood Tait, said that when he first saw the watch, he had doubts whether it could be repaired as it has taken some beating.
Malcolm revealed that he knew he was not allowed to touch his father’s treasured watch without permission, but like any seven-year-old, curiosity got the better of him.
He added: “I was a bit naughty to take the watch as I knew it had to stay in its case as my father only used it on special occasions. But like most small children when you are told not to do something, you go ahead and defy your parents.
“Although my father was angry with me – and quite rightly so – he never got round to getting the watch repaired and it just lay in its case until he sadly passed away 25 years ago.
“As the watch has been in my possession for all those years, for 10 of these I have toyed with the idea of getting it repaired, but I never really found a jeweller who was up to the job.”
The former Whitgift, South Crydon public school pupil took the watch to the Rose Street jewellers who transformed the destroyed heirloom into a brand new watch.
The painstaking task took time and effort as the entire watch mechanism needed replaced, as well as fitting a brand new dial and buffing and polishing the casing.
Now, after a £1200 facelift, the watch looks like how it originally was when it was first purchased in 1917.
Malcolm said that he was delighted to have the watch back in working order, but disappointed that he never got it repaired while his father was still alive.
He added: “Alistir has done a fantastic job of restoring the watch to its former glory, he really has been a godsend and has salvaged my conscience.
“It looks superb and probably looks like how my father would have seen it for the first time – in fact it even looks like a watch that was made 60 years ago.
“I am absolutely delighted with the high level of craftsmanship and it is nice to see that this level of skill is still available.
“It would be a shame to hide the watch’s beauty, but for the fear of damaging it again, I will be keeping the watch in its case for sentimental reasons.”
Alistir said that pocket watches are still very much in demand.
He added: “Pocket watches have been around from the late 16th century and no man felt completely dressed without his watch.
“Even nowadays men will still wear a pocket watch as part of their formal attire as it adds a little fanciness to the overall look.”
Alistir said that he sells a lot of pocket watches as many people find it nice to go back to old technology.
He added: “Although modern technology is a wonderful thing, people like to wind up watches as it enables them to look after the watch on a regular basis.
“Pocket watches can pick up a lot of dirt and moisture form being inside pockets so it is important to keep the case completely closed and remove the watch from the pocket when not in use.”