The watchmaker has closed its doors for good with a knowing letter of warning that the entire industry is struggling to survive in a fast-changing world.
Mountains Engraving closed in May after 30 years in business in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.
The shop repaired clocks and supplied businesses comparable to key cutting, jewelry restoration and engraving.
Originally, watches were made by artisans who constructed them by hand, but demand has declined due to the rise in popularity of smartwatches.
A storied career becomes uncertain as watchmakers struggle to find their place in a world of unlimited knowledge and limited resources
Repair retailers have closed across the country and Mountains Engraving recently closed after more than 30 years in business
Watchmakers are now mostly working as repairmen, struggling to supply the right components as demand for analogue watches declines in favor of their digital counterparts.
Additionally, fewer college students are entering the trades, making the career a distinct market segment.
A fellow watchmaker, who asked not to be named, told Daily Mail Australia the sale was in its final stages.
He pointed out that fewer potential customers were coming here to shop because of the online retailers they usually chose to buy from overseas because it was cheaper than in Australia.
“The Internet has had a big impact,” he pointed out.
“People buy from online stores overseas because it’s cheaper, Australia could be very expensive and I can’t compete with that cost.
“I buy wholesale and then sell at retail, but going online, places like Amazon, it’s a lot cheaper and it’s taken the retailers’ business and moved it online.”
The watchmaker said that even when people buy online and are available to him for repairs, there is a long wait because there are many problems in finding the right components.
“Watchmakers are still repairing, so that shows demand is still there,” he said.
“We have a three-year waiting list for watch repairs, and even with watches we have to wait a few months before we can fix them.
“The reason it’s taking so long is because all the big companies are trying to weed out the independentsbecause I distance myself from their service industry.
“So in about 10 years you’ll probably find that independent watchmakers like me won’t be able to get parts because the manufacturers are restricting them.”
Fewer Australians are choosing watchmaking as a profession because of the challenges of the trade.
There is only one watchmaking course that awards a certificate, and in the class of 2022, only six graduates started work earlier than they struggled to find work.
One scientist pointed out that job discovery is getting more and more durable.
“I’m the only apprentice in my state and I had to call 118 shops before anyone hired me,” he instructed Daily Mail Australia.
“I have an hour and twenty minute commute to and from work, but I knew I wanted to do it, and that wasn’t going to stop me.”
We always get the question: Do people still wear watches? however, I don’t see us going anywhere fast.
Watchmaker and Apprentice pointed out that smartwatches could be impressive, but they have significant flaws.
Limited lifetime and their bulkiness is one of the many main problems.
There is only one watchmaking course in Australia that awards a certificate, and the ’22 category saw six graduates start working faster than they struggled to find work.
The technological progress of smart watches is impressive, but the disadvantages, comparable to their limited lifetime and the huge number of measurements, do not allow them to change ordinary watches.
The watchmaker admitted that he was proud to own the smartwatch and noted that it was useful, but it wasn’t the main thing he owned.
“The rise of phones and smartwatches, they’re killing themselves,” he pointed out.
Smart watches are cool. I’m not a fan, but I am because they monitor your coronary heart price and all that stuff, but in the long run you have to replace it like everything else.
“Ask anyone how many smartwatches or phones they’ve had since they first bought it, they pretty much last 12 months before people just buy another one.
“Our refurbished clocks are over 100 years old and have been passed down through the generations.
The grace and style of classic watches will always outshine smartwatches as well, the apprentice said.
“When it comes to clothes to impress, you might like a smartwatch for convenience and efficiency, but at the end of the day you have a computer with a big screen on your wrist.
“I think people will stay unique and want to look unique.”