No One Repairs Watches Any More, So Why is This Wayne Watchmaker Turning Away Customers?

Owner and watch repairman Peter Whittle shown here working at Whittle's Watch Works, in Wayne on Dec. 16, 2019. Image via Jessica Griffin, The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Peter Whittle has repaired thousands of traditional timepieces at his Wayne repair shop, even in this digital and cell phone age, writes Allison Steele for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

From 19th-century pocket watches to modern Rolexes, Peter Whittle has brought time back to his customers over the 20 years he has run Whittle’s Watch Works.

Whittle’s shop takes in more than 1,000 watches a year.  Several times a year, he turns away customers for a month to catch up.

Sixty years ago, there were more than 50,000 independent watchmakers in America. Today, there are fewer than 6,000, according to Bureau of Labor estimates.

Few new craftsmen have joined the industry — and business has boomed for people such as Whittle.

“Watchmakers everywhere are turning away work,” said Jordan Ficklin, executive director of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute.

Whittle, 64, knows his profession is a dying art — but it doesn’t seem that way when his small storefront is filled with customers.

“People say no one wears watches anymore,” Whittle said. “But at home, somewhere in a drawer, you might have your mother’s watch, or your grandfather’s watch. And one day, you might find that you want to get it repaired.”

Read more about this watch repairman here.

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