Earlier this week, I had drafted two different blog topics. One on my professional history and one about the company's credentials. While both are important topics, I wanted to start the second post with something with a little more heart. Don't get me wrong, I still plan on posting those in the future, but the first thing I want to write down is what drove us back to Gainesville, Fl.
I stepped away for a fairly secure corporate role as a Technical Supervisor and my wife stepped down from her role as the Director of a 501(c)3 non-profit homeschooling community. Financially, we felt like we were spinning our wheels. We wanted to get away from the hectic lifestyle of the big city life to something a little slower - a life where we are in control.
Why did we return to House of Time? Because Anna, the current manager, will be retiring soon and the company needs future leadership. But that's not the only reason. This part of Florida is beautiful. Within 15 minutes outside the city limits are farmer's market fruit stands. This March will be Strawberry picking season. The beach is a 2 hour drive heading either east or west. And the stars... nothing makes a person miss the stars more than living in a big city.
As with all change, it has been difficult. Leaving a steady pay check has required a lot of faith, but for a number of reasons I will not get into, it felt like the right time. We have made a lot of great friends over the years; some amazing people to whom it was really difficult to say "good bye". Our son left behind friends with whom he grew up. But probably the hardest choice was coming to peace about our daughter's decision to stay in Texas while pursuing her college education. But the move was necessary to drive not only our family's vision, but our professional vision...
Vern and I have a vision to operate a company on basic principles: 1. honesty through communication, 2. integrity in our business practices and 3. perpetuity of service within our industry to a quality level exceeding the major service facilities.
1. How do we achieve honesty through communication? Before I go into the details, this is a personal issue I have had with our industry for quite some time. Why do so many within our industry insist on hiding what the watchmaker does? It's not easy; trust me, I have done enough corporate events to see what an untrained person can do. Care to prove me wrong? No problem, but please leave your credit card at the counter in case you break any tools or parts in the process.
To continue pulling back the curtain, we have brought our testing equipment out for the client to see. Directly behind our counters, we have all of our water-testing, timing and analyzation equipment out on display (picture soon to follow). We are implementing modern technology to become closer to the client. The TV screen is hooked up to a 10x-140x digital microscope sitting on my bench. This is how we can zoom in on images and review in detail what is needing to be addressed with the client. We do not want to have a lengthy, 2-6 page estimate that has been drafted by corporate and legal. We show you what is wrong, explain why it is wrong, and give you an example of what it should look like when it's right (if immediately available).
2. Integrity means doing the right thing when no one is looking and is a word that is thrown around a lot nowadays. When it comes to a 4-6 hour mechanical movement service, it's rare to have someone looking. In order to instill integrity in our clients, we will try to honor as many of our clients' requests as possible (within reason). If you want your old parts back, no problem except in circumstances when the manufacturer requires us to return the old parts for exchange. You want us to take some pictures of your watch or clock dismantled? No problem, but do not be surprised if we ask for your permission to post them on our Instagram account. To better explain our services in the near future, we will be posting videos of what our services consist. You want to sit there while I service your timepiece? Hmmm... that might be a little more difficult to accommodate. We strive for perfection. But we are human and something will inevitably go wrong. In the rare circumstances where we are at fault, we will work with the client to correct the issue.
3. Lastly is holding up our service to, what I hope the client considers, world class service. How do we continue elevating our service? Constant re-training and education of our staff, as well as annual investments into modern and vintage equipment.
The tools we use are expensive. Within the next couple months or so, I plan on starting a series about the types of tools we use, starting with a review of screwdriver sets. Each of our 8 Swiss made sets retailed for an average of $325, with the most expensive torque set costing almost $1800. Why would we spend so much money on something as silly as screwdrivers? Because we invest above and beyond to keep our many spare parts accounts. This means that when we purchase parts for your timepiece, we are getting it directly from the manufacturer - not buying from "my secret source" or "some guy I know". If the brand doesn't sell parts, we will let you know upfront. I would prefer to be criticized for our higher prices, than be criticized for poor quality of work.
As all these concepts come together, I hope that you would be willing to entrust us with your beloved timepiece. Because I treat every timepiece that comes across my bench as my own. As such, every client and timepiece gets our full respect.