Christian Dannemann isn’t the first person to create a successful business out of a hobby. His background in the automotive industry sparked a fascination in the micro-engineering of mechanical watches, and years of tinkering with their movements in his garage have ultimately led to it becoming a full time career that this year saw him hire an apprentice to share his passion.
“Mitka [his apprentice] is very committed, and has made great progress so far,” Christian enthuses.
The business has also become considerably more professional. “I have coded a booking system that allows me to exactly control how many watches I have in the workshop. But the biggest step was an on-line tracking system for my clients, on which they can see work progress, photos, parts used, workshop notes, etc. as the work is happening. This has been very well received by my clients, who love the feature, and sometimes check daily on the progress of their watch,” Christian explains.
Christian is a bit of an evangelist for mechanical watches. His blog, watchguy.co.uk, now welcomes around 1,000 visitors per day, where lively discussions about the watch world unfurl.
All of this is achieved while his wife (also working part time in the company) and Christian raise five lively children. So no wonder he admits that he has little time to devote to passions away from the home and workshop. “So no paragliding or vintage cars I’m afraid,” he finishes.