HOT 100 TRAILBLAZERS: Simon Frees, workshop manager, Swiss Time Services

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Swiss Time Services has been the UK’s approved Omega service centre for vintage Omega watches since 1993 and, at its purpose-built 7,000 square feet HQ, the investment it is making in internal training is helping to propel the business to new levels.

During the course of a year it typically receives in excess of 18,000 Omega watches, most of which are over 20-years-old, so the addition of four new trainee watchmakers inside the past 12 months is a feat that workshop manager, Simon Freese, is understandably delighted with.

“I am keen to pass on my passion for watchmaking,” Simon comments. “It has been a wonderful reward to see the enthusiasm and interest growing in the latest members of our team.”

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Swiss Time Services has recently introduced laser welding to its workshop and this, in turn, has led it to receiving greater recognition for its abilities in case restoration. “We have seen images appear on the internet, shared by customers who have had their cases restored by us, and I feel proud of this new level of restoration whenever I come across positive comments online,” he remarks.

When he trained at Girard-Perregaux in Switzerland, the head of manufacture training once told him that the most important attribute to have when educating watchmakers is patience. It’s a piece of advice he holds dear to this day. “I am, by nature, a reasonably calm and patient person, and this allows me to work through the challenges that are presented to our trainees when they are learning a skill that pushes the boundaries of the human body, both physically and mentally.

Although patience is a virtue when training watchmakers, it is not the ideal attribute when trying to provide a driving force to move the business ahead, and I am sure I could benefit the business by switching off my patient nature every now and then!” he laughs.

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder