Today’s social media stars are usually either hip US high schoolers who have realised there is money to be made from vacuous nine-second video clips or saccharine-sweet teens espousing questionable life advice online.
Second generation watchmaker Tony Williams, may not be either of those things, but he has still managed to rack up more than 1.6million views on Watchfinder’s Youtube channel with a hypnotic, seven-minute video of him servicing a Rolex calibre 3135. That makes it the most watched Rolex video on Youtube.
“I started my career with a five year apprenticeship at Rolex,” he points out. “So this feels like coming full circle.”
The worldwide airplay this single video has given the luxury pre-owned watch retailer cannot be underestimated.
“A lot of the public don’t realize that we service every watch we sell, giving it our own 12 month guarantee. Our technical team services and polishes 570 watches per month. The service centre is now one of the largest independents in Europe, employing over 30 staff.” Says the man who heads up the Kent-based operation, alongside director Mat Bowling.
Williams believes it is the fully equipped service centre that sets Watchfinder apart from its competitors. Watchfinder now plans to expand its service operation as well as open a watchmaking school of its own, run by Williams, to help the retailer grow in the long term.
“It’s great to be heading it up, working to continue the craftsmanship of watchmaking in the UK. When I was at Rolex, we were taught in a way that made sense, and directed us towards production work. Today sequential training is sucking the joy out of the craft for many. I have had Sarah-Jane as my apprentice for the past 12 months –she came from having only worked sequential and now is capable of fully servicing a watch a day, which makes me incredibly proud.”
Outside of work Tony is a motorbike fanatic, owning three high power sports bikes, which he regular rides over to the various watch manufactures in Switzerland when he is called in for a bench test.