Yalçın Meral, an antique watch enthusiast in the central Anatolian province of Yozgat, reproduces and repairs the missing or damaged pieces of antique pocket watches designed by British and French watchmakers during the 16th-century Ottoman period.
Meral works for weeks or even months to hear the “tick-tock” sound from antique watches, which are over 4 centuries old.
Meral, 46, who learned this profession from his watchmaker uncle and father in primary school, has continued repairing watches by taking various types of training. Meral repairs antique pocket watches, which were designed entirely by hand by English and French masters in the Ottoman market during the 16th century, as a hobby. He reproduces the missing parts and repairs the broken mechanical parts of antique clocks.
Collectors from all around the world reach out to Meral to get their antique clocks repaired.
Stating that repairing watches that have witnessed history gives him happiness, Meral said: “I do this profession as a hobby. I collect these idle antique clocks from all over the world and bring them back to life. These are completely handmade watches that require lathe work. I make all the parts of the watches from the 1500s up to the 19th century completely on a lathe. This gives me great pleasure and happiness. These watches were made in London with micron technology. They have been idle for centuries; they could not be repaired in any way as there are no masters to repair these watches today.”
Meral said that repairing watches sometimes takes months, adding, “Repairing the watches from the 1600s-1700s, which were made in the Ottoman palace and markets, gives me more pleasure. Feeling the spirit of that period is awesome. Since these are the watches that require craftsmanship and are processed with very delicate touches, sometimes it takes 10 days, 15 days, or even a month to repair a watch. Watches have very difficult craftsmanship. You need breath control and make it one by one on the lathe. That’s why it is very difficult to carry out this profession.”
Meral also stated that there were only a few masters in the world that could repair antique watches.
Hurriyet Daily News