Drakes restores 70-year old watch

Drakes has restored a 70-year old timepiece after it received an email from a customer regarding a watch that was purchased from the family jewellers back in 1950.

The timepiece was first purchased by Derrick Hewitt only weeks after Drakes first opened. The watch, which was bought for his sweetheart, sold for £38 at the time, which would be the equivalent to £1,292 today.

The watch’s recipient, Betty Hewitt, passed away 20 years ago, and the timepiece has not been warned since. While the family have tried to get the watch repaired on “numerous” occasions, they were told that it was not possible and their best option was to buy a new one.

Family member Ray Swann said: “Derrick wanted the watch to work because he wants to pass it through the family and that’s where it all started with us trying to get it repaired. 

“We couldn’t find anywhere and eventually Derrick said ‘Well, let’s see if Drakes are still trading’ and that’s when we contacted you.”

Drakes director Andrew Hirshmann advised the family to drop off the watch in-store so that he could inspect it more closely. The Swanns later hand delivered the watch to the business following a five hour journey from Derbyshire.

Hirshmann said: “It was so important to us to try and get Derrick’s watch repaired for them. Due to the sentimental value of the watch and the fact that Mr and Mrs Swann had personally delivered it, we ensured that the watch was hand delivered to our repairers so that we could be sure it was always safe. 

“We tried a couple of specialist watch repairers first with no luck. It was only when our local and preferred watch repairers reopened after the pandemic that we found someone who could restore it to its former glory.” 

He added: “Adamson’s Elburton Watch Repairs were absolutely brilliant, and their service was second to none. I was thrilled to receive the call to say that the watch had been successfully repaired and could now be collected.”

The watch received a full service. Its crown and a missing dial screw were replaced, along with the clutch wheel and a few other mechanics. The exterior of the watch remained untouched in order to preserve its “original well-loved look”.

Upon collecting the watch, the Swanns said: “We are absolutely flabbergasted that Drakes could have something done. I think he’ll cry when he sees it working again.” 

Following the watches’ collection, Hirshmann treated the Swanns to an afternoon tea at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse, while Hewitt received collectable plates from the Royal Navy as a thank you. 

Hirshmann said: “We are absolutely thrilled that we were able to restore the watch for the family, they are such lovely people. 

“This watch has so much history and so much emotional and sentimental value so to enjoy their obvious delight when presented with the restored watch was just priceless. It was really touching to receive the video of Derrick being reunited with his precious watch and we wish the whole family the very best for the future.”

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