‘I learned the skills through observation and constant effort’
At 81, M.S. Chandrashekar Iyer is constantly trying to keep up with new technology. His passion is watches. His profession is repairing them.
Mr. Iyer proudly announces that his family has been in the profession for 125 years. He adds that the science behind how a watch works is derived from the science of measuring time and the art or science of making timepieces or measuring time is known as horology. The word Horo is a Greek word meaning ‘time’ and logos means ‘telling of time’.
Horology, he says, is a profession that dates back at least a century in India, and one that requires professionals like him to constantly tune themselves into emerging forms of watches. He upgrades his technical skills as watches acquire new shapes, sizes and dimensions.
He compares the art of repairing a watch to the process of threading a needle, using the analogy to emphasize the need for patience and concentration to excel in this profession. “My grandfather became an expert in this field through trial and error. I learned the skills through observation and constant effort.”
‘The International Swiss Watch Journal’, a Switzerland-based magazine, had carried out an article on his family’s expertise and association with horology, recalls Mr. Iyer.
“The magazine was released in Lausanne in Switzerland in 1960. That was the proudest moment of my life,” he adds. Following this, several journalists flocked to profile this family, and their association with horology was widely covered in the press, both at home and abroad.
Mr. Iyer has serviced watches which are over 350 years old. The watches he has repaired have come from around the world. Speaking on the different types of watches and their utilities, he says, “There is a watch which can predict natural calamities and its life span is a billion years. Some watches are specially made for differently-abled persons.”