70 year old Watch is Lovingly Restored

Posted on September 9th, 2020

Drakes had a very special start to post COVID trading when they received an email from a customer about a watch that was purchased from the family jewellers back in 1950.

Andrew Hirshman, Drakes Director comments,
“It was such a lovely email to receive! This year marks our Drakes 70th Anniversary so to have a customer getting in touch about a watch purchased from us when we first opened our doors was really exciting. They even still had the original box!”

Original Watch Box, Drakes Jewellers, Plymouth, Jewellers, Plymouth

The original watch box

Just 8-10 weeks after Drakes first opened their doors in Plymouth, Derrick Hewitt visited the store to buy his sweetheart a beautiful watch for her 18th Birthday.  At the time he was on duty in Plymouth whilst serving in the Royal Navy. Derrick paid £38 for the watch which would be the equivalent to £1,292 today.

Derrick went on to marry Betty and the watch today remains a huge part of their family legacy. Even looking closely at the watch you can see how loved this treasured gift was. Sadly Betty died 20 years ago and the watch has not been worn since. The family have tried to get the watch repaired on numerous occasions but were told that it was not possible and their best option was to buy a new one.

1950's Couple, Drakes Legacy, Drakes Jewellers,

Betty and Derrick

Ray tells us, “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.”

“My dad being the cheeky fella that he is, asked me, ‘if you send them an email you can ask them if the warranty is still valid’” Carole added.

Carole and Ray Swann were delighted to receive a humorous email back from Andrew Hirshman to say that unfortunately the warranty had only just run out, but asked them to drop the watch into store so that he could have a closer look. An appointment was arranged and unbeknown to Drakes, Mr and Mrs Swann made the 5 hour drive down to Plymouth from Derbyshire to hand deliver the watch, “we were never going to put it in the post, ever” Ray adds.

Drakes Jewellers Plymouth, Jewellers, Plymouth, Watch Repair

Carole and Ray Swann collecting the watch

Andrew tells us more about the watch restoration:
“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 & 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. 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. It was so lovely to be able to pass this news onto Carole and Ray.”

1950s Watch, Watch Repair, Watch Restore, Drakes Jewellers, Plymouth, Watch Box, Watch

Original Watch and Box purchased in 1950 from Drakes Jewellers

Whilst at Adamson’s the watch received some TLC with a full service, the crown was replaced, a missing dial screw was replaced along with the clutch wheel and a few other mechanics from the watch. As parts of the watch mechanism were replaced, the outside of the watch was not touched so it still held its original well-loved look.

Carole and Ray once again made the 5 hour journey down to Plymouth to collect the watch on Saturday 29th August, and when they had the watch back in their possession they said, “we are absolutely flabbergasted that Drakes could have something done. I think he’ll cry when he sees it working again”.

Carole went on to say
“It’s been very hard for my dad, he keeps asking, ‘have you heard anything yet, have you heard anything yet’”. It is clear that it’ll mean an awful lot to Derrick to have the watch back with him.

When asked what was going to happen to the watch now it was once again working, Drakes were told that Carole’s sister in law would be receiving the watch and it would be passed down from generation to generation in the Hewitt family as a precious family heirloom.

Drakes treated Carole and Ray to an Afternoon Tea at Marco Pierre White’s Steakhouse after their appointment so they could enjoy the spectacular views of Plymouth’s waterfront as well as a commemorative crystal diamond shaped paper weight with the jewellers 70th logo on the front. Derrick also very kindly sent some collectable plates from his Royal Navy days for Andrew as a thank you.

Jewellers, Plymouth, Drakes Jewellers

The watch, Drakes Commemorative Paper Weight and Afternoon Tea Voucher

Watch Restoration

Mr & Mrs Swann with Andrew Hirshman

After their visit, Carole and Ray sent Drakes a touching video from the moment they gave Derrick back the watch. When Ray asked him if there was anything he’d like to say to Drakes, all he could say was that he was ‘speechless’ and ‘it’s really made my day”. After receiving it back, Derrick presented it to his daughter in law, Trina who will eventually pass the watch onto her daughter.

Watch Restoration

Roy, Derrick and Trina

Watch Restoration
Watch Restoration

Trina with the Watch

Andrew said of the restoration,

“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.”

Watch Restoration

Derrick with the commemorative paper weight

Watch Restoration

With love from Drakes x

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