My dad loves a challenge. The more difficult, the better. A Hong Kong jeweler for more than 30 years, he is a self-educated man with a discriminating eye. Mom, well she loves celebrations, Birthday, anniversaries, any excuse to get her family together for a party. After raising five children, she deserves only the best. One of dadís latest challenges was to find the perfect gift for mom as their 30th wedding anniversary approached.
My father and I are both watch fanatics. As a jeweler, dad of course appreciates the new watches that can be found on the market today.
However, where is the challenge in purchasing new, when there are vintage antiques to be found? And the challenge does not end with the finding of a treasure, but continues with the creation of a wonderfully unique gift.
I truly believe that it was fate that allowed my father to find a battered and scarred Rolex watch. Looking at the watch, most people would see only the scars and broken parts, but my dad recognized that old Rolex for the challenge that it was.
He carefully removed the mechanism and then piece by piece disassembled the band. A mold of the case and band was then created. With hands like those of a surgeon, dad removed the solid pieces of the original watch from the model, leaving a hollow space. He then injected liquid wax into the mold, waiting for it to cool to a solid. The workable wax allowed every scar and imperfection to be corrected. Pieces of the wax watch were planted on a base and Plaster of Paris is poured in a vacuum over this base. When the plaster sets, it is placed in a hot oven. This part of the process melts the wax off, leaving hollow facsimiles of the watch pieces. The gold is melted and injected into the hollow watch using centrifugal force. Each individual part of the watch is then polished and reassembled. The Rolex dad originally found had a manual wound movement, but he decided that a quartz movement would be more suitable.
At this point, the watch was only about half finished, with that anniversary deadline fast approaching. The next part of the process was for my dad, a graduate of the Gemological Institute of America, to hand pick the diamonds for the watch. After carefully selecting over 200 of the finest individual diamonds for the special present, he was able to produce a watch that shimmered like the stars in the sky. It is truly spectacular, and was the perfect present for momís celebration.
He beat that deadline with just days to spare and he felt his work was finished. But then again, my sisterís wedding is just around the corner. Surely she deserve the best, too. Perhaps this time, we can try using a mother of a pearl dial.
Dad has instilled his love of jewelry (especially watches) in me and I am proud to be expanding his Hong Kong jewelry business here in the United States. Just like my dad, we love a challenge. We can make this watch or personalize it for you. Just ask my mom-she highly recommends us!