MrWatchMaster Meets…Jonathan Wachsmann

MrWatchMaster Meets…Jonathan Wachsmann

Next we meet Jonathan (AKA Johnny) Wachsmann, founder of Pieces of Time, the foremost name in the antique timepiece market for nearly 50 years, located in London’s prestigious Mayfair district at Grays Antiques complex.

Johnny began his career in horology in 1971 and started trading independently in 1973. He is passionate about precision timepieces and attends many antique and watch fairs around the world, meeting international clients who may be interested in specific items for their collection or looking to sell items to Pieces of Time.

We hear Johnny’s thoughts on business, his favourite timepieces and what the future looks like for Pieces of Time.

Grays Antique Complex, Mayfair, London

MWM: How is business?

JW: Business is good, we are bucking the trend. I’ve just returned from two international shows in Miami and Hong Kong which were very successful. I’m very excited with business. The antique pocket watch market is on the way up which is an area we specialise in. Good quality always sells well.

MWM: What are your current business priorities?

JW: We are looking at doing more social media, which will help us reach the younger consumers and see this as a really important area to develop. We are planning to attend more international events and improving website with more video and moving images. I’m always looking to find more interesting watches and purchasing interesting collections.

MWM: Tell us something we don’t know about Pieces Of Time?

JW: Over the years I’ve sold some of the most historically important watches, including a watch belonging to William of Orange, an important [Thomas] Tompion watch, and a watch with Admiral Nelson connections, a watch worn by Sir Thomas Hardy. I currently have a wonderful watch that belonged to Oliver Cromwell (below). I always think it’s unbelievable to be able to literally ‘hold history in your hands’.

Pocket watch owned by the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell

MWM: Which watch do you wear?

JW: I wear an Omega Seamaster

MWM: Which watch or clock would you like to own?

JW: Well it just has to be the most iconic watch ever made Marie Antoinette’s pocket watch no. 160 made by the master, Abraham-Louis Breguet (below).

The other one I’d love to own is the Mary Queen of Scots Skull watch (below). Also know as the ‘Memento mori’ watch this watch was reputedly handed to Mary Seaton, her lady-in-waiting, on her way to her execution.

Mary Queen of Scots ‘Memento mori’ watch in the form of a skull
(The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers/Clarissa Bruce) ©The Clockmakers’ Charity

MWM: What do you like best about the Watch and Clock retail business?

JW: I like meeting new customers and help them to find what they are looking for. I love showing off our antique watches and clocks. I also love meeting old customers from all over the world. They are just like family.

MWM: What don’t you like about the Watch and Clock retail business?

JW: I really don’t like the financial side of the business, balancing the books. Also, finding stock is becoming more difficult. It is becoming harder to find people to restore the watches and clocks, which is a real problem. Keeping track of restorations can also be challenging.

MWM: What is next on the horizon for you?

JW: Hopefully, I will attend more international shows, keep finding extraordinary pieces. I’m not getting any younger, so I will possibly be retiring and handing the business over to my son.

Jonathan Wachsmann is a Friend of MrWatchMaster

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