The watchmaking industry has been battling against the digital wave, with the likes of smartphones and smartwatches dominating the age-old way of telling time.
But with a recent focus on environmental health, there has come about a newfound awareness of electronic devices’ contribution to waste; a term now known as e-waste.
The average Australian upgrades their phone every 18-24 months, with an estimated 3.5 million new phones sold just in the past 12 months, making digital devices the biggest culprits for e-waste, with most digital devices and their many parts, lithium batteries, chargers, chords and casings etc ending up in landfill.
It’s for this reason that the watch industry is seeing a cultural shift of caring consumers re-recognising the benefits of owning a watch that they can wear for years to come.
Reaping the benefits of the waves of change are Brisbane father and son duo, Bob and Grant Menzies, of Adina Watches, who have humbly crafted watches by hand out of their local factory since 1971.
Bridging the generation gap
General manager Grant notes that it seems to be members of the younger generation coming in droves.
“We are seeing more and more younger customers purchasing watches because of the powerful memories and intrinsic value a timepiece holds for them,” he said.
“Most of them remember being gifted a watch for the first time and how special that moment was. A lot of them come in with their grandad’s old watches for repair, with great stories behind them.”
Agreeing with this statement, Bob laughs at the about-face of the younger generation.
“Smartphones only came about not long ago and with everything that’s going on in the world nowadays, people just want to push rewind,” he said.
“The divide between my generation and millennials was just getting bigger and bigger, what with our political differences and such, but it’s incredible to see watches acting as a bridge between that gap.
A timeless gift
“It’s been a year of wins for the Adina Watches family, having been sought out by the International Polocrosse Council back in April to help commemorate its 2019 World Cup event, held in Warwick.
Occurring every four years, it was only the second time the championships have been hosted by Australia in 18 years and was the largest international sporting event ever to be held in rural Australia.
Pushed into the spotlight of this gargantuan event were Bob and Grant, bestowed with the task of creating a bespoke timepiece that would commemorate this moment in time that might not happen again on Australian soil.
The 100 elite athletes playing for the eight countries involved in the international sporting event each received one unique timepiece.
“The whole process from start to finish took 11 months, which is incredibly fast for a project of this nature, but we had a lot of craftsmen on the job,” Bob said.
The players themselves were elated to be presented with the timeless gifts in a ceremony before 10,000 patrons, with some turning to Bob and Grant for on-the-spot resizing.
“We had a pop-up workshop set up and some of them bee-lined to have their bands adjusted; they couldn’t wait to wear their new Adina with pride,” Bob said.
Embracing the future
Bob says he’s grateful that the event allowed the Menzies’ passion for the age-old craft of watchmaking to bewilder the younger generation.
“There were a lot of eyes on our workshop. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a young apprentice or two come out of it, which is fantastic,” he said.
Today Adina has grown to a staff of 20, including Bob’s son Grant, building the craft of quality Australian watchmaking.