Meet Your MakerJul 6, 2017
Certified watchmaker Tim Louis is a lifelong devotee of fine timepieces and their upkeep. And it all started with a box of Ritz Crackers and a stint in the U.S. Navy. As a certified watchmaker (CW21) at Ben Bridge Jeweler for more than 25 years, Tim Louis has had the opportunity to work on some […]
Certified watchmaker Tim Louis is a lifelong devotee of fine timepieces and their upkeep. And it all started with a box of Ritz Crackers and a stint in the U.S. Navy.
As a certified watchmaker (CW21) at Ben Bridge Jeweler for more than 25 years, Tim Louis has had the opportunity to work on some of the most extraordinary watches available. But it’s a Ritz Crackers promotional wristwatch given to him as a child by his father that is his most memorable. That manual-wind timepiece piqued an interest in watches that eventually led to a lifelong profession, which found focus while he was in the U.S. Navy.
“I received orders to be stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island [Oak Harbor, Washington],” says Louis. “I was assigned to the instrument repair shop and was grouped with a civil service employee who happened to be a watchmaker.” This man introduced the young serviceman to the art of watchmaking, which, Louis shares, became his first “real passion.”
Louis formalized his training via the watch repair program at North Seattle College, now known as the North Seattle College’s Watch Technology Institute, from which he graduated in the early 1990s. This was followed by a two-year apprenticeship under Ben Bridge Jeweler’s Wayne Donnelly. Those early years also cultivated a love affair with Ben Bridge, with which Louis has spent his entire watchmaking career.
“From 1994 to 2009, I was the in-store watchmaker at our Everett Mall location, and from 2009 to 2013, at our Northgate Mall store. Then I returned to the flagship boutique on Fourth and Pike, coming full circle,” Louis explains. He adds that Ben Bridge Watch Repair Manager Jeff Grieff, who has been with the company since 1980, remains a valued mentor who has been instrumental in his success, helping him broaden his watchmaking education over the years.
In keeping with our philosophy of flawless customer care, our watchmakers adhere to a strict repair protocol with the intent of matching the quality and standards of the individual watch manufacturer’s service center.
“The most important thing is to assess the problem by talking with the customer to find out wearing habits and what specifically is happening with timekeeping, power reserve, and overall operation of the watch,” shares Louis. “Ben Bridge customers are most interested in knowing their watches will be repaired on-site,” he adds. “And I believe they understand that Ben Bridge watchmakers are well-qualified and perform excellent work — and we stand behind our repairs.”