At 11 o'clock on Friday morning I was
submitted and admitted to Mater hospital for a quick fix. Nothing
spectacular - just a long overdue knee surgery, a routine 'day stay'
procedure. This was my first encounter with the medical system in
decades. In one word: impressive.|
The welcoming sign: "Today, 17 surgeons will operate in 13 theatres and
we will serve 73 patients". And they did, indeed. It was like being in
the middle of a well executed military operation: admin staff, nurses
and doctors flying around like bees, quietly, efficiently and skilfully
handling patients all day long. Politeness overflowing, on every level
of engagement. The ward was spotlessly clean. Not for a moment was I in
doubt that I was in good hands; perhaps the best in Sydney.
Yes, there was a ton of administration, pages of questionnaires, and
often, a ten-minute wait would turn into an hour. But this is
understandable and to be expected; in a hospital things can not be
Truth be, I was a good patient too. I listened, cooperated, and waited
patiently. It is tempting to crack a joke or throw a witty comeback, but
such childishness would be completely inappropriate. Equally so, asking
for predictions or outcomes, or discussing matters already discussed.
You just do what you are told, to your best ability, regardless of how
you feel about doing it. That's the deal. You leave your rights,
entitlements, emotions and wallet before being wheeled into the
operating theatre. You put your faith in Jesus and the surgeon - and
pray for the best outcome. That's how hospitals work, and that's the end
The anaesthesiologist wore a massive Omega Planet Ocean, blue dial and
bezel, Titanium. Funny enough, that was actually the last thing I
The parallel between hospitals and a watchmakers workshop is obvious.
Our workshop is kind of an operating theatre. We pull things apart, we
fix problems, and we put them together. Our role is to get your watch in
the best possible condition, while remaining invisible. And like
surgeons, we can only do our job when the customer is cooperative.
Repairing a complex mechanical timepiece requires skills, tools, and
time. Plenty of experience as well. The job is best done when the
watchmaker is allowed to work quietly and at their own pace. That is
essential. "Is my watch ready yet?" will actually slow down the repair
procedure. "Has the part arrived? It's been a month, no news?" followed
by yet another follow-up email or phone call will sooner or later turn
into a customer relationship nightmare.
The other problem encountered frequently is the unrealistic expectation
that watchmakers can predict how many parts will need replacement, or
how many of them are worn out or damaged before the repair job is
completed. Cost of parts is never included, nor can a firm quote be
provided before the watch is pulled apart. I didn't expect my surgeon to
donate his own blood, neither should you expect that watchmakers
provide free spare parts. Because we don't. We provide labour and
expertise, as well as a promise to do our absolute best, but you provide
everything else. That is the deal.
This should be painfully obvious: if you are in a hurry, or have
unreasonable and unrealistic expectations, then you better take your
watch elsewhere. While we are more than happy to help you, the best
outcome is only possible when we are left to work alone, unrestricted,
free of pressure, and at liberty to serve you as true professionals.