"Never teach apprentices tricks of the trade - because they'll leave you and become your competition!"
Quite frankly, I doubt any subscriber to this newsletter would subscribe to this nonsense.
The real question is: when is the right time to allow apprentices to
undertake more challenging repairs? Of course, that entirely depends on
two things: apprentices desire to learn more than expected, and
teacher's willingness to allocate more of his time to a keen student.
The heavily damaged steel Rolex bracelet is kind of job reserved for
Michael who is now in his second year. He can do bracelet restoration
and polishing with minimum supervision. However, the job itself is not
overly difficult for anyone willing to follow instructions, have a keen
eye for detail. Especially so when there is no need to complete the task
in any particular time frame.
I had no doubt that Chloe, who has been with us for just over 2 months is now ready for her first Rolex bracelet.
Yes, it took her over 3 hours to complete the polishing: the deep
scratches were filed out with diamond Valorbe file and then each link
was hand polished with various grades of sand paper. The final brush
finish was done on rotary 'graining' wheel. Of course, this was highly
supervised job and at times, it was required to demonstrate how various
media affects the finishes, and how to 'sculpture' the steel by
following existing contours or how much pressure to apply; when to pause
and most importantly - when to stop.
The overall result is rather pleasing and there is no doubt that the
customer is going to be happy with the end result. Quite frankly,
important victories like this one is what builds the confidence. Respect
to big brands - of course, but to tremble in fear - never!