Keeping Good Time In Hawaii Kai
Rick Alhadeff can’t make time stop, but he can make fine timepieces go.
The pleasant sound of chimes can be heard in his Watch and Clock Service and Repair shop in Hawaii Kai, where his specialty is repairing the tiny moving parts on the faces of fine watches.
“I’ve always been interested in small mechanical things,” says Alhadeff. “I’m tinkering forever.”
He restores the tick-tock to Rolex and Patek-Philippe watches, which he says are the best quality. He doesn’t service digital timepieces, although he will change out the battery for customers.
Alhadeff’s expertise is in helping watch collectors keep their prized finds in good working order.
“Some folks have watches that date back as far as the 1600s,” Alhadeff says. “My personal interest is in the antiques. Everyone has an old pocket watch of Grandpa’s or Dad’s wrist watch. They are part of the family - a family heirloom.”
The St. Louis Heights resident acknowledges the support of his wife, Julie, whom he met as a sophomore at Kaimuki High School, from which he graduated in 1978.
Alhadeff has a small personal collection of watches that includes his grandfather’s alarm wrist watch from the 1950s, which has a loud and raspy tone from the hammer inside of it. As a member American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute and National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, he networks with others to add to his collection.
“The service of the watch is the easy part,” he explains. “That’s the easy and fun part. The tough part is the business part: the excise tax and filling out paperwork. That’s what you have to do.”
Aldhadeff started his business in 1989 after stumbling into what he says is his calling in life. He located a school that teaches watch repair, the Bates Technical School in Tacoma, Wash. Hooked on his newfound career path, the UH broadcast communications graduate hung up his radio station headphones to gain further knowledge on timepieces, traveling to Switzerland to enroll in the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program.
At first he worked from home, and when the business blossomed he moved to the current East Oahu location in February 2001.
“This is a business where you have to have a lot of patience and build it; it’s not for the meek,” says Alhadeff. “If you stick with it, you can make it work, if you have enough interest in it.”
Watch and Clock Service and Repair is located at 6650 Hawaii Kai Drive, Suite 109 in the AKAL Security Building. Hours of operation are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. For more information, call 395-8834 or log onto www.wcsrhonolulu.com.
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