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The march of time stops for no one, but if your timepiece ceases, there is still a local shop to fix it. Walter’s Clock, Watch & Jewelry Repair, at 240 West 10th Street, is there for all your chronological needs.
A self described “patriot in America,” Walter Dikarev came to the U.S. from Russia (then the Soviet Union) in 1989. And to amble into the cozy narrow shop with the vintage folding gates on the exterior is to be transported almost to that time, if not even further back. Various chimes go off on the hour, like a special small symphony playing for the maestro with his magnifying loupe, instead of a baton. And you are in the front row as soon as you enter. A Russian radio station is often playing.
Over 40 years ago Walter got into watch making. It was respectable, not so easy to get into, and prestigious. And it allows you to be inside and warm while working. Walter has various degrees from Russian technical and engineering schools, as well as professional certificates from large watchmakers like Bulova, placed on the jam-packed shelves.
His shop was described in one of the many Business of the Month nominations we received as “a truly old-time service, owned by a master craftsman with flawless integrity.”
Another nomination stated: “Walter’s staff is Walter. He has repaired exquisite (sometimes priceless) timepieces for me and many people I know. He fixes large clocks, including grandfathers and cuckoos, offers free estimates, and performs every repair himself.”
While I was there, three different people came in with varied timepieces in need of attention. Walter put aside his tupperware dish of Plov, with a side of salad-cucumbers, avocado, feta and dill, to handle each one. There was the longtime neighborhood resident in his 30’s who said he grew up knowing Walter. He had what seemed like an old pocket watch which needed repair again because he broke the cover. Rather than sell him a chain or clasp, Walter suggested he try tying a leather string through it. Walter asked how much he charged him last time, then quoted him a price $10 less.
Later a woman in her 60’s came in with a broken watch she had dropped. Walter knew her husband, a Turkish writer, now deceased. It was one of the first gifts he gave her. He told her to come back at 4 pm and she wondered how she would know what time it was, until she realized the cellphone in her pocket provides that service too. Another woman popped in to ask if Walter could repair the broken glass on an old grandfather clock. Walter said to bring it in. No appointments are needed and nowadays much of his business deals with items of immense sentimental value.
Walter vigorously maintains this amazing shop, and far from running out the clock. He swims twice a week and occasionally has a brandy or glass of wine in the evenings. His wrist watch of choice is a prominent red G-Shock, which is always accurate and can accompany him into the pool, with one of the bands he imports from Italy and France that’s also available for sale in the store.\
Walter left me with a joke, adapted from the book of an authoritarian leader of another time and place, Brezhnev’s The Small Land. He remembers everything that happened, just not to him, he says.
Don’t forget to shop local, at places like Walter’s Clock, Watch & Jewelry Repair, and nominate our next Business of the Month.
What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc
And here is a handy map of all our Businesses of the Month: