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Meet Our Watchmaker: Peter Elliot Glomb

By Natasha Fernandes
10 Apr 2023
10 min read

Peter Elliot Glomb, a Swiss-trained American watchmaker and the Head of Professional Services at Wristcheck, discovered his passion for watchmaking after high school and has been hooked ever since. He shares with us his journey, ongoing projects, and services available at Wristcheck

The decision to purchase, sell, or even service a pre-owned watch is often hard, largely because of the uncertainty about how the piece would be handled. For us, here at Wristcheck, we know exactly whose hands the watches fall under.

From his interest in automobiles to horology, Swiss-trained, American independent watchmaker, and the Head of Professional Services at Wristcheck, Peter Glomb stumbled into the world of watchmaking right after finishing high school, and he's been hooked ever since. After graduating from Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Educational Program (WOSTEP) in 2016, Glomb gained experience at various workshops such as OMEGA U.S., Atelier Suché, Bucherer in Düsseldorf, and also completed an apprenticeship at D. Dornblüth und Sohn. Currently with Wristcheck, he’s also dedicating some time to crafting his first watch, the No.0 (prototype).

Meet Our Watchmaker: Peter Elliot Glomb
Peter Elliot Glomb, Head of Professional Services at Wristcheck

To know more about Peter, his ongoing project as well the professional services at Wristcheck, we caught up with him at his workbench at our LANDMARK store in Hong Kong.

Excerpts from the interview:

What got you hooked on watchmaking?

As a young boy, I was always building “Gunpla” (Gundam plastic models) and K’nex, which I believe had a strong influence on the drive to create things with my hands. This perhaps also developed my dexterity at a young age. For those who love watches, we all fall into that rabbit hole, and then there's no turning back. I was about 18, and as any teenage boy, I loved cars. The shift from cars to watches happened after meeting a few people who had “nice cars”. Their cars sparked my curiosity about the kind of watches they might be wearing. This led me to explore a few timepieces, and before I knew it, I was blown away by their cost, craftsmanship, and intricate workings. The more questions you ask, the more you fall into the rabbit hole and the more you want to know. Once you're hooked, there's no turning back.

Peter at his workshop in Cologne Photo: Peter E. Glomb
Peter at his workshop in Cologne Photo: P. Elliot

In my case, I decided to pursue watchmaking and become a watchmaker. It's an uncommon profession for someone from Florida, and not many Americans are aware that it's even a possibility. Watchmaking is not as ingrained in American culture as it’s in Europe. I feel fortunate to have found this profession because it allows me to pursue my passion and do what I love every day. What's even more fulfilling is the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with collectors. It's gratifying to see them appreciate their watches even more because of something I was able to explain or teach them. I am very passionate about educating anyone and everyone who may be interested in watchmaking.

Peter at the Wristcheck x Amsterdam Vintage Watches event
Peter at the Wristcheck x Amsterdam Vintage Watches event

What makes your experience different from other watchmakers based in Switzerland or other watchmaking hubs? What do you specialize in?

It's extremely rare, if not impossible, to work on complications like tourbillons and perpetual calendars just a few years after finishing school. However, Florian Suché trusted me and supported my ambition, allowing me to practice complications, which made me one of the main complication watchmakers in the workshop for several years. I moved to Europe and was dedicated to learning a second language, which opened many doors. Watch production is a passion of mine, and working with expensive watches every day is a fun experience that not everyone gets to enjoy. I am currently working on my own design [No. 0 (prototype)], a high-quality traditional watch. The process to design and produce it in-house entirely by myself is what really keeps me going.

Antique automaton repeater restoration at Atelier Suché
Antique automaton repeater restoration at Atelier Suché Photo: P. Elliot

As the Head of Professional Services, what would you say makes buying, selling and servicing at Wristcheck different?

I appreciate Austen Chu, the Co-founder of Wristcheck because he aims to disrupt the secondary watch market by creating an environment of trust that mirrors an authorized dealer. As the head of professional services, my priority is to authenticate watches and maintain transparency. We keep the best examples of unauthentic watches to cross-check and ensure quality — because they are getting better and we want to make sure that we know what to look for. The aim is to standardize the buying experience, as in the pre-owned car industry, by providing service history, mileage, and damage reports. The five-position timing results are also disclosed. Buyers can trust Wristcheck's passionate team, going above and beyond to offer a unique buying experience.

Peter Glomb

What do you look out for when analyzing if a watch needs to be serviced? How often should watches be serviced?

We test the watch in five positions, we look for unique numbers that serve as a fingerprint. No two tests are identical, even if performed on the same watch immediately after. The amplitude reading is a reliable indicator of whether the watch requires servicing, although there may be slight differences in readings between tests. I would say once you reach that five to six year mark, it's probably a really good idea to have your movement serviced.

As a watchmaker, what are your top 5 tips for buying a pre-owned watch?

1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
If the seller is not willing to answer your questions, I wouldn't consider buying from them.

2. Box & Papers 
It's important to cross-reference the details to ensure accuracy. This includes verifying that the watch matches the information on the papers, and that the box is indeed the correct one for the brand, model, or reference number of the watch.

3. Check the caseback and movement
I suggest removing the caseback of a watch without an exhibition caseback. If the seller refuses, it's a red flag. Find someone else who can remove it, as not examining the movement can lead to discovering counterfeit parts or unqualified work that may compromise the watch later.

4. Ask for the service history 
If it doesn't come with service history, you should know who worked on it. Sometimes those are really hard questions to answer. But if the manufacturer themselves worked on it, they should offer service papers, which will have the date. And that should come with a warranty. But if you're outside of warranty, you at least know that someone qualified worked on your watch.

5. Ask for timing results 
It's like asking for a vehicle's mileage before buying it – essential information. As a watchmaker, I care about the watch's accuracy and overall health, and five position timing results provide that. If a seller can't provide that information, they may lack the necessary equipment. This should become standard for safer watch buying.

Peter Glomb

How can watches be cared for at home?

There is a big misconception when it comes to using a watch winder, especially for convenience. While a watch winder may be convenient, it actually increases the wear and tear on the watch by two or three times. It's comparable to leaving your car engine running 24/7. While it may be tedious to set your watch, a watch winder is not worth the potential damage to your timepiece.

It's also important to avoid using Instagram polishing kits or privately polishing your watch, as this can compromise the surface finish on your case or bracelet. It's best to have a professional polish your watch, as it's difficult to bring it back to its original surface finish once it's been improperly polished.

Storing a watch in a watch roll is a safe bet. It's important not to leave it on an exposed surface where it can be easily knocked off and damaged. Instead, it should be kept in a safe, resting on its caseback or the nine o'clock side – never on the crown, as this can cause pressure on the winding stem and damage the movement. It's best to keep it tucked away in a controlled environment, laying flat or on a watch roll if it has a bracelet.

Wristcheck watch roll

Over the course of your career so far, what has been the most challenging piece you’ve worked on?

A prestigious tourbillon came in with a complaint that it wasn't winding. I discovered that the barrel arbor had been stripped, rendering the mainspring unwound. The brand provided a quote of around $10,000 for the repair, as a replacement part was needed. I decided to produce a handmade barrel arbor instead. When making something by hand, the focus is on quality, which can often exceed the quality of mass-produced parts. Although it's up to the client's discretion to use a non-authentic part, a skilled watchmaker can produce a high-quality part that can replace an authentic one. Though challenging, I was glad to help this collector avoid the service fee.

Which watches do you have in your collection? What is your dream watch?

I've never worn a watch and don't own any. People often ask me why, and I don't have an answer. Some assume that I would be the type to wear a watch, but it's just never been a habit for me. I've never come across a watch that I absolutely had to own. But I always tell people that the first watch I'll wear will be one that I've designed and produced myself. It will be incredibly fulfilling and satisfying to see the years of hard work come to fruition in a timepiece that I can wear with pride. My grail watch is my own watch.

Designing stud adjustment mechanism Photo: P. Elliot
Designing the stud adjustment mechanism Photo: P. Elliot

Since watchmaking is a very niche career, what are your thoughts on the future of watchmakers?

I've always aimed to educate as many people as possible, given the dwindling number of watchmakers and schools. Although my school is still open, it has been reduced by half and no longer offers the education that I received. I'm grateful for my education and I hope there will be more avenues of watch knowledge to inspire a new generation of watchmakers. It's important to encourage and inspire a new generation of watchmakers by making watchmaking accessible to everyone. This will not only increase the number of watchmakers, but also save this art form. On this note, I am currently writing a children’s book centered around watchmaking and “how a watch works” so it is easily comprehensible and engaging for young children so that they may become interested in watchmaking at a young age.

In the 1970s, mechanical watches were replaced by a more affordable and precise technology, leading many to believe that mechanical watches would become replaced. However, this was not the case. Despite quartz watches having a higher vibrations per second, even the most advanced mechanical watches of today fall short in terms of accuracy. While quartz watches are measured in seconds per month, mechanical watches are measured in seconds per day. Despite this, people continue to purchase expensive and less precise mechanical watches. It is rare for an outdated technology to outperform a more advanced and affordable one in any industry. And that is what I love about watches. They're just cool and I'm fascinated by them and I'm not the only one!

Tell us more about the watch you have been working on? What has the process been like so far?

I believe that this year will mark the completion of my in-house watch, which I've been working on for about five years. This process gives people insight into the development of a brand's own movement. Many wonder why some brands don't create their own in-house movement, but fail to realize the time and money required to develop something from scratch as opposed to using an ebauche or base movement. I’m talking about creating a completely new architecture, producing all the wheels and pinions, and designing an in-house escapement and balance - there’s nothing you’re not producing. Hence, the term "in-house" can be used in this case.

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Fortunately, someone took a risk and purchased my watch before I even started making it. I am forever grateful to this person, who I won't name, but they know who they are. They've played a pivotal role in making it possible by funding the entire first prototype. They were also a contributor to my Kickstarter campaign when I was funding a watchmaker’s lathe so I could start this project 5 years ago. Despite the five-year wait, which has become quite common, they've patiently stood by me throughout the process. My business partner in Helsinki (Reima Koivukoski) and I are making every screw, wheel, and pinion for the watch including the Breguet overcoil hairspring (skills that I developed working for Dirk) . We're also producing the dials, hands, and using the Benzinger engraving and guilloché techniques. The case is designed and produced in-house as well. It's fulfilling for me to wear the watch because every component is made by us, with no parts sourced from anyone else. We're essentially bringing something to life that would have never existed otherwise. I believe this is my contribution to traditional watchmaking at its best.

Book an appointment to meet our watchmaker, Peter Glomb here.