Old School Ilica

Urarski obrt Vinko Zvošec

Ilica 66

Clocks and Jewelry Repair

Vinko Zvošec owner
+385 (0)1 4847133

Working hours: 08:00 – 12:00, 16:30 − 19.30 (Mon-Fri), 08:00 – 12:00 (Sat)

"The customers differ. Among others, there were also some famous writers, for example Gustav Krklec."

Oaza: How do you develop this love for watches? When did you decide to be a watchmaker?
Vinko Zvošec: I became an apprentice when I was 14 years old. I was small, so my dad asked his friend, a mechanic: "What trade is he good for"? And he replied: "Fine mechanics, a watchmaker or something like that". So I told my dad I wanted to be a watchmaker and he found someone willing to take me on as an apprentice. That was in Varaždin, but I am actually from Kotoriba, from Međimurje. I was schooled at the metalworkers' and electricians' department because there was no watchmaking program. The education program at that time lasted three years, as did the watchmaking apprenticeship. After that I got my journeyman's diploma, and another four years later I passed the master watchmaker exam. In 1973 I opened a shop in my name.

O: If you could choose again, what would you choose?
VZ: If I were as young as I was when I chose, I would not choose this because it is a nerdy job. When you are young, you want to travel and wander, but this job forces you to constantly be in one place and have a lot of patience.

O: Do you work alone? Have you ever had an employee?
VZ: What do you mean alone? I have always worked alone. Even when I had a boss, he was more of a jeweler than a watchmaker so I also did everything myself. I have had some apprentices as help. This job has no prospects. That is why I do not take on any apprentices anymore.

O: What is the situation in your trade compared to before?
VZ: In 1945 in Yugoslavia, all the shops that supplied watchmakers with spare parts were closed. The private sector was a thorn in the side of the communist authorities. It was a real art to do this job back then, because it was very hard to get materials that were needed to work. Today we have plenty of materials, but the tools are expensive because the watches are also changing.

O: Are there cases where people bring a "sat" (=watch/clock) to be repaired and then never come to pick it up?
VZ: Forget "sat". When you are here, then it is called "ura" (=watch/clock). I do not understand how local people can ask for a "sat". When they come here and say "sat", I send them 400 km to the east, to Bosnia. That is where they have "sahat kulas" (=clock towers; from Turkish).
I have drawers full of them, 40-50 watches like that. We are not "satari" (the meaning would be "watchmakers" but the word is non-existent), but "urari" (=watchmakers).

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