Ten years in the past, Lethbridge resident Steve Christensen determined to pursue his curiosity of watchmaking.
He started his firm Novo Watch by sending designs to a producer in China, however later determined to begin making them himself.
“If different people have accomplished it, I’m positive I can do it too,” Christensen mentioned.
The primary watch he ever made is one which he wears himself, and was constructed utilizing outdated Lethbridge mine tracks made within the Eighties.
Since then, he has continued to search for methods to repurpose historic materials to be used in his mechanical watches.
“What we attempt to do is we discover nice tales which have that means, which have objective, and we infuse these tales into the watch,” he defined.
“It turns into one thing far more than a product. There’s an precise emotional connection to that piece.”
For his most up-to-date enterprise, Christensen is utilizing a a chunk of Lethbridge’s downtown historical past: streetcar tracks.
“The Lethbridge streetcar system ran from 1912 to 1947, and it was the start of public transportation in Lethbridge,” mentioned Belinda Crowson, the president of the Lethbridge Historic Society.
Lethbridge watchmaker creates items utilizing historic steel
The introduction of gasoline-powered busses to the transit system in 1939 was the catalyst for the demise of streetcars in Lethbridge.
Following some delays on account of WWII, work to eliminate the tracks started.
“After the streetcars had been ended within the Nineteen Forties, they determined in some circumstances to tear the tracks up, however in different circumstances they determined to save cash by merely paving them over,” Crowson mentioned.
One of many places paved over was on third Avenue downtown, one of many oldest streets within the metropolis.
In late July 2020, reconstruction started on the street to revitalize the downtown and supply infrastructure enhancements–that means the tracks had been uncovered a short while into the venture.
Naturally, Christensen jumped on the chance to get his fingers on the historic steel.
“We had been simply fortunate sufficient that one among my mates mentioned, ‘Hey, I’ve any person who can in all probability get you some items of that observe,’” Christensen mentioned.
And so the “Streetcar 1912” was born — a 10-piece assortment of watches, price about $1,600 every, with the face of the watch taken proper from the observe that hid underground for a number of many years.
“We actually reduce out the outside of both the underside or the aspect of the rail, after which we get this wonderful character,” Christensen defined. “Each single one is completely different.”
Christensen makes the watches out of his residence, and companions with different native companies for the creation of the bins, leather-based straps, and different accoutrements.
“We get to work with all these artisans, put all these items collectively, and by the tip we’ve got this handmade watch accomplished proper right here in Lethbridge.”
However Christensen’s repertoire isn’t restricted to coach tracks — he has additionally accomplished customized orders for skilled athletes utilizing elements of their gear, in addition to workers of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and households of WWII veterans utilizing outdated mementos.
“Any individual might have a chunk of plastic, piece of steel, piece of leather-based something that’s significant — that possibly you don’t have any must put in your own home and create extra junk, however has that means,” he mentioned. “We’ll discover a actually cool approach to put that into one thing you’ll be able to maintain onto eternally and move alongside to future generations.”
He says he seems ahead to increasing his customized orders sooner or later, and doesn’t see himself losing interest of this time-consuming pastime anytime quickly.
3 Avenue reconstruction venture in downtown Lethbridge underway
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