We met Manuel for the first time back in 2004.
Looking for a reputable watchmaker to work on a collectible Audemars Piguet timepiece in the Dallas, Texas area is not an easy task. After several phone calls and numerous referrals, we contacted Manuel Chamosa to service the watch. After our first encounter with him, we immediately became close friends and he became our go-to watchmaker for anything Rolex, Vintage Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe related.
Manuel became a watchmaker in the 70's. Today, after more than four decades of service he holds a wealth of knowledge about Rolex and other brands that it's really hard to match. Manuel is a Mexican immigrant that joined the Dallas Rolex Service Center in the early 70's and quickly learned the ropes of watchmaking. After almost 12 years of service with Rolex, he decided to open his own business in the north Dallas area where he is still located today.
Manuel is not only a Certified Rolex Watchmaker but a serious collector and a pre-owned watch dealer of vintage pieces. Manuel's daily beater is a Rolex ref. 6239. To find Manuel click here.
How many watches have you worked on in your career?
A: Probably around 40,000.
What is your favorite watch, besides your daily beater?
A: I personally love all vintage Rolexes from the 1970's but my all time favorite watch is a Triple Calendar Vacheron Constantin ref. 4240.
If you could have only one watch, what would that be?
A: A Patek Philippe Minute Repeater ref. 5207.
What is the most rare timepiece that you own or have owned?
A: A Vacheron Constantin Minute Repeater from the 1940's and the Rolex Submariner ref. 6204 with white dial. I actually read somewhere that watch collector and dealer Eric Ku owns that Submariner now. To read more about Eric Ku click here.
What was the first expensive watch you purchased ?
A: Back in 1976 I purchased a GMT Master ref. 1675 in 18K yellow gold fitted with a brown leather strap. If my memory serves me right, I think I paid $650 at the time. I purchased the watch from a pawn shop—located on Jefferson street here in Dallas— that I used to do work for in the late 70s and early 80s. When I started my business, I used to buy pre-owned watches back in Mexico, restore them and then sell them here in the U.S. I purchased everything from Rolex to Patek Philippe and everything in between. I've owned some of the most amazing pieces that any collector could dream of. One of the rarest watches that I've ever owned is the rare Rolex Triple Calendar in 18K gold. While I no longer own that watch, I wore it for decades and then finally sold it to a Japanese collector about five years ago.
What do you think of the current state of the pre-owned watch business?
A: The internet has changed the pre-owned business a lot. Back in the days, some people hardly knew what they had in their hands and sometimes dealers would take advantage by buying at very low prices. Today, people go online and in minutes they can get a clear idea of how much their watch is worth. Profit margins had dropped but also the availability of rare collectible pieces has diminished.
How long does it take you to fully service a Rolex Submariner including polishing?
A: Close to three full hours of work that include disassembling the whole watch, doing all the necessary cleaning, polishing the case and bracelet, reassembling the movement, regulating and pressure testing. The breakdown of time allocated to the job is as follows: approximately 15 minutes to disassemble the watch and movement, 20 minutes cleaning all parts, 45-60 minutes to oil, regulate and reassemble and 60 minutes to polish.