Tyson Niemeyer has opened a bright storefront at 815 E. 56th St., appreciating the upgrade from her basement where she’s repaired watches for more than 20 jewelers.
The shop displays a handful of vintage watches, although 1,400 more are in storage.
“If there is ever something in particular you’re looking for, I may have it,” she said.
The watches include a Rockford from 1876, which requires a key to wind.
“They don’t make these anymore,” she said. “For me, the beauty of the older ones is they do in fact still run. Usually.”
Niemeyer can change a battery in 20 seconds, and she’s more than willing to work on a great-grandfather’s watch. One recent customer dropped off an antique calculator.
“I wish more people would explore the option of getting things repaired. It doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg to get your favorite watch up and running again,” she said.
The shop nods to an earlier time, with vintage advertisements on the walls, chairs that once stood at the state capitol, and a display case from a suburban historical society. Aside from vintage watches, Niemeyer offers a variety of watch bands, including nylon NATO watch straps.
She decided to pursue a career in watch repair when her mom sent her an article about the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program certificate at Saint Paul College. After working in a cubicle for seven years, she was ready for a new challenge.
“There are fewer and fewer people who work on pocket watches,” she said. “…For the most part, there aren’t any instruction booklets for these things.”
She said kids should feel free to take apart their watches — the skill in repairing the tiny pieces simply takes practice, she said.
“I can play Operation with the best of them,” she said.