Local watchmaker still teaching others the art

Local watchmaker still teaching others the art

Watchmaker Guenter Best at his workshop in Mount Richon. Photograph – Aaron Van Rongen.

Not many 80 year olds can say they are still fiddling with minuscule watch fixings and teaching the next generation of potential watchmakers. 

But for Guenter Best this is his hobby and has been since he was a young boy growing up in Germany. 

“I didn’t like school so at the age of 15 I went to work at my dad’s friend’s watch shop where he took me on as an apprentice,” he said. 

“From there I completed my traineeship and masters degree in watchmaking.” 

Fascinated in the mechanical side of any timepiece Mr Best continued with his watchmaking venture, moving to Switzerland and working for Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Rolex in 1965. 

“I then arrived in Fremantle in 1970 as a shy young bachelor and rented a little cottage on Carradine Road in Mount Nasura,” he said. 

“I soon realised there was no education for watchmaking here in Perth so I started a school at Thornlie TAFE, which initially had five people enrolled.” 

Mr Best’s school, Watch and Clockmakers School of Western Australia, has since moved to Gosnells Adonis Centre where he currently teaches 36 students from 17 to 60 years of age. 

“I always tell my students that the first tool they need is their brain, then their hands and then you need patience,” he said. 

Mr Best has taught at least 500 students over the past 40-odd years and has also served as an Armadale city councillor for 12 years, survived three cancers and rides 12 kilometres a week around Champion Lakes, which is no mean feat for someone of his age. 

“I am 80 now and I know a lot about life,” he said. 

“My hands are still steady, my eyes are still good and I love teaching and giving young people a chance.”