BENGALURU: Some dreams are very intense that they could change the course of your life. That’s what my interest in horology did to me,” says Paul D’Souza, a software engineer when we meet him. The 54-year-old, who started by collecting vintage clocks and watches, has gone on to come up with mechanisms for clocks and watches and get a patent on them.
All this started when D’Souza happened to study about world famous clockmaker John Harrison in his Class 2 English textbook. “The picture of John Harrison’s H1 clock captured my attention in that chapter. However, the turning point happened when I visited Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad, and saw their exhibit of a mechanical automata clock. As a six-year-old boy, I immediately reached home, opened my grandfather’s clock and started learning how the mechanism and artistry work to create these fascinating devices,” he says.
So far he has come up with five different display mechanisms, with simple perpetual calenders for watches which has a patent by the United Kingdom Patent Office. D’Souza’s collection includes around 115 antique clocks and watches, which include carriage clocks from 1850s, anniversary clock from 1930-40, cast metal clocks, pocket watches like Breguet watch dates back to 1783-1827, cuckoo clocks, grandfather clocks, among others. D’Souza has shown the same interest in restoring vintage clocks and watches. “I’m completely self-taught. I learnt horology and restoration techniques just by referring to books. My parents encouraged me, and helped me collect the tools to restore these clocks,” says the watchmaker, pointing to a watchmaker’s lathe meant to repair watches.
The horophile has met with living legendary horologist George Daniels and has visited Breguet, a Swiss watch brand in its headquarters in Switzerland. But one of his wishes remain yet to be fulfilled. “I want to make a clock with mechanical automata like the one I saw in the Salar Jung Museum in Hyderabad in my childhood,” he says.