Christopher Stephen Kearney
Christopher Kearney Goldsmiths
St. John’s, Newfoundland
my father was a watchmaker and from an early age was fascinated by
construction of all things mechanical. I was “pushed” moreover to
continue in this trade and went to George Brown College in Toronto at
the same time electronic watches were making inroads to the market.
The death of 500 years of mechanics was on the doorstep. Computers
were just in there infancy and punch carrds were everywhere.
My short lived career in watchmaking came to a halt and a career in
the Canadian navy began. Two years later Ireturned to Nfld to pursue
work in the offshore oil boom on the oil rig “ocean ranger” that met
a tragic end shortly after I got a signal that I was running into
danger by being there. Great education in monstrous mechanics but
frought with careless management. I got off just in time. Back to my
fathers’ shop I began to restore, not repair, old clocks and my
newfound reverence for all things mechanical re-appeared. We had a
jeweler in our shop at that time and I watched in awe as he
constructed things with the torch. The connection was made and a
search for the best school I could find began.
I travelled to Nova Scotia to check it’s program and one of your
co-founders was just leaving. Charles Lewton Brain had just finished
his study under Christian Gaudernack (pardon the spelling). Charles
sprit was everywhere and I was convinced this was my grail. I studied
under Pam Ritchie and graduated in 1987. I worked as an apprentice
with Don Bell in Bedford Nova Scotia for two years and had my own
studio at pier 21 until about 1990 The net work in Halifax was
great but I have been like a fish out of water ironically here in
st. john’s. I am ecstacic at having found this site and support all
your endeavours totally.
I look forward to meeting any or some who share my passion for this
most honorable and fascinating journey. My family has run a
watchmaking store in this city for thirty years with a great
reputation for quality repair.
I owe my father for my earliest introduction to the world of small
but the best has come from Charles Lewton Brain, Hanno Eshes in
design at NSCAD and countless others in that time at school. Some of
my co-grads have gone on to other more illustrious positions at other
schools but I continue to run a small but wothy shop here in st.
john’s. I have guided another young man in my employ for about ten
years who in some areas has eclipsed my skills especially with his
younger healthy eyes.
I look forward to sharing anything of my experience with anyone who
Finally in your opening text about your origins there was a question
about crystal cutting and no reply was found. My father was mostly
making them by hand for years until he purchased a crystal cutting
machine from H and W perrin in Toronto. The process involved applying
a moldable plastic resin to the bezel of the watch which would supply
a template for the needed new one . It would be mounted in a vise
much like a key cutting machine and a piece of optical glass next to
the template. A fine stone grinding wheel with a oil and water
mixture would grind one out in minutes.
I look forward to being part of your wonderful community and
contributing inany way. Thank you again Charles for your continuing
inspiration and wish all at the Ganoksin/Orchid project, truly well