A contented craftsman

Michael Swift: Horologist

Videos : Viewfinder By Photo by Big Baby Productions

Few people are even aware of what a horologist is, let alone the unfathomable patience and care required of such a craftsman. Michael Swift has humbly practiced that expansive profession, encompassing everything from watch repair to the study of timekeeping, for nearly four decades. Based out of what he calls “the back of beyond” — Scotland’s beautiful Isle of Bute — Swift has turned a small family business into a (still small) local treasure. Here is a man who has been fortunate enough to find his calling, cultivate it, and achieve quiet contentment and success.

This micro-documentary from Big Baby Productions sheds light on Swift’s lifework and allows him to reflect on the trade. Owing to what he calls a “strange conscience”, Swift commits endless hours to those small details of repair of which his customers will never be aware. For him, there’s something mysterious — magical, even — about the way time stops while he’s working. His curiosity about this phenomenon is perhaps why he dons the title of horologist: in hopes of uncovering the secrets behind the vocation that makes him so very, very grateful.