Watch Repair Business Declines due to Economic Deterioration, Style Change

Watch Repair Business Declines due to Economic Deterioration, Style Change

By: Al-Hidai Ahmed

Khartoum, 20-11(Sudanow)-Watches repair business had it been known in Sudan as flourishing of its kind during 70s up to early 1990s is now recording a sharp deterioration according to a number of watch repairers’ working at Alsoug Alarabi and Alsouq Alafrangi in Khartoum.

They told Sudanow that their business is affected by the bad economic situation, new generation style change, the digital watch attached to mobile phones and the expensive price of Swiss made watch brands, like the renowned Rolex and Omega.

They stressed that most of the Sudanese people cannot afford the thousands of dollars to buy one. 

Abdel-Rasoul Adam who practices his job as watch repairer on small table at a verandah in Alsouq Alarabi  said, ‘’ I started practicing watch repairing business for nearly 20 years, in Khartoum.

 He said in the beginning he used to earn a little income ranged between 50 SDG to100 SDG per day, and that he said was quite enough to cover all the needs of his family.

 But now he said his daily income ranges between 5000 SDG to 10,000 SDG But he said he needed to increase it through other activities such as selling of sunglasses. He explained ’All that is not enough to meet the current daily life expenses,’’.

On his part Emad Mohamed Khogali another watch repairer with an experience of 30 years in the field highlighted that they used to work round the clock in the past.

  He said customers used to rush in day and night requesting the service particularly at the famous watch repair workshops complex that had been previously located at the new Gold Building area in Souq Alarabi.

 He noted that the complex was run by a number of Congolese. Frankly speaking according to Khogali that the Sudanese people in the past worn quality watches while at present the watches displayed on shelves of the shops are of less quality.

 During the early days the quality of a watch had to be measured through the serial number fixed inside the machine. But now with market being dumped with less quality watches no quality guarantee is made to know which of which sort of watch is this, commented Khogali.

Many pioneer companies in the field of supplying quality watches and spare parts such as Adil Marza, Nabil Saeed   and National Eyeglasses Company closed down businesses in Sudan, because of the sharp declination in the business, noted Khogali. 

Now the only sources for obtaining spare parts needed for repairing watches is through bag trade importation from Egypt and United Arab Emirates. The bag trade business doesn’t cover all required spare parts, said Khogali 

Meanwhile, he said some watch repairers shifted   to the alternative of buying watches and use their mechanical parts in the maintenance operation.

A number of respondents say, it seems likely that the public mood of the Sudanese people of having quality watches was change due to the bad economic situation, the appearance of mobile phones following the revolution of information technology and market domination of less quality watches combined with the new generation style change. ‘’

Osman Abdo Ahmed ‘’nicknamed’’ Sheikh Alsouq, at his seventies practices the maintenance of watches on small table at Abualila building in Alsouq Alafrangi.

  He told Sudanow that he inherited the job from his father.

Sheikh Alsouq described the period from the 70s up to 90s as the most flourishing time of watch repair business. 

 He said the Sudanese people known of their highly respect to time factor, for its importance in all means of life.

 He said at that time, the Sudanese people worn quality watches with a cost that did not exceed seven Sudanese pounds to buy one.

He said   each person wanted his watch to be an accurate one.

Meanwhile, he said people immediately rushed to a nearest watch repairer to fix his watch in case it went fast or slow.

Sheikh Alsouq continues explaining the importance of watch in Sudanese life, by saying that watches were found fixed on wall in houses to show parents, when should their sons go to schools and when they had to arrive back home.

The watch also was of special importance to them because it showed time for prayer and time for taking meals as well as time for children to go to bed or to memorize their lessons.

 ‘’The negligence of the time value in a nation’s life is a real crisis a thing which unfortunately becomes nowadays a social behavior in the Sudanese life,’’ as Sheikh Alsouq stresses, calling people to be aware of respecting time to face the challenges of economic difficulties.  

Khalid Sidiq who has been waiting for his watch be fixed by Sheikh Alsuoq said” I never go out of my house without wearing wristwatch although I have a smart mobile.’

“As well I also never look to watch in the mobile’’ He stressed that he likes wristwatch and when it requires repair, he comes to Sheik Alsouq to fix his watch, saying he is being a customer to Sheik Alsouq for nearly more than 20 years.

A group of new generation of both male and female’ has expressed viewpoints on the importance of wearing watches in the time of mobile phone domination.  Nusaiba Ahmed a finalist at density faculty of Nieelain University said she prefers looking on wristwatch to know what the time is, rather than in a mobile.  She stressed, that she loves to wear an accurate watch and likes exchange wristwatches as presents rather than anything else.

 But Lina who studies laboratory sciences at Sharq Al-Niel University thinks otherwise.   

She said she doesn’t see any importance for wristwatch since the mobile watch could show the time.

 But she retreated by saying that “the importance of wristwatch for me is just during conducting certain type of lab experiments which are measured in seconds”. Communication Engineer Muhand Tari believes on the importance of wristwatch, particularly for businessmen who are always busy, explaining that it is easier for them to look for time on a wristwatch rather than on mobile which allows being kept in a bag.

Undergraduate student who studies engineering at Karrari University, Mohamed Amin noted that the important of wristwatch is retreated largely among the youth people who resorted to mobile digital watch as an alternative saying, to have got a quality watch seems impossible for every one of us to buy.

 He said most of young people are now wearing less quality wristwatches and are wearing them just for style. 

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