A Swadlincote watchmaker is commemorating 70 years in business after selling timepieces to generations of local families. A true family business, Baumgartners Jewellers in Midland Road employs three generations of the same family to work behind the counter.
Frank Baumgartner founded The Watchmakers on October 1, 1952, and it remained there until 1961. He was renowned for being straightforward and would not hesitate to yell at a customer who had damaged a watch when he knew they had done so. After moving to Market Street in 1961, the company remained there until 1985 before relocating to its current location, where it is now owned by Frank’s son John and granddaughter Dawn.
When Frank was serving in the Polish Army, he stumbled across an advertisement for a Lady Wragg of Swadlincote looking for a gardener and a chef. As a result, Frank relocated from Poland to Swadlincote. Frank began working at Greens in the town after his son Peter was born, but he later decided to take a watchmaking school, which led to the founding of his own store.
Frank, who passed away in 1995, is fondly remembered by many residents of the community for riding his bike to work and for never holding back his opinions. He worked really hard and was very straightforward, according to John. He did not hold back, telling folks exactly what he believed.
Three generations later, John Ramsell’s daughter Dawn is helping him operate the business. Peter worked at the company from the middle of the 1960s until 1997. Dawn originally joined as a Saturday girl when she was barely 15 years old. John started in 1977, and she joined in 2004.