11 August 2022 | Story NONSINDISO QWABE | Photo SUPPLIED
The erudite watchmaker, Jabulani Mabuza.

At a time when it is becoming fashionable for high-tech smartwatches and fitness gadgets to adorn your wrist, there will always be room for a classic timepiece. Wristwatches in particular tell a different story to people of all social classes, and for Qwaqwa student Jabulani Mabuza, the process of making different watches to suit different tastes is what excites him the most.

Mabuza is in his final year of a BCom General Management degree.  In January 2020, he acted on his curiosity about the process of assembling a watch, and subsequently registered his watch business, Honour Watches, in January 2021.
Since then, he has steadily honed his craft, learning more about the art of watches. He recently made it through to the central regional rounds of the Entrepreneurship Development in Higher Education (EDHE) competition in the Existing Businesses category for studentpreneurs. 

On the pursuit of mastering the art of watchmaking

Horology is the study and measurement of time. It is the process of allowing yourself the time and patience required to master the art of building a watch from scratch, and Mabuza said he enjoyed the intricacies of the watchmaking process. “What I enjoy about horology is learning the deeper technicalities of the art, the whole process – from understanding basic astronomy and how planets move in our solar system, to sort of emulating that in a watch mechanism. The working of metals transformed into watch components that actually tell time, is what I enjoy most and what I am investing in so that I can master it one day,” he said.

As a BCom student, he said his studies have largely influenced his business journey, as it helps him understand the structure of his business professionally. “It assists me with the business administration and management of Honour, and the rest is inspired by my creativity and passion for what time means to human beings.”

Mabuza said South Africa does not have a watchmaking plant as yet, so all the components for his watches are currently imported from Japan and Switzerland. He hopes to one day have his own production plant that will produce watches from scratch, in order to teach more people this skill and to create jobs, for which there is always a need. Currently, he studies the watch components to learn which movement best complements which type of hand and casing, in order to assemble them according to the designs he likes. 

“I enjoy the pursuit of creating a mechanical auto-magnetic watch for international travellers that will automatically adjust to different time zones as they travel. These horological pursuits are what I enjoy the most, believe in, and am passionate about.”

The regional rounds will be held on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus from 19 to 23 September 2022.

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