For fifty years, Smail Ibrisagic Lipso has been engaged in the watchmaking craft, and today he is the only remaining active craftsman of that field in the town on the Sana, who was in the past best known for a large number of watchmakers.
Ibrisagic says that, if the years spent in craft and practice are added to that, his work with watches of all kinds is much longer and that it will last as long as his strength and intelligence serve him well.
He adds that the age of modern technology and electronics has its influence, but that despite everything, the culture of mechanical watches, which he repairs and breathes life into them, still remains. He recalls how he started practicing this craft at an early age, when he learned it from the once famous watchmaker from Sanski Most, Irfan Cekic. His life journey later took him to Prijedor, where he opened his first craft shop and worked successfully until the beginning of the war, and then worked for several years in Pula, where he spent years as a refugee. Finally, more than twenty years ago, he settled in his native Sanski Most, where everyone knows and appreciates him as an excellent master.
“Lately, most customers come from abroad, and they are our people who live and work in other countries. They bring their mechanical watches for repair, and those that belong to their friends, Germans, Italians, Scandinavians and even Swiss. We used to send the watches to them for repair, and now they are sending them to us,” says Ibrisagic.
He adds that every quality watchmaker is adorned with a sharp eye, patience and a precise hand, because repairing of miniature watch mechanisms consisting of numerous wheels and springs is not an easy task. “Indeed, when you pick up an old Swiss watch, for example, you are amazed at its superior production, aesthetics, harmony and the way this complex mechanism works. In my career, I repaired many unusual watches, some of which were expensive and worth a whole fortune,” explains Ibrisagic. He says that he is the owner of one such pocket watch, which was produced back in 1860 in Switzerland, and was constructed for the needs of blind people. He points out that it is a complicated mechanism, and extremely advanced for its time, which announces the exact time to the owner with sound signals.
“I got the watch as a gift from a friend from Switzerland, and I was not immediately aware of its value. It was only when I opened it and cleaned it carefully that I was convinced that it was a real mechanical miracle,” he explains.
He adds that there is a small lever on the watch which, when activated, uses sounds to indicate the correct time.
“The sound that announces the hours is different from the one that marks the minutes. The clock is intended for blind people, because they cannot see but only hear. The owner could get information about the hours and minutes at any time, using sound signals,” says this watchmaker from Sanski Most.
He also places the emphasis to an unusual clock from the Ottoman Empire period, which he repaired and whose age is several hundred years. Its mechanism was made of wood.
Also, there is a specific watch that was made by Ibrisagic himself, and it measures time backwards. “I made a watch like that in Pula, its hands move backwards, and you only see the right time if you look at the reflection of the watch in the mirror. This is why it is very difficult to deal with it,” he explains.
Ibrisagic says that he regrets that after him, as things stand now, there will be no one left in the city on the Sana who will practice this ancient craft.
“Young people are not interested in learning or doing this job, so the time will overtake our profession and