My name is Ashley Strachan and I have lived all my life in Central Scotland initially near Edinburgh and latterly near Glasgow. I started my working life as a mechanical design engineer, which after an apprenticeship ranging from light to heavy engineering, I became Chief Draughtsman in a company specialising in ultra-high precision engineering – specialising in servo controlled X-Y tables working to resolutions of one micron and with similar accuracies in rotational movements!! Applications for these type of drives took me into a world of ingenious solutions in state-of-the-art mechanisms.
In later life my capabilities in finding ingenious solutions to problems took me into the world of business management restructuring and operational frameworks of large multinationl companies. However, I still retained my desire for things mechanical, and I took to motor sport and performance-car preparation. That led to classic car ownership and restoration. However, when one gets to their 50’s, lying on garage floors is no fun. So I took up the hobby of horology and collecting watches and clocks. First came pocket watches and I slowly collected and restored earlier and earlier examples back to owning a few from the 17th century. Along the way I also acquired a few clocks dating back circa. 1700. Two made by a family member in 17850 and 1775 . All stripped, cleaned and resored.
My business management skills have also taken me on the Board of Directors of the British Horological Institute, and I am also Chairman of the British Horological Instituite Museum Trust.
On my retirement from full time work at 65, my wife and I took “a once in a lifetime holiday”. The place we chose was Japan, as we had both always admired Japan and the Japanese way of life. So we set off on our adventure of central Japan. During my flight I read up on wadokei. I then visited the Matsumoto Clock Museum – and I was smitten …… such mechanical ingenuity and craftsmanship.
That was in 2011, we have now returned in 2014, 2015 and 2017 – so much for a “once in a lifetime trip”.
I would like to thank all the wonderful Japanese people who have made our visits so wonderful for my wife and me. We have had personal tours of the National Museum of Nature and Science, the Daimyo Clock and the Toshiba Institute Museums in Tokyo, the Toshugu Shrine in Shizuoka, the Omi-Jingu Shrine in Otsukyo, visited Shobe Tamaya’s worshop in Nagoya, plus a Private Clock Collection in Hidakanayama, and many many more. We are most appreciative.
Finally, I have naturally also now become the collector of Japanese wadokei …..