Not the first time that I publish motorcycles made out of old watch faces and movements. But this time, when Mike Nuriel contacted me to show me his one of a kind pieces, I asked him about his background and how he got involved and became so passionate about giving a new life to old and unrepairable watches. Below is his story.
“Growing up as a child in Miami I would see my mother and father working at a bench using their hands, tools and skills to create masterpieces. They were dental technicians. They matched color and textures together to create crowns for people’s mouths. As a child I spent many days in the lab with my parents. I learned how to mold, solder and bend different types of metals. After my mother passed away in 1997, I lost most of my passion for using my hands. As time progressed, I pursued new passions, none of which brought me as much joy as the time I spent in the lab as a child…
In late 2009 after being in Florida for 4 years, I came across a box of vintage lighters that my mother had saved over her lifetime. I began to analyze the lighters, recognizing their inherent value. Over time I began to take the lighters apart and taught myself how to repair them, bringing them to life one spark at a time. The first lighter I restored was a Ronson lighter from the1930’s. The smell from the first time I struck the flint and it ignited the wick was unforgettable. That scent will never leave me. That moment lead to a change in my life that bought me closer to my mother than ever before. After some time repairing lighters I took to repairing watches. As time went on I experienced immense amounts of joy working with my hands again. I quickly realized that a watch is much more than something used to tell time.
As I continued to repair vintage watches I began to accumulate several unusable parts that I could not repair. In the summer of 2012 a friend shared with me some artwork that displayed motorcycles made from watch parts. I was intrigued but however noticed that something was missing from these creations. The problem was I couldn’t see myself riding one of them. With my passion for bare bone choppers and bobbers I decided to incorporate the two bike styles in my work. The bike frames are made out of steel or brass and the watch parts are used to put together a functional looking bike. I believe my motorcycles are the type of bikes people dream of riding, traditional but with a twist. No two bikes are the same and each one has it’s own name. My website is Second Hand Choppers. I have a Facebook page and people can also follow me on Instagram @secondhandchoppers.” Mike Nuriel.