I love the watchmaking profession and have been in it for over 50 years. Growing up, I always wanted to be a watchmaker like my father, who owned a clock and watch repair shop in Baku, Azerbaijan, which was part of the former Soviet Union. At age six, I began learning watchmaking from my father and at 17 began working full time for him.
As a young man, I listened to Radio Free Europe and Voice of America. In 1989, I traveled 1500 miles from Baku to Moscow, to apply at the U.S. Embassy for immigration to the U.S. After three years of waiting, my application was approved. It took another year to satisfy the Azerbaijan and Russian requirements for departure. Finally in September 1994, my family and I were able to travel back to Moscow and on to the United States. With the assistance of the Jewish Federation, we arrived and settled in South Bend. I was hired by Hopman Jewelers and worked there for 14 years, after showing Patrick Hopman a clock I had made in Azerbaijan. I learned English and after five years became a U.S. citizen. For recreation I play the guitar.
Since January 2009, I have been at Van Horne Jewelers where I continue to repair watches and do everything I can to satisfy my customers.