I took it in December last year, and at that time he stiffened with interest. "The best brand there is," he declared, "but they've been out of business these thirty years and parts are hard to find. Perhaps my brother-in-law can find some on the internet," he added doubtfully, before leaning forward, his face suddenly avaricious and hungry, like Bilbo's in the film of Fellowship when Gandalf tries to take the ring off his hands: "Unless you want to flog it?"
I said I'd see if he could get the parts first, and slipped out of the tiny shop and away.
Today I went to see how he'd got on, but it was no dice, alas. "Would you still be interested buying it?" I asked, remembering his former enthusiasm. "I would, but I'm 90 years old, I have the flu, and I'm going to be packing it in soon," came the lugubrious reply. He then started a predictable but gloomy story about how his children weren't interested in the watch-and-clock trade, how no one appreciated a clockwork motion in these digital days, and how that was a crying shame - which I could only agree with, though as guilty as anyone. He opened his shop in 1954 - a lifetime ago, really - but the trade was dying, and most of the people he had known and cared about (including his Scottish wife, who used to call him an "English bastard") were long gone.
To be honest, he wasn't quite as stoical as Wordsworth's leech gatherer, but I liked him much the better for it.