Griffith man Elio Cocilova retires after 54 years as a jeweller and watchmaker | Photos

FAREWELL: A careful Elio Cocilova says over 54 years he never took shortcuts and that his clients would always hold a special place in his heart. Picture: Anthony Stipo.

FAREWELL: A careful Elio Cocilova says over 54 years he never took shortcuts and that his clients would always hold a special place in his heart. Picture: Anthony Stipo.

For 54 years watchmaker and jeweller Elio Cocilova has made it his life’s work to make and repair beautiful things.

But after living and breathing his craft for so long he still can’t seem to stop despite announcing his reitrement.

“If I can do another four or five years I will be happy,” he said as he gestured to his collection of tools, now lovingly set up in his own home.

“You never make the same piece twice, I love the challenge.”

Since 1972 Mr Cocilova has worked out of his premises E&M Cocilova on Banna Avenue.

But his story began far before his own shop and his 54 years of work has left him with 105 years worth of memories.

At the age of 16 Mr Cocilova travelled to Australia from Italy, making his way to Finley where he learned both his craft and English from a Dutch watchmaker. 

It was there he met his much-loved wife Maria.

“She used to come into the shop to have things repaired,” he said.

“The next minute she had left school and Angelo said to me ‘did you let that girl escape?’”

But Maria returned to him and would eventually begin to work alongside Mr Cocilova where they fell in love and married.

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing. “I said to her ‘one of these days I am going to kiss you’ and she said ‘I can kick like a horse’,” he laughed.

Mr Cocilova has learned many things in his time, but one of the most important was understanding that the true worth of any valuable trinket lay in the memories it held for its owner.

“I had this old lady once and she said to me I want to repair this brooch here, but somebody told me to throw it away because it is worthless,” he said.

“When she picked up the brooch after I repaired it for her she said ‘I don’t mind telling you the reason why I wanted to fix it’.

“’My husband went to war in Europe and when he came back he had no money and this is what he brought me back from the war’.

“See, you never say to anyone ‘throw it away’, because you never have any idea what is the meaning behind it.”

This story Time stands still for city’s watchmaker first appeared on The Area News.