As cotton-thick snow falls on St. Catherine Street in the heart of the province of Quebec's largest city, Iwao Tsumura works away in his dingy second-floor shop. His fingers probe the movement of a fine gold watch he peers at through a loupe in his eye. The screws and springs are miniscule, and it's fine, detailed work, but Tsumura has a fast, light touch founded on decades of experience.

The 69-year-old has been repairing quality watches for 40 years, and has built a reputation among Montreal's jewelers as the best craftsman in the city. And that's despite him having lost several fingertips long ago in Japan.

Born in 1944 in Hokkaido, Tsumura is now one of the few people left working in Quebec who can repair mechanical watches which, unlike modern, quartz timepieces are actually driven by mainsprings that must be wound periodically.