So, here's how it all went down:
Watson Wheels was founded by James Watson some years ago. Andrew, his son, worked along with him for several years, and then took over the business completely about four years ago.
Andrew lives about 2600 miles away from me in eastern Ontario. But his parents don't.
The Watsons Senior live in British Columbia, our neighbor about two hours north. So I somehow finagled my way into an invitation to drop by their home and see a wheel while Joe and I were up in BC for a long weekend in September. I conned Joe into coming along with me on the visit by promising him tea at a nearby tea house.
Keeping in mind that I was the stranger barging my way in, I expected to spend half an hour at most - visit for a few minutes, try the wheel, say the right things, leave so that I don't impose. Well, that went by the wayside quickly - James and Patricia Watson are delightful people, and we spent over 2 1/2 hours with them. Mrs. Watson gave us tea with two kinds of tea cakes - and I later begged her recipe for Bakewell tarts, which as a heathen American I had never had before. They regaled us with stories of their engagement in London during the Great Smog, and showed us some of James' other woodworking - he is marvelously talented! It felt like meeting old friends we hadn't seen for a while. We never did make it out for tea; instead, we had it at the Watsons' home!
The wheel is a masterpiece - even if it was set up backward for my left-handed draw, I could tell I wanted one within moments of trying it.
And so now the waiting game begins.
I am now trying to sell my Ashford Traditional, and will likely sell two other wheels as well. Stay tuned as we see how that whole process goes!