TEENAGER Lewis Walduck has plenty of time on his hands – literally.

For the 17-year-old from Bicester – whose first words as a baby were ‘tick-tock’ – owns a collection of more than 50 antique clock and watches.

Some of them date back to the 18th century – one of them once owned by the fabulously wealthy Rothschild family at Waddesdon Manor in Aylesbury.

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And last month he started work as one of only a handful of apprentice horologists in the entire country.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Lewis, a former pupil at Bicester School, who numbers Oliver Cromwell among his distant ancestors.

“I love my job and am so grateful for it. One day I’d like to have my own really high-end watch shop in London – maybe even be an expert on the Antiques Roadshow.”

Lewis’s fascination with timepieces began when his great grandfather gave him his pocket watch.

Then his great grandmother presented him with a clock that had belonged to her grandparents.

“It’s not the most valuable I have in monetary terms,” Lewis said. “But for sentimental reasons it means the most to me.

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“I have been hooked on watches and clocks ever since. They are so beautiful and I am fascinated by their intricate workings.”

While still at primary school, Lewis was taking watches apart and mending them for relatives and friends.

By the age of 13, he was buying and selling them at a Buckinghamshire antiques fair he ran with his dad.

His grandmother Julie Bradford said: “We’re so proud of Lewis. He has been fascinated by clocks since a baby.

“In fact his first words were ‘tick-tock’ and when I took him out as a toddler we always had to stop outside any shop selling clocks or watches so he could stare in the window.”

However, getting his dream apprenticeship with the renowned Clock Work Shop in Kings Worthy, near Winchester, meant that the pressure was on Lewis to pass his driving test before Christmas.

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Otherwise he would have faced a four-hour train journey every day.

Luckily for him, he did pass – just in time.

The shop was established in 1996 in Parchment Street, Winchester, and in 2017 joined forces with Simon Allen of Abbotsbury in Dorset, to form a formidable enterprise.

On his first day at work, Lewis found himself refurbishing an antique £5,000 clock that plays the Whittington Chimes – named after Dick, the former London mayor – every hour.

Now £5,000 might sound a lot, but Lewis’s ambition is one day to own a clock made by the celebrated 17th century horologist Joseph Knibb of Oxford – and they can cost up to £300,000.