Our History at Doble Jewellers
Ivor Doble started his journey earning money for his widowed mother and 4 siblings by selling lemonade. Soon after WWII ended, the 17 year old enrolled himself at St Loye’s college in Exeter and began a course in Watch and Clock Making and Repairing.
At age 21, Ivor struck luck at a local arcade after spotting a sack full of broken pocket watches sitting unused in the corner. The owner explained that he used to use them as prizes for the children who visited the arcades, but no longer had any use for them.
After some convincing, Ivor was able to walk away that day with a sack full of opportunity and slowly but surely, Ivor repaired and restored the pocket watches 1 by 1, selling them off at local markets. Soon he was able to save enough money to rent his first Watchmaking shop and have his name.
Ivor met and married his beautiful wife Vera. Joining forces with Vera opened up more opportunities as she was the daughter of Arthur Golesworthy, owner and proprietor of Golesworthy Jewellers in Ottery St Mary, Exeter since 1918.
With Ivor’s watch making experience and Vera’s jewellery knowledge, they opened their first shop together in Cowick street, Exeter. As a highly skilled watchmaker, Ivor undertook all repairs upstairs in the workshop whilst Vera looked after the shop front, jewellery sales and looking after customers. After they closed up the night, it would be a short walk round the back to their little flat above the shop.
After 8 years accumulating loyal customers in Cowick St, Ivor and Vera made the huge move into the heart of Exeter, acquiring a larger premises on Sidwell St. which spanned 3 floors with a large showcase room and an even bigger onsite workshop. This would bring the Ivor Doble’s name to many more people and eventually cement Ivor into the Exeter and South Devon area.
Many bright and eventful years ensued, with Ivor and the team entrenching himself in the Devon and Exeter community. Often seen pitching up at local shows across the county, pictured here at the Devon County show. Anywhere he could gain new customers and talk with new faces, you’d find him.
Ivor’s son, John joined the business at age 17 and went on to train at Plymouth jewellery college in all aspects of the trade including clock making, gold smithing, insurance valuations and sales.
John branched out, bringing the Doble name to the seaside town of Torquay. The shop underwent significant renovation works before its grand opening, taking inspiration from the Art Nouveau era with beautiful curved glass, carved wood and brass detailing to the shops front.
With the shops running successfully, Ivor was ready to take on his next venture. After lifelong support of Exeter City Football Club and as a loyal Exeter man Ivor reached out to Exeter City Football Club, and was soon was elected as chairman of the club.
Another opportunity arose and father and son duo expanded further across Devon opening their store onto Brixham high street.
After 21 years and with Exeter City FC’s first and only title Division win under his belt, Ivor retired from his position as Chairman at age 78. But not before setting up a lunch with friend Uri Geller, the infamous Michael Jackson, David Blaine and son John, gaining huge media coverage for the club.
Time for the 4th generation to enter into the fold. After finishing university, Roo Doble joined the business and trained underneath both Ivor and John before taking the reins on the Exeter shops as Ivor stepped back into later retirement.
With a fresh set of eyes in the family business, Doble Jewellers were able to open their fifth store, 15 Totnes High St. This fabulous store has been a jewellers since 1815 and a pub for over 300 years before that. A very proud moment to be able to place the Doble Jewellers name above the door and carry on the premises rich and successful history.
Celebrating 100 years of trading across 4 generations and with 5 locations now established across South West England, we started working to create cohesiveness between the stores. Rebranding the shops to trade under one name and centralising management so we could offer the same quality service and stock holding across all our stores.
Nancy, sister to Roo, joins the company and together we oversee the grand renovation project of the Sidwell St, Exeter flagship store. With 3 floors and a huge square footage, this was no mean task. Eventually we were able to create two entirely new floors of retail space, giving a home to our vintage watch collection and paying homage to our beginnings with watchmaker Ivor.
A state of the art workshop was built on the very top floor, giving us the opportunity to expand our repair and bespoke jewellery capacity. We now have 3 full time goldsmiths tinkering upstairs, repairing and building gorgeous jewellery for our and long standing clients, as well as all of our new ones.