Michael Watson originally started working in long case clock restoration, before going on to train in instrument making at West Dean College in West Sussex for three years, studying with Roger Rose and Christopher Challen. He was subsequently awarded a grant by the Crafts Council for a further year of research and development. In 1987, Michael set up his own workshop in Hastings, mainly making baroque and modern cellos and, in 1992, he was selected by the Royal Northern College of Music to build the RNCM Baroque Orchestra, comprising 14 violins, 6 violas, 4 cellos and 2 double basses. Having completed the Baroque Orchestra, Michael spent five years sharing a workshop with guitar maker Peter Barton in Addingham, West Yorkshire, before settling in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, restoring and making copies of fine Italian instruments for professional musicians, students and discerning players. Michael also worked at Vernons Violins for over ten years as a restorer, before joining the Ayres Violins workshop in January 2014, swiftly becoming an integral part of the Ayres team.

Michael’s instruments are known for their fine sound quality, which has been compared to instruments by the old masters.
He searches for top quality wood from the best European sources, whilst making all of his own varnish from the raw materials, producing, as a result, instruments of outstanding individual character. Michael is also busy with commissions and, most notably, made a cello for the eminent cellist Martin Lovett of the world famous Amadeus Quartet.



Ayres Violins Ltd
Registered Office & Shop
69-71 School Lane,
Didsbury, Manchester
M20 6WN

Company Number 8282730
Registered in England and Wales
TEL/FAX: 0161 448 1860


Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 9am - 5pm by appointment only. Sat & Sun: Closed