G.H. Wilke & Co. was founded by Gilbert Wilke in October 1929. After leaving the family farm to attend watch making school in Chicago, Gilbert purchased a jewelry store in Arlington Heights, Illinois that was going out of business due to the Great Depression. Arlington Heights was a farming community that relied on Gil’s new skills to keep their timepieces running. But times were tough, and people sometimes paid for his work with chickens or eggs.
That didn’t stop Gil from pursuing his passion. He’d often take the train into work, picking up watches from his customers along the route. He’d fix them, and then drop them off on his way home.
Family lore has it then after Gil’s wife visited her brother in Altadena, California, she laid down the law saying no to any more Illinois winters. So, together, they moved to San Gabriel, California.
Second and Third Generations
After Glenn retired, his daughter, Krista, began running the store. Krista, a certified gemologist, and her husband Andrés, a goldsmith, combined their expertise to continue to offer quality service to the San Gabriel Valley for many years.
After apprenticing for several years as a goldsmith, Dario has brought his love for all things architectural to his (27) years at the bench. The G.H. Wilke & Co. team also includes Mila Banez, who helps with bookkeeping, sales, and just about everything else category.
Mila receiving her Diamonds and Diamond Grading Certificate from G.I.A. (the Gemological Institute of America).
Quite an achievement – we are so proud!
Tracy & Dario