Robert Robson was born in the late 1800's in North Shields, England. He learned the intricacies of mechanical watch making while producing chronometers with the English company Wilson and Gillie. The chronometer was a nautical instrument used to determine longitude at sea, requiring precise timekeeping and adaptability to varied climates. It was ideal training for a young watchmaker.
Robert left England in 1903 for the United States and settled in the first town he reached, Gulfport, Mississippi. For three years he employed his watch making skills at J.D. Radford Jewelry, and then he moved to Live Oak, Florida where he met his bride, Hattie Florence Larsen. The young couple moved westward early in their marriage, to Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and eventually to Baytown in 1926, where newfound oilfields had created an economic boom. Robson went alone at first to the Tri-Cities, as Baytown was then called. The local economy had exploded so quickly that it took six months for him to find housing for his family. Robson's Jewelry store opened two years later in the Brunson Building in Old Baytown, and the next two decades brought three additional moves as the business expanded: through the Guberman Building and two locations in the Stiles Building, both on Texas Avenue.
Robert Robson and his family were committed to the success of the business. His five children helped at the store, being trained to offer expert jewelry and watch repair with warmth and professionalism. It was this commitment to quality and service that carried Robson's Jewelry store through its most difficult times-the war years.
During those years, Robson's store was chosen to be the official servicing site for railroad watches. Like the marine chronometers on which Robson had originally learned to keep time, railroad watches were required to be highly precise. One minute of error could cause a railroad catastrophe, in days when railroads were the lifeblood of the economy.