Timepieces: Education & Repair
Take-In Procedures, Part IV: The Date of
Defuse a common source of complaints before you take in
During the entire repair take-in and delivery process, it's
the promise date that so often creates service problems for the
jeweler, customer and watchmaker.
To ease this potential for friction, let your customers know
the factors that can speed or delay the repair. Typically, discuss
these after the customer agrees to go through with the repair.
These factors include:
- The watchmaker's schedule.
- The watchmaker's workload.
- The time of year, which affects the workload.
- The availability of movement and case parts if needed.
These should be phrased not as reasons for delays but as steps
required to accomplish a specialized service watch repair.
By letting the customer know first, he or she will likely
understand why a repair may take a week rather than a day. It's
better to let the customer know in advance rather than during
the time the watch is left with you for repairs.
Contact the Customer
During the take-in process be sure to tell the customer you
will contact him or her should any of the factors above change
the "estimated date of delivery" a better term
than "promise date."
Ask the customer to give you work and home telephone numbers
so you can contact him or her immediately. Aside from the need
for the numbers, your request imparts genuine concern for the
customer's needs and enhances your professionalism.
Parts Take Time
Parts for very inexpensive watches, especially case and band
parts, may not be available at all. Parts for very new watches
may not be available yet through regular supply channels and
will have to be ordered from the manufacturer. Parts for the
more uncommon brands will likely have to be ordered also, creating
repair delays. And certain parts for old watches may require
searching through many sources nationwide or even globally.
You can take two precautionary steps in advance:
- Ask your watch repair service or watchmaker for a list of
brands that can take longer than usual to repair.
- Ask your watch repairer for guidelines on how long various
types of repairs will take.
Deliver the Watch
Devote extra attention to the customer at the delivery end
of the process. Again, this will enhance your professionalism
and reputation. At minimum, you should:
- Wind the watch if it's mechanical.
- Set the correct time and date. Be sure the calendar will
change at midnight and not noon.
- Wipe the watch and band with a soft cloth as the customer
- Place the watch on the customer's wrist or place it in a
delivery envelope for easy handling if he or she doesn't wish
to wear it home.
By David Christianson,Certified Master Watchmaker
President, American Watchmakers - Clockmakers Institute
David Christianson is fourth-generation owner of Christianson
Jewelry, Kendallville, IN. In addition to serving as AWI president,
he is a certified master watchmaker and a fellow of the British
Horological Society. He discusses watch repair for the sales
staff in this column each month. Send questions, suggestions
and comments to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite
1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; timepieces@ professionaljeweler.com.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.