Timepieces:Education & Repair
Taking in a Watch for Repair
How to get the most effective service from your watch repair vendor
Here are nine tips from horologist Dan Gendron of Grants Pass, OR, on
how to get the most effective service from your watch repair vendor.
- Begin to fill out the repair envelope even if the customer seems only
to be "investigating" a repair. Fill in the personal information,
especially the name, address and telephone number. If the customer decides
not to leave the watch, you've still added a name to your customer mailing
- Use your loupe to check for details.
- Check whether the watch has the correct time. If it's a quartz watch
and doesn't have the correct time, make sure the customer understands and
agrees the watch isn't running. For a mechanical watch, wind it. If it
winds smoothly, ask the customer to explain the problem. Does it run slow
or fast? Does it stop occasionally? This may save you from an argument
later. You don't want to hear "it worked until you touched it!"
- Write details, including whether the piece is a man's or woman's size.
- Read carefully. Don't assume a watch brand starting with "B"
and ending with "A" is a Bulova. When you hand the customer back
his "Bulivia," he might demand the "Bulova" he can
claim you checked in.
- The watch color is determined by the case, which may not always match
the band. Write yellow gold, white gold, steel or two-tone, not just "gold"
or "silver." A case marked "14 KT" may not mean solid
- Are there stones on the watch, band or dial? If so, describe the stones
by color, not type. Even diamonds that you may verify with a diamond tester
should be described as "white stones" not diamonds. Check to
see whether any of the stones are missing and/or loose and mark it on the
- Note the condition. Are the band or crystal broken? Are there scratches
or discolorations on the dial? What's the general condition of the watch?
Is it slightly worn or very worn?
- Prepare a summary estimate. The watchmaker will better understand the
work needed and the costs agreed to with the customer (more on this in
next month's Professional Jeweler).
These tips and many others are now on the Gendron Watch Repair Web site
(www.watchfix.com.) Or call him at
by Michael Thompson
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.