Timepieces: Education & Repair
Take-in Procedures, Part 3: Pricing the
Whatever your prices, here are tips on consistency and
Repair pricing policies vary store to store. If you have an
in-house repair center, pricing is likely (and hopefully) a well-structured
side of the business. With off-premises service centers, however,
the following points will help you understand how pricing policies
Most watches brought in for servicing need their movements
disassembled completely, cleaned, hand-lubricated and reassembled.
Then the time must be set and regulated.
Give customers an estimated cost to perform this basic service
and advise them the watchmaker will go ahead with this procedure
unless other costs would have to be incurred. Most watchmakers
have a price list that includes a blanket service fee for a regular-wind
watch and another fee for an automatic (self-winding) timepiece.
This basic service typically includes a set of gaskets, a new
crown and a crystal.
Some shops don't include servicing the movement as part of
basic service. These are called "short jobs," which
means there's a separate fee for one or more of the following
procedures: new gaskets, new crystal, new stem and/or crown and
cleaning the band and case. If you've determined via the repair
person's criteria the job is a short job, you can quickly list
and price the individual procedures for your customer.
If you become aware of some additional work needed as you
take in the watch, add this cost to the initial fee. Additional
work might include replacing the crystal, the crown or the set
bridge. See last month's "Timepieces Education & Repair"
(October 1999, page 112) for suggestions on how to evaluate a
watch for additional work as it arrives in the store.
If additional work is needed after you've taken in the watch,
your watchmaker or repair shop should give you an estimate before
proceeding. If this doesn't typically occur, try to develop a
better rapport with the watchmaker or repair shop. As a sales
associate, you must work with the customer and the watchmaker,
so it's best to be fully aware of what you need to tell your
customer before the work begins.
Also note the type of crystal many repair shops will
charge extra to replace sapphire crystals or other specialty
crystals and crowns.
Make sure all additional repairs are listed and priced individually
on the bill. Other examples include complications such as calendar
dates, day/date features, chronograph functions, moon dials,
antique or rusted movements and repeaters.
Quartz and Electronic Watches
These require different service fees than do mechanicals.
A watch such as an Accutron and balance wheel electronic
watches usually require individual estimates. Be sure you're
able to identify these types of watches and are fully informed
about the take-in procedure your watchmaker or watch repair shop
requires for these unique items.
Quartz analog movements typically are repaired for a single
fee. This is possible because, in most instances, a commercial-grade
quartz movement is simply replaced rather than taken out and
repaired. This is far more efficient and effective for lower-cost
models. Of course, as noted earlier, list any other repairs or
By David Christianson Certified Master Watchmaker,
President, American Watchmakers - Clockmakers Institute
David Christianson is a 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; email@example.com.
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Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.