Basic Take-in Procedures, Part II Home Ask the Expert Brainstorm Stats Site of the Week Consumer Press Scan Your Business On-Line Calendar Staff Site Map

October 1999

Timepieces: Education & Repair

Basic Take– in Procedures, Part II

Help your customers and your watchmaker with more than a cursory look at the watch brought in for repair

Your ability to assess repair needs as watches appear at your showcase greatly enhances your professionalism – and builds customer trust (Professional Jeweler, September 1999, p. 84).
Once you've determined the working status of the watch brought in for repair, you've also likely determined whether your on– staff watchmaker or service center can work on it. If headed to that stage in the repair chain, you can perform additional checks to assess repair needs beyond batteries and full movement repairs.

These include examining the major exterior areas:

Case and Bracelet

  1. Are links missing, stretched or bent?
  2. Is the buckle loose or inoperable?
  3. Is the leather strap cracked, stained or torn? (With bracelets or straps, suggest a replacement to ensure safety, appearance and comfort.)
  4. Is the crystal cracked, scratched, chipped, loose or missing?
  5. Is the case nicked, scratched or worn?

Dial and Hands

  1. Is the dial or any hand rusted, stained or dented?
  2. Are the markers loose or tilted?
  3. Are any hands bent or missing?
  4. Is the hour hand not pointing to an hour marker when the minute hand is at 12?


  1. Does the crown unscrew when you try to set the hands or wind the watch?
  2. When you pull out the crown, does it draw back in easily instead of snapping firmly from one position to the next (this indicates a broken setting bridge).
  3. Is the crown worn smooth?
  4. Is it so tight it can't be pulled or turned?
  5. Does the watch wind continually? For mechanicals, this indicates a broken mainspring. For automatics it's normal.
  6. If a tightly wound watch doesn't loosen, something is blocking the gear train (probably dried oil or contamination) and not allowing it to run down. It also may indicate a mechanical blockage.

Day/Date Indicators

  1. Does the date change at midnight or noon? (Simple solution: Turn the hands around the dial 12 hours.)
  2. Does the date change at some other time on the dial? In this case, your watchmaker needs to realign the hands.
  3. Do the day and date line up in the date window?

Finding any or all of these items will suggest additional repairs.

Note any of the above conditions when you fill in your watch repair envelope. Look for more on filling out the envelopes and pricing suggestions next month.

By David Christianson, Certified Master Watchmaker, President, American Watchmakers – Clockmakers Institute

David Christianson owns 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;

With regular use, this flow– chart can make take– ins more efficient for you and your watchmaker

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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