Professional Jeweler Archive: Make Friends with Repairs

June 2000

For Your Staff/Timepieces

Make Friends with Repairs

Careful repair intake can boost customer relations

I’ve written previously about the importance of having a watchmaker on the premises. One or more skilled watchmakers can make a huge difference in your watch sales.

Having watchmakers on site also gives you the opportunity to offer repairs. Repairs can be a profitable field of green or a bog of quicksand. How well this service works for you has as much to do with your repair take-in skills as your watchmaker’s skills.

Here are a few ways to take advantage of the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of repair take-in.

The Write-Up

Our experience with training and analyzing the problems we may encounter at take-in led us to design a special watch-repair envelope. On it, you and the customer can record the following and agree to a plan of action, sometimes even a price.

First, note the brand of watch and the condition of the dial, crystal, band or strap on the envelope. Also note whether the watch is automatic, manual winding or quartz-powered and especially whether it’s running at the time of take-in. Add whether it’s a specialty watch, such as a chronograph, and whether it works properly.


There’s also room for the watch history. Did you sell the watch? If so, when? There could be manufacturer warranty concerns. When and how did the problem occur? If the watch was immersed in water, when? Have you ever worked on the watch before, and is your service warranty an issue?

Like many stores, we’re sure our staff knows the prices we charge for each repair. We’ve set prices for movement services, battery changes, case and bracelet refinishing and more. Are you familiar with these prices at your store?

Of course, watches sometimes don’t reveal the vagaries of their problems until the watchmaker gets inside and looks around.

To head off future problems, get as much detail as possible so the watchmaker is not surprised and the customer has no doubt as to the action required. This effort now can save a potential conflict later.

Keep up the Training

On all the above points, it’s vital to stay up to date as new brands and models enter the showcases and as new employees join you on the sales floor. We’re confronting this in our store now. We’ve added sales personnel during the past few years because of expansion. Each new hire brings many different skills, but many have only basic knowledge of the rudiments of watch repair.

We continually train our employees. I do this, as do our watch sales representatives and our watchmakers.

We cover the specifics of the brands, the specifics of types of watches and what differentiates these watches from one another. We also are sure the staff knows which repairs we do not perform (more on this next month). Our goal is to give the salesperson as much solid, basic information as possible so that, together with the watchmaker, a proper take-in is made.

Next Month: After the repair, gain a new customer.

– by Paul White, Watch Division director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis

Each month Paul White fills this column with sales tips for retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics, questions or specific examples from your store, write them down and send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102;

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications