Professional Jeweler Archive: Profitable Watch Repair

May 2001

Timepieces/Education & Repair


Profitable Watch Repair

Add business acumen to repair skills and generate greater profit


You have a skillful watchmaker, but your watch repair shop doesn’t generate enough profit. The repairs are of the highest quality and customers are satisfied, but your watchmaker isn’t earning enough and neither are you.

Is it time to get rid of the repair department and send out your repair work? Before you decide, examine your shop to see what can be done to increase income.

In addition to watchmaking skills, it takes business acumen and common sense to make a repair shop profitable.

Limit Distractions

The most important thing you can do is keep the watchmaker at his bench. When phones ring and customers come into your shop, let others tend to them so your watchmaker can continue working. For example, sales associates can fit bracelets and straps, install cells and take in work.
“The watchmaker repairs watches; I speak to customers.” This is what sales associates politely tell customers who come to our shop with a request – or sometimes a demand – to speak with a watchmaker. A sales associate can address most requests. Customers will understand when the associate explains watch repair demands tremendous concentration and that every time a watchmaker is interrupted, even if for a few seconds, he or she may need 15 minutes to resume the same level of concentration.

If the sales associate truly can’t answer the question, the watchmaker can call the customer at the end of the day or before beginning work the next day.

Make Time for Estimates

Estimates are one area the watchmaker should handle. Customers who need estimates can leave watches for evaluation, then the watchmaker can examine them at regular intervals. Some watchmakers might do estimates daily, while others let them accumulate for several days. Regardless, doing estimates in batches is more efficient than alternating repairs with estimates.

A watchmaker should not do a repair estimate while the customer waits at the counter for several reasons:

  • It interrupts the watchmaker.
  • The customer wouldn’t perceive any value in something that can be done in an instant.
  • The risk of error is much greater when an estimate results from a cursory examination.

Once the estimate is completed, the sales associate who took in the watch can explain it to the customer in non-technical language. It’s seldom necessary for the watchmaker to give a detailed explanation to customers, who generally don’t understand the mechanism of a watch.

Next Month: Choosing Repairs

By Jack Kurdzionak
The Watchmaker, Stoneham, MA

©2001 Jack Kurdzionak

Jack Kurdzionak owns The Watchmaker, a watch retail and repair store in Stoneham, MA. He is a certified watchmaker, a columnist for Horological Times and secretary of the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute. Please send suggestions and comments to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; timepieces@professionaljeweler.com.

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications