How to Find a Watch Repair Person Near You
Posted by Alan A on
If you have a watch that requires service, you’d be forgiven for not being sure where to go or who to talk to. Read on to find out the best way to get your watch repaired.
A watch repair shop is like an auto mechanic: you absolutely want to go to the right one. If you have a mechanical watch, it’s a complicated and precise piece of machinery. It has delicate parts and can easily be damaged by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing.
If your watch is very expensive, like a Rolex that costs thousands of dollars, then you should send it to Rolex, or an authorized Rolex service provider. If you have a vintage watch, however, that cost under one thousand dollars, you’re likely better off finding a watch service provider by yourself. If your watch is one hundred dollars or less, you may be better off just buying a new watch, as it would likely cost more to repair it than it’s worth.
Before you look for a repair shop, try an internet search to see if you can identify the problem and its solution. This is not so you can repair the watch by yourself, but rather to arm yourself with information. An understanding of what may be involved with the repair will help prevent you from being taken advantage of by a shady watch repair person. Also, while you’re online, check reviews of some repair shops near you. Read carefully, especially reviews that mention the watch brand or type that you have, to see what kind of service they received.
Regardless of which shop you choose, if it’s a good place with qualified people, and if you’re doing a full service on a vintage watch, it will be expensive. If the watch was made after 1990, it will be easier to fix. If the watch is less than three years old, consider sending it to the manufacturer, as there’s a chance they’ll do the repair for free. Be careful about sending vintage watches to the manufacturer though—it may come back with modern replacement parts that significantly detract from the watch’s monetary value.
Remember that unlike a car, a watch can’t be plugged into a computer to receive diagnostic information. Also, watch parts are much tinier than car parts, so it’s not easy to just ‘poke around’ and see what’s wrong. Likely, the watch will require a complete overhaul. This means taking the entire watch movement apart, checking for problems, and replacing all the gaskets and oils that make the watch run as smoothly as it should.
While expensive, a complete overhaul should ensure that the watch runs problem free for a long time afterwards, and likely wouldn’t need another overhaul until another five to ten years down the line. Also, assuming there are no problems with the watch, the next overhaul should be significantly cheaper than the first one.
If someone offers you a real lowball price on a watch repair, remember the old adage: “If it seems too good to be true, it likely is.” In some cases, the person may damage the watch even further rather than repair it.
While some shops will offer free estimates on repair cost, don’t be surprised if an estimate costs $25 or $50. Opening and inspecting a watch takes time and care, so that’s what you’re paying for. If the shop says they’ll do a complete overhaul—also sometimes called a full service repair—ask for pictures of the watch when it’s been fully taken apart. Also, ask about how the watch will be tested. For example, will the watch be tested for proper timing, and for water resistance?
If a watchmaker offers to open up the watch right there on the spot—that’s a bad sign. Also, avoid places that service both jewelry and watches. Jewelry has a much better profit margin, so that’s where those shops tend to place their priority. There are some minor things you can do by yourself, if you feel comfortable. These include changing the battery, swapping out the strap or adding or removing bracelet links.
Also, don’t discount the option of shipping your watch if necessary. Watch repair is a tough business, and there aren’t always a lot of good choices available. Many shops don’t do the service themselves, and ship timepieces out to a third party for repair. In these cases, it may be better to simply cut out the middleman and deal with the service provider directly.
So, there you have it—all the tips you need to find the right watch person to repair your watch. We wish you all the best in your hunt for the best watch service provider for your needs!