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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

How do you spot a good watch repair shop? How do you tell the good from the bad?

I have, just recently, gotten into watch collecting and I've already had some disappointing experiences. First, there is a small, independently owned, jewelry store/ watch repair shop on the corner near my place. This is where I've taken my quartz watches to get new batteries over the years. I had recently picked up a Citizen Eco-Drive at Goodwill. It was in good shape except that the band was missing a pin. I took it into this shop (that sells Citizen and is, I believe, an AD for Seiko) to get repaired. While waiting for one guy to repair the watch I tried to engage the other person there in small talk. I brought up my Russian mechanical that I was wearing but he seemed completely uninterested in talking about it. I asked if they sold the Orange Monster (next on my wish list) but neither man had ever heard of it. I asked if they had the Blue Angles Citizen Skyhawk. They did not have it in stock but said they could get it. Neither offered to get me a price. Finally, the guy repairing my watch said he couldn't fix it because the part had to be special ordered. It only needed a pin!

I left and found another shop. There the guy repaired my watch in about a minute and a half. Since he seemed a little more competent and more friendly, I decided to talk to him about my Russian watch (it was my first screw-down crown and it came without a manual). He practically held up a crucifix and backed away telling me he doesn't touch them and advising me to stay away from them.

So, how did you guys find your favorite shop and are any of them in the central Florida area?
 

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I think this is another 'elephant in the room' type scenario. I often read 'take it to a good watchmaker' as advice, but no further info on how one goes about finding one of these elusive specialists. It's a bit like finding a good plumber/joiner/mechanic etc. There are normally a few duds before you strike gold!

My own solution was just to hang out in a few of the the forums. Sooner or later, there'll be a mention or even a thread. Recommendations are to be preferred. An alternative is to search the horological professional websites (sorry, don't know the US ones off hand - someone may chime in with a link). Also, you could look for repairers or service centres that are Rolex accredited as they'll usually take most makes. If they're good enough for Rolex, they're good enough for me. (They have to meet certain standards in order for Rolex to be happy that they can do the job)

Finally, I certainly wouldn't be afraid of posting off a watch to someone in another state if you have to.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Barry!

Perhaps I'm just overly excited about my new hobby but I was saddened that people who made their living selling and repairing watches would seem so uninterested in them.
 

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I found my watchmaker from recommendations from more experienced members. I hung out in the vintage forum for a bit and found a some members who were in my area. Then I just PMed and asked. You can always start a thread asking but it's hard to make sure the right people (geographically) spot your thread. Just ask directly. Folks here are generally very open to sharing the name of their guy.
 

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It is hard to find a good place.Before I really was into watches i had a Gruen Soviet I really liked i took it to a shop to have the battery replaced and they could not open the back to replace the battery and scratched it all up to boot.Some guys are just in it for the money.There is one shop in lagrange that will not work on anything but Swiss and my watch Guy once had to deal with this guy for a screw.The jerk charged him seven bucks! My freind thinks this snooty watch place is great they only charge him 75 bucks to replace a battery pressure test and polish his quartz TAG.I just think he is a sucker. I found a good guy here in my town but I'm nowhere near Florida.Maybe someone in Florida will respond here.
 

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Look for the CW21 or WOSTEP certification. AWCI has a page devoted to finding member watchmakers. These are not kitchen sink tinkerers. They have spent substantial resources to obtain the best training and have invested tens of thousands of dollars in tools and parts. Some brands certify watchmakers to work on their watches. These certifications are usually prominently displayed. These certifications means that the watchmaker has received special training on the brand's models, has the necessary equipment and has access to their documentation and parts stream. You will pay for these things.

Obtaining parts for Russian, Chinese and Japanese watches and movements - with the exception of quartz - is problematic. Getting parts for many Swiss and American watches is often difficult but doable. The same supply houses that sell these, stock virtually no Chinese or Russian movement parts.

Lastly if you had a drive full of highend European cars for which you could obtain parts, had training on and whose owners would willingly paid you very well for your efforts, would it be reasonable for someone to expect you to abandon those efforts and work on a Trabant for short money - with no readily available parts.

And there are always some guys coming up, without formal training (or much of it) and there are those who are or will soon be "past it". The first group is hungry and probably still gets a kick out of learning and doing the more difficult tasks and definitely has something to prove. The second has nothing to prove, may need a little less revenue and may have a soft heart for a poor boy or a hard luck story. Both of these groups may actually "enjoy" watches and those things related to them (including their owners).

The sorry state of affairs that is - is directly attributable to the large Swiss brands arbitrarily constricting the supply of branded parts to independent watchmakers. As this flow continues to be reduced, fewer watchmakers will enter the trade.
 

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Some professional watchmaker charged someone $7 bucks??!!!? Oh the humanity.


-Pedro



my watch Guy once had to deal with this guy for a screw.The jerk charged him seven bucks!
 

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This might be a good moment for me to ask if anyone has used WatchRepair.net. The little man inside my Facebook page knows I like watches, so I get their ads a lot. They say they use all genuine parts and CW21 watchmakers. (Secondary question I guess would be if the CW21 thing is a gimmick or real.)
 
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