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I have read many posts that recommend sending your newly acquired vintage watch to an independent artisan rather than back to the original manufacturer for evaluation and service (restoration is another matter). If price is not an issue (for discussion purposes), why would you not send it "home?"

And for someone new to the vintage world, what if you do not have a "go to" watch guy and therefore have to choose between a recommendation and the watch's service center? Also, does your answer change based on the make and model?

Your thoughts are appreciated.
 

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If price is not an issue (for discussion purposes), why would you not send it "home?"
If price is not an issue, then why not just throw the watch in the garbage and get a new one? Price is a big factor in not sending it home. And this discussion assumes that there is a "home" to send it to, which isn't the case for 90% of the watches out there in the first place. Of course, if price is not an issue, I can only assume you're talking about big-name watches like Rolex and Omega.

That said, there are three other major reasons.
1) Official service centers exist to service new watches. Their ability to understand and service a vintage isn't any greater then anyone elses.
2) As organizations dedicated to the greater promotion of the brand, they don't necessarily care about things like "originality". They work on volume, so they will toss any part that looks worn and replace it with a new one (if available), regardless of suitability for the watch in question. They want the watch to look as good as new, while many vintage collectors greatly prize the marks of age on their watches.
3) (and this is the big one), large watch manufacturers have been putting the pressure on independent watchmakers for a while. Much like car companies, they want the consumer to always come back to them. TO that end, it can be difficult for independent watchmakers to get the genuine parts they need to do a proper job on the high end watches. This doesn't necessarily impact vintage repairs, but is more of a overall reason why we should be supporting the independents.
 

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I have a watchmaker I trust. I trust him more than manufacturer service (which is often located in New Jersey :-d). If he can handle it, he gets the work. I don't even use manufacturer warranty service. I'd rather pay my watchmaker and get it done right the first time.
 

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I share the sentiments expressed regarding Manufacture service but wish for more reliable watchmakers locally to share the business with. Independent watchmakers are an odd bunch (so many of them have confessed) and tend to cultivate a mysterious aura, or downright secretive! As it is now, I have four different persons who I'd entrust only with certain servicing or types of watches, as experience has shown they are either not competent or interested in doing all jobs equally well :-( FWIW, I've also experienced huge inconsistency with the quality of servicing and restorations with even big name aftermarket restorations shops; its literally a crap-shoot as to what you get back! Still, "we the people" who actually lay out the money for mechanical watches must avoid being conned by fancy and expensive brand marketing, while aftersales service is left as an afterthought...
 

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. . . . . . . . . TO that end, it can be difficult for independent watchmakers to get the genuine parts they need to do a proper job on the high end watches. This doesn't necessarily impact vintage repairs, but is more of a overall reason why we should be supporting the independents.
Sure.

p
 

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I've built up a good relationship with my watch maker (he has two of my watches as we speak), and he understands the value of vintage. I only collect vintage Gallet watches, and have had a watch restored by them a few years ago. The service was great and I wouldn't have any reservations in recommending them (and have on several occasions). That watch was my grandfathers decimal and it was in poor shape, so I felt that Gallet themselves were the best option - and they didn't dissapoint. That beautiful watch can now be seen on their Galletworld.com website.
However, when one of my chronos just need a routine service, then I'd rather go to Chronodeco than pay the full retail price of Gallet.
~D
 

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I take my car to a garage where I can look around and ask questions as repair work is done. I feel the same about my watchmaker. The work is different, so I settled for a watchmaker who documents what he does on a blog, explains why he makes certain choices (putting in a new mainspring, cleaning a dial vs. restoring it, etc.) and tells me when he thinks he can't/shouldn't repair something.

In my experience, 'home' is very closed and almost secretive about what needs to be done and why. Even if their service should be better, I just don't like that attitude.

There are probably exceptions to that rule, but I also like to give my bussiness to smaller companies, so I'm not likely to find that out for sure ;)

/edit: in case you're interested in 'my guy'; here's his blog: watchguy.co.uk

Sent th
 

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I have been wondering this for awhile now and I have recently sent a watch off the the UK for a service. Before that I had 5 watches service/ repaired in Poland by two different watch guys. One was good and the other was useless. But both at a 1/5 of what I would pay at home.
Even reading this post it doesn't give confidence as it seems that you spend big enough money on a service and it's still a pig in a poke as where one watch guy may be good on a certain type of watch he may be rubbish on another.... :-(
I was going to risk a local fellow as I belief is keep job locally, but I am not sure now as a 120 quid is a lot to be throwing around and taking a chance.....
 

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I take my car to a garage where I can look around and ask questions as repair work is done. I feel the same about my watchmaker. The work is different, so I settled for a watchmaker who documents what he does on a blog, explains why he makes certain choices (putting in a new mainspring, cleaning a dial vs. restoring it, etc.) and tells me when he thinks he can't/shouldn't repair something.

In my experience, 'home' is very closed and almost secretive about what needs to be done and why. Even if their service should be better, I just don't like that attitude.

There are probably exceptions to that rule, but I also like to give my bussiness to smaller companies, so I'm not likely to find that out for sure ;)

/edit: in case you're interested in 'my guy'; here's his blog: watchguy.co.uk

Sent th
Can you send me his contact details? I can't see them on his blog. But I love the way that he details his work! Thanks!
 

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Thank you to all who have responded. My inclination is to foist my business upon the independent watchmaker, but he/she must come highly recommended. Appears to be hit-or-miss though. Hope I choose a "Hit."

The feedback thus far reminds me of my father, who has always done the family grocery shopping. His advice: Go to X for produce, Y for baked goods and Z for everything else. FYI, my dad is very wise and 80-something...
 

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I have a watchmaker I trust. I trust him more than manufacturer service (which is often located in New Jersey :-d). If he can handle it, he gets the work. I don't even use manufacturer warranty service. I'd rather pay my watchmaker and get it done right the first time.
God bless you!
 

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Thank you to all who have responded. My inclination is to foist my business upon the independent watchmaker, but he/she must come highly recommended. Appears to be hit-or-miss though. Hope I choose a "Hit."

The feedback thus far reminds me of my father, who has always done the family grocery shopping. His advice: Go to X for produce, Y for baked goods and Z for everything else. FYI, my dad is very wise and 80-something...
The bigger companies most all have brand specific forums. On any of them you can go and ask and be relatively sure to get a highly qualified watchmaker.
 

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I have a watchmaker I trust. I trust him more than manufacturer service (which is often located in New Jersey :-d). If he can handle it, he gets the work. I don't even use manufacturer warranty service. I'd rather pay my watchmaker and get it done right the first time.
Same for me but mine is located in Paris.
 
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