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I bought my Cosmo Chrono from Chrono24 a few years ago. This is the Pilot model with bidirectional countdown bezel ring.

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I love the bidirectional bezel ring; as I'm not doing any SCUBA diving, a unidirectional ring would be a bit of a pain for me to use. If I wanted to go a few clicks to the right, with a unidirectional ring I'd have to turn it counterclockwise almost all the way around the dial. It's a good safety feature for divers, but one that I don't need.

When I got the watch, the tritium lume was weak (the half life of tritium is about 12 years), and the crown would not screw down flush with the case. And later on, it would not manually wind sometimes unless I kept a slight outward pull on the crown while winding. I guessed that it also needed an overhaul. I sent it to Jack Alexyon at IWW (DLC watch coating, watch modification, repair, restoration - IWW) for a relume of the dial, hands, and bezel ring triangle with C3 Superluminova; he did a great job, and he also matched the original lume shade. This glows like a torch.

Since Fortis does not sell parts to independent watchmakers, I then sent it to the then-authorized Fortis repair center, Time-Tec in Los Angeles, to get it overhauled and fix the crown issue. Apparently their authorization from Fortis was pulled while they had my watch, and they would not fix the crown; they said it was bent somehow but didn't need fixing since it was still watertight, which was true, but who would miss out on an extra charge they could tack on to the bill if they could get away with it? I'm guessing that Time-Tec could no longer get the new crown assembly. When the watch came back, the crystal's antireflective coating was a little messed up. It was as though they spilled some chemical on it that left a mark that could not be removed, or it had removed some of the coating. Around that time I read others on this forum who said that Time Tec had dinged up their watches, saying scary stuff like "they said they had to tumble it!" Mind you, before this happened, Time-Tec had been doing good work. I was afraid to send it back for fear of them doing more damage.

You see, I have had a long experience with inept watch repair companies. In 1998 I bought my first Fortis, a 24-hr Flieger.

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At that time, Helvetia Time was the authorized US repair center. I sent it in to replace the mineral crystal with a sapphire crystal. They took much too long with a simple job, and communication with them was often poor and rude on their part. While they had it, they mistakenly sent me someone else's Fortis Cosmonauts Chronograph; it was a nice one with a blue dial and a metal bracelet. I let them know about it and sent it back, but I probably could have kept it with no one being the wiser. Then Providence Watch Hospital became the authorized repair center; they did good work, but they went out of business. Then there were two centers, Saltzman's Watches and Time-Tec. I sent my Spacematic GMT to Saltzman's to replace the mineral crystal with sapphire.

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When it came back, it had what might have been a sapphire crystal, but there was no antireflective coating which is standard on Fortis sapphire crystals. I called them on it, but they claimed it was an authentic part, so, not wanting to have anything more to do with them, I sent it to Time-Tec, who did a good job on that one (that was before I sent my Cosmo Chrono to Time-Tec).

That was back in the Dark Ages. Now we have top-notch RGM as our authorized repair center! I sent my Cosmo Chrono to RGM early in January and just got it back a couple of days ago. RGM cleaned, overhauled, regulated, repaired the winding and setting functions, replaced the crown and tube, installed a new sapphire crystal, installed new gaskets, and did a water resistance test, all to the tune of $779.00. (That includes the crystal for $175.00 and shipping to Oregon for $29.00 via FedEx.) Yeah, I know, ouch, but that's the price you pay for a chronograph. It makes me want to stick to quartz watches, but I love this Fortis. Actually, I think the price is about average for a chronograph, except maybe the crystal. Fortis sapphire crystals have always been expensive.

I'm happy with the result. It runs at about -10 s./day on my wrist, which doesn't sound too good, but no matter who regulates my watches, they always run slow on my wrist, and that regardless of the watch model. I am a believer that my body has some kind of influence on my watches. This has been very consistent over the decades.

Vikki Stark at RGM was always great at communication; the couple of times I called on the phone concerning my watch, she answered and was very nice and helpful. She was also good at answering emails. And when my watch was finally ready to go, she informed me that she spotted a hair or lint under the crystal and sent it back to the shop to get it removed. That delayed its return for a few days, but it was well worth the extra wait. There is nothing more annoying than getting a watch fresh back from service and seeing some junk under the crystal. I'm glad that Vikki pays attention to these things.

Here are some more pictures of my Cosmo Chrono. I use Panatime Fat Boy springbars (2.5 mm thick; Panatime FAT BOY 2.5mm Spring Bars Pack Of 10) and a USGI strap:

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Good review of a service even though there is some bad with the good.

I may use your info for a repair one of my B42 chronos require which is a new pusher. Do you know if they do just a repair of one problem or do they require a full service of the movement at the same time? Mine runs perfectly and just needs a new pusher and I want to avoid a big bill.
 

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Fantastic info, Mike! I have been using an independent local watchmaker for years (with great success) but am going to need the authorized center now for one of my many Fortis models. I, too, am needing a repair (on my Pilot Pro 40mm for faulty screw-down crown).

Would like to know if you (or others) have any experience with RGM for just a repair.

Thanks much!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Amend the rate to about -4/day; it seems to be settling down. And if you noticed any missing lume in the lume shot, that happened while it was at Time-Tec. The lume was perfect when I sent it; Jack Alexyon does good work. Maybe that happened when they had to "tumble" it? Who knows.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That is a very good question for which I do not have an answer. I'd call or email them first and ask them. And, if you find out, please post their response; thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, Gopher! Yes, this wasn't just an overhaul, but my crown and winding function needed repairs. The details are in my post, although I admit that they are hard to find, ha ha! If you are used to reading the fine print in contracts, you should have no problem in finding them. RGM did a great job.
 

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Nice review!
 

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Thanks Mike for the honest and detailed post! Have not had the chance to use RGM yet, and not to take anything away from some of the former authorized repair centers, I'm sure they are a step above what we've seen in the past. Enjoy that Cosmo Chrono!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Wow, this is fantastic. Thus far it has settled down to -1 s./day. This is the most accurate any watch of mine has been since returning from a service. RGM all the way!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks, J.D.! I believe you'll be very pleased with RGM's service should you decide to use them. These people are a class act.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I forgot to include Gevril as one of the authorized Fortis service centers; I believe they followed Saltzman's/Time-Tec. I have never had any experience with them, but I have read several not-so-good reports about them on this forum.
 
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