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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m curious how others would respond to an issue I’m dealing with related to my new Seamaster. I bought it from an AD around February 1. After wearing it for a few weeks, I discovered an issue where the date wasn’t advancing overnight. This only occurred from about the 22nd-28th of the month so didn’t reveal itself for a few weeks after purchase. The date also won’t advance during this period if I manually set the time and advance the watch more than 24 hours. You can see the date wheel try to advance but it snaps back to the original date when I pass mightnight.

I took it into the AD. They told me it was a simple fix but that it needed to go back to Omega. Disappointing but not unexpected. They sent it in. It was with Omega for about a month, and I picked it up on Saturday. But the issue wasn’t actually fixed — it’s doing the exact same thing during the exact same range of dates.

At this point, I kind of feel like I should be able to get a new watch rather than have to send it away for another month, but I’d be curious what others think. I don’t expect perfection in all of my watch dealings, but this is starting to feel outside the bounds of reasonable for a brand new watch.
 

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Does your warranty agreement state that you are entitled a new watch if they fail to fix an issue on the first try?

I'm not aware of a "Lemon law" for watches as with cars, but even with cars, the seller/manufacturer gets more than 1 try to fix an issue before the consumer can demand replacement or refund.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Does your warranty agreement state that you are entitled a new watch if they fail to fix an issue on the first try?

I'm not aware of a "Lemon law" for watches as with cars, but even with cars, the seller/manufacturer gets more than 1 try to fix an issue before the consumer can demand replacement or refund.
Fair enough. That’s why I’m posting — genuinely interested in feedback. I agree that my warranty doesn’t entitle me to a new watch, but I’m also a fairly good customer of this AD (bought two Omegas in Feb alone) so think about this more in terms of customer experience than a strictly legal/warranty issue. I’m mostly curious if anyone else has had an AD provide a replacement watch under similar circumstances as an act of goodwill or to keep the business going forward. Maybe the answer is just “no” — this sort of thing isn’t done.
 

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I just went through something like this recently. Bought a new old stock of an Omega Planet Ocean. It is the older model with the 8500 movement. I bought it last December 27 and within 4 days I noticed that the date wheel gets stuck in between. It will move though if I manually do it. Went to the AD and he sent it to NJ Omega. It came back within a month and after testing it for a week the problem is still there. Back to the AD and this time I told him to send them pictures of exactly what is happening. Got the watch back and so far it has not repeated the problem. 2 good things about what happened to it: 1) the watch got a complete service which is good because this watch has probably been sitting there for at least 4 years. 2) even though this is an old model I still got the 5 year warranty for it. Be patient and work with your AD. Maybe ask him if sending a picture or if you can be the one to write them what is wrong with the watch if that helps. Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

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By the way, it is not unreasonable of you to expect this watch to work. That is what I told my AD, that I have far less expensive watches and NONE had this problem (or yours). Hey, these are not inexpensive, to say the least, watches. I also told him in a very nice and diplomatic way that if this goes back a third time we need to talk about doing something. I can’t have my watch spend its time in repair longer than reasonable and he agreed. Key word is “nice” and “reasonable”.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
By the way, it is not unreasonable of you to expect this watch to work. That is what I told my AD, that I have far less expensive watches and NONE had this problem (or yours). Hey, these are not inexpensive, to say the least, watches. I also told him in a very nice and diplomatic way that if this goes back a third time we need to talk about doing something. I can’t have my watch spend its time in repair longer than reasonable and he agreed. Key word is “nice” and “reasonable”.
Thanks! That’s all very helpful. Appreciate your perspective and completely agree on the importance of being both nice and reasonable.
 

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Fair enough. That’s why I’m posting — genuinely interested in feedback. I agree that my warranty doesn’t entitle me to a new watch, but I’m also a fairly good customer of this AD (bought two Omegas in Feb alone) so think about this more in terms of customer experience than a strictly legal/warranty issue. I’m mostly curious if anyone else has had an AD provide a replacement watch under similar circumstances as an act of goodwill or to keep the business going forward. Maybe the answer is just “no” — this sort of thing isn’t done.
Totally understand the frustration of sending the watch away for a month and the issue not being resolved. Especially an issue that is so easy to check and verify (vs intermittent problems that sometimes a technician isn't able to replicate). It shouldn't have left the Omega service center still malfunctioning. That said, people make mistakes, so it's important to take a breath and have a little patience and give a second chance.

That said, if they fail a second time, I would be leaning on the AD for something for the trouble. Maybe not a brand new watch, but maybe a free strap or 2 or free service voucher. Politely expressing your frustration and that a 3rd try will not be acceptable when you arrange to send the watch back again is a good approach. Maybe that will prompt the AD to kick you a free NATO strap or something as a goodwill gesture for the botched first attempt.
 

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I can understand your frustration, not only for the original failure, but the repair failure as well.

Not to de-rail your thread too much, but I have to throw out a couple more questions on this topic. Not too many years ago, in 2003, the Seamaster was about a $1000 watch, today its around $5000, so its cost has far outpaced inflation during that time. Given that current buyers are paying a very high premium for the Seamaster, my questions are these:

1) shouldn't a $5000 watch be designed and manufactured within tight enough tolerances that this type of failure should be extremely rare, or even non-existant? I understand nothing mechanical is going to be perfect, but doesn't this kind of failure seem to be something that reeks of poor tolerances and QC? A $100-200 watch isn't likely to have this problem, so why should it ever happen at all on one costing 25-50x more?

2) given that the failure did happen, and you had to go a month without your brand new watch, shouldn't it be expected that the repair team would be competent enough to see the problem, and fix it on the first try?

So, what do you actually get for spending 25-50x more on a watch? I'd expect a whole lot more, but after reading numerous posts on these forums it seems that higher priced watches have as many production problems as cheap watches, which doesn't seem right.

Am I being unreasonable for expecting better tolerances and QC to be proportional to the price paid?

The service question has already been discussed on these forums and its clear that high-end watch service is a crap-shoot at best, so no real surprise there, although that doesn't make it any less disappointing.
 

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1) shouldn't a $5000 watch be designed and manufactured within tight enough tolerances that this type of failure should be extremely rare, or even non-existant? I understand nothing mechanical is going to be perfect, but doesn't this kind of failure seem to be something that reeks of poor tolerances and QC? A $100-200 watch isn't likely to have this problem, so why should it ever happen at all on one costing 25-50x more?
Until we know exactly what the malfunction is, it is not possible to ascertain what the cause was. Not all defects are the manufacturing kind. Something may be been damaged in shipping between the factory and AD, after production QC. It could also have been a latent failure, perhaps caused by some material defect not readily detectable until it breaks. Neither would be an instance of failed QA/QC. That's not to say it wasn't a failure in manufacturing or with QC/QA and simply slipped through the cracks. It happens, even with the best QC. This might have been the 1 in 1,000,000 that slipped through.

2) given that the failure did happen, and you had to go a month without your brand new watch, shouldn't it be expected that the repair team would be competent enough to see the problem, and fix it on the first try?
This is the real question. Particularly because the issue was consistent and fully repeatable (the date change consistently failed between 21 and 28). I can understand an intermittent issue slipping through if the tech was unable to replicate or witness the malfunction, but that wasn't the case here. It's possible that the nature of the issue was not fully communicated to the technician, which means the technician may not have performed the correct regression test to verify that the issue had been rectified by their repair efforts. If the tech had only been told "date change malfunction", and was not provided details that it only malfunctions on the 22nd thru the 28th, then they may not have known to confirm that it works on those days when doing their post-repair checks. They may have instead only checked the changeover on the 1st thru the 4th and assumed the issue was fixed. Would be interesting to see the repair log to know what the technician did, not just their functional checkout but what actual repair was made.
 

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Until we know exactly what the malfunction is, it is not possible to ascertain what the cause was. Not all defects are the manufacturing kind. Something may be been damaged in shipping between the factory and AD, after production QC. It could also have been a latent failure, perhaps caused by some material defect not readily detectable until it breaks.
I think you're deflecting the blame a bit here. Back to my original premise, all watches have to be manufactured and shipped, and how often do their date mechanisms fail within the first month of use? Saying we can't identify the exact cause of the failure yet may be logically true, but isn't an excuse for the lousy performance of a $5k watch in its first month of use. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that part of the premium you pay for a $5k watch should be an increased level of confidence that the watch will perform as intended for many years. If it fails within the first month, then whatever the cause, manufacturing, QC, etc. that seems contrary to what I would expect for the premium price paid.


It's possible that the nature of the issue was not fully communicated to the technician, which means the technician may not have performed the correct regression test to verify that the issue had been rectified by their repair efforts. If the tech had only been told "date change malfunction", and was not provided details that it only malfunctions on the 22nd thru the 28th, then they may not have known to confirm that it works on those days when doing their post-repair checks. They may have instead only checked the changeover on the 1st thru the 4th and assumed the issue was fixed.
if this scenario turns out to be true, is that the type of service dept. incompetence that one would expect after paying $5k for a watch? I think the watch repair guy in the mall knows the difference between days of the month, so if told the problem only happens between days 21-28 he could easily test the repair over those days especially, and all days in total. The OP clearly noticed the date range pattern, and was able to communicate it to us in a single paragraph. I suspect he was equally communicative to the Omega AD when reporting the failure, so if they somehow failed to pass that information along the path to the person who did the repair, that's even more evidence that he didn't get what he paid for, in product or in service.

I could excuse the failure as being a 1 in a million event, although I'd bet money it's nowhere near that rare since at least one other person has replied to the thread with a similar issue on another Omega watch. The botched service is inexcusable, period.

And just to put it out there, I'm not an Omega hater, I own a Seamaster myself, and bought a ladies Omega for my wife. I'm just a Swiss-watch industry hater these days, because I'm watching the prices spiral upward, while the quality and service seems to be spiraling in the opposite direction.
 

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I think you're deflecting the blame a bit here. Back to my original premise, all watches have to be manufactured and shipped, and how often do their date mechanisms fail within the first month of use? Saying we can't identify the exact cause of the failure yet may be logically true, but isn't an excuse for the lousy performance of a $5k watch in its first month of use. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that part of the premium you pay for a $5k watch should be an increased level of confidence that the watch will perform as intended for many years. If it fails within the first month, then whatever the cause, manufacturing, QC, etc. that seems contrary to what I would expect for the premium price paid.



if this scenario turns out to be true, is that the type of service dept. incompetence that one would expect after paying $5k for a watch? I think the watch repair guy in the mall knows the difference between days of the month, so if told the problem only happens between days 21-28 he could easily test the repair over those days especially, and all days in total. The OP clearly noticed the date range pattern, and was able to communicate it to us in a single paragraph. I suspect he was equally communicative to the Omega AD when reporting the failure, so if they somehow failed to pass that information along the path to the person who did the repair, that's even more evidence that he didn't get what he paid for, in product or in service.

I could excuse the failure as being a 1 in a million event, although I'd bet money it's nowhere near that rare since at least one other person has replied to the thread with a similar issue on another Omega watch. The botched service is inexcusable, period.

And just to put it out there, I'm not an Omega hater, I own a Seamaster myself, and bought a ladies Omega for my wife. I'm just a Swiss-watch industry hater these days, because I'm watching the prices spiral upward, while the quality and service seems to be spiraling in the opposite direction.
This is the first 2018 model Seamaster that I have seen reported with a date issue. I haven't seen the quality of Swiss watches spiraling downwards myself. The Tudor GMT date wheel issue is the only problem with a model that I have heard about in the past 4 or 5 years. There has been some anecdotal evidence posted here that U.S. service centers for Swiss watches are providing inferior service as well (and one Grand Seiko horror story).
 

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I haven't seen the quality of Swiss watches spiraling downwards myself.
yeah, I'll admit that was a bit of exaggeration on my part.

May have been blind luck, but the Rolex I bought in the early '80s went 22 years without a service and functioned normally during that time. It seems like expecting more than 5-7 years between service on any mechanical watch these days is expecting too much. So either I was very lucky, or they're not lasting as long between services as in the old days. That could have something to do with the switch to synthetic lubricants during that time, or maybe they were just built a bit more robust in that era.
 

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I think you're deflecting the blame a bit here. Back to my original premise, all watches have to be manufactured and shipped, and how often do their date mechanisms fail within the first month of use? Saying we can't identify the exact cause of the failure yet may be logically true, but isn't an excuse for the lousy performance of a $5k watch in its first month of use. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that part of the premium you pay for a $5k watch should be an increased level of confidence that the watch will perform as intended for many years. If it fails within the first month, then whatever the cause, manufacturing, QC, etc. that seems contrary to what I would expect for the premium price paid.
Any product you buy should work correctly when you receive it. I don't care if it's a $20 Casio or a $5000 Omega.

Your original question was

"
shouldn't a $5000 watch be designed and manufactured within tight enough tolerances that this type of failure should be extremely rare, or even non-existant?
"

The answer is: Yes, it should. However, we don't know that this particular failure was a result of poor design/tolerances (which are intertwined) or a manufacturing defect. Not all defects are the result of poor design or shoddy manufacturing. Which takes us to your second question:

I understand nothing mechanical is going to be perfect, but doesn't this kind of failure seem to be something that reeks of poor tolerances and QC?
Can you define "poor tolerances" and explain why you feel this failure reeks of it?

QC failure is certainly a possibility. We cannot rule out that this watch was faulty when it left the factory and was simply not caught through normal QC processes. Even the best will have the occasional miss, as I previously said. This might have been a rare miss from QC.

We also cannot rule out some form of shipping damage (which is not a design, manufacture, or QC issue) based on the information provided.

We only know that the watch was faulty. We do not know when that fault occurred. Maybe it was built wrong from the get go and QC missed it. Maybe it was damaged in shipping. We would need to know the nature of the malfunction before we can definitively place blame on the designers for specifying poor tolerances, the manufacturers for shoddy work, or the QC/QA folks for not identifying a problem. Or blaming the shippers for damaging it, for that matter.


if this scenario turns out to be true, is that the type of service dept. incompetence that one would expect after paying $5k for a watch? I think the watch repair guy in the mall knows the difference between days of the month, so if told the problem only happens between days 21-28 he could easily test the repair over those days especially, and all days in total. The OP clearly noticed the date range pattern, and was able to communicate it to us in a single paragraph. I suspect he was equally communicative to the Omega AD when reporting the failure, so if they somehow failed to pass that information along the path to the person who did the repair, that's even more evidence that he didn't get what he paid for, in product or in service.
The failure to address the issue when the watch was sent in for repair is honestly more troubling to me and much less excusable. That a faulty product ended up on the shelves isn't great, either, but sh*t happens with mass production and we don't really know the cause of that problem (might not have been Omega's fault) or the frequency that such faulty products make it into customer hands. There is, indeed, no excuse that a consistent and repeatable fault such as this should not have been remedied on the first try beyond human error. Whether it was the tech's fault or somebody higher up the food chain failed at giving the tech the information required to do the job, somebody at Omega screwed up. My example wasn't trying to excuse it, just creating a hypothetical scenario in which such a failure may have occurred. But that scenario should never have happened.

I could excuse the failure as being a 1 in a million event, although I'd bet money it's nowhere near that rare since at least one other person has replied to the thread with a similar issue on another Omega watch. The botched service is inexcusable, period.
Omega produces over half a million watches per year. One other person chimed in that they had similar issues. That person's watch may or may not have been produced in the same year. A couple of personal anecdotes is not a valid statistical sample. Maybe it's not a 1 in a million. Maybe it's 1 in 100,000. That's still rare.

I'm willing to bet that Omega's fault rate is not worse than that of less expensive, mass produced watch brands. Particularly if we're talking mechanical watches.
 

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1. Can you define "poor tolerances" and explain why you feel this failure reeks of it?

2. I'm willing to bet that Omega's fault rate is not worse than that of less expensive, mass produced watch brands. Particularly if we're talking mechanical watches.
1. the date advances normally on days 1-21, and from 22-31 it begins to change, but then falls back, as the OP reports. So, whatever gear or lever engages the date wheel to turn it is sometimes engaging properly, and other times not, based on the position of the date wheel. If it wasn't engaging at all, then it could be written off as a mystery failure for the tech to determine. The fact that its engaging properly for 2/3rds of the month, then partially but not completely for the other 1/3 of the month, would probably suggest that something is "close, but not quite right", for its intended function. I would broadly categorize that as a "tolerance" issue, either alignment, or component dimension. I don't know enough to speculate on what's out of tolerance exactly, so let's leave it at that layman's description.

2. I'm not claiming that their fault rate is necessarily higher than less expensive watches, just suggesting if anything it should be considerably better given the price point. I have no data either way to argue this point, nor do you, the best we have is anecdotal evidence that we both agree is not scientific at all, so this will remain an unresolved statistic.
 

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1. the date advances normally on days 1-21, and from 22-31 it begins to change, but then falls back, as the OP reports. So, whatever gear or lever engages the date wheel to turn it is sometimes engaging properly, and other times not, based on the position of the date wheel. If it wasn't engaging at all, then it could be written off as a mystery failure for the tech to determine. The fact that its engaging properly for 2/3rds of the month, then partially but not completely for the other 1/3 of the month, would probably suggest that something is "close, but not quite right", for its intended function. I would broadly categorize that as a "tolerance" issue, either alignment, or component dimension. I don't know enough to speculate on what's out of tolerance exactly, so let's leave it at that layman's description.
In my background, "tolerance issue" is when the design engineer applies incorrect or incompatible tolerances. So parts are produced "in tolerance", but don't fit together or work properly because the tolerances specified are incompatible. For example, if the engineer specifies a hole as .500 +/- .010 and a peg that needs to fit in the hole is specified as .499 +/-.010. If the hole is .495 and the peg is .505, both parts are in tolerance, but the peg won't fit into the hole as intended. That situation, on an RCCA, would be classified as "tolerance issue". Parts delivered out of tolerance is a combined manufacturing and QC issue. Manufacturing failed to produce compliant parts and QC failed to identify the out of spec parts and divert them to the scrap pile.
 

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In my background, "tolerance issue" is when the design engineer applies incorrect or incompatible tolerances. So parts are produced "in tolerance", but don't fit together or work properly because the tolerances specified are incompatible. For example, if the engineer specifies a hole as .500 +/- .010 and a peg that needs to fit in the hole is specified as .499 +/-.010. If the hole is .495 and the peg is .505, both parts are in tolerance, but the peg won't fit into the hole as intended. That situation, on an RCCA, would be classified as "tolerance issue". Parts delivered out of tolerance is a combined manufacturing and QC issue. Manufacturing failed to produce compliant parts and QC failed to identify the out of spec parts and divert them to the scrap pile.
I think we're saying similar things, but in your case you've described an incompatible pair of tolerances that wouldn't allow the two parts to be mated together in the first place. I was thinking along the lines of things that still fit together, but upon rotating create interference/lack of engagement points as the dimension between the two moving parts changes upon rotation.

I don't understand the mechanics of how the date wheel gets turned to be any more specific. Let's say the diameter of the date wheel has one spec, the tooth depth has another spec, the amount of variation of the diameter of the wheel has a third spec, and the hole in the center of the wheel that mounts it into the movement has a fourth spec. Similarly for the gear that turns the date wheel. The alignment of the teeth turning the date wheel can vary based on each of those tolerances. If both gears are slightly out of round, but within their respective tolerances, or slightly off center in their mount due to tolerances in the center holes, the gears mesh adequately to turn the date wheel at some alignment points, but not at others because the distance between gears changes as each of them rotates.

Or, as someone else said, maybe there's just bad gear teeth, in which case we're back to bad manufacturing and QC controls.
 

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I know mistakes happen but how on Earth can a repair facility send back a watch with the exact same problem that it came in with? Wouldn't you at LEAST test the problem feature before boxing it up to send back to a customer? That seems like "Watch Repairing 101" to me...
 

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I think this is a case of bad luck. Ive owned dozens of Omegas over the years and none of them have given me problems. The only issue I had was the hands on a Seamaster chrono faded rather too quickly for my liking and despite it being out of warranty, Omega replaced the hands and dial for me. No quibbles, and I got a letter of apology. I also had a problem with their app not reading my card properly. Not a huge problem but I reported it to them and they followed it up just to investigate the problem. For my troubles they sent me an Omega pen and wallet. My point being their customer care is really good.

My GUESS would be the return/repair wasnt described properly by the AD. They could easily have sent it back with "not within spec" or something similar on the sheet which would mean the SC would have just run it through their standard checks. I had a similar issue with a breitling and my AD reckoned the SC mis interpreted their paperwork which is why it was missed.

With regard to a replacement, I would be surprised if you were given that option as this is a date issue. This is a problem that is easily created by the customer. Particularly if it occurs close to DST/BST changeover although I believe this issue isnt as likely with newer movements.

Whatever happened, try not to let it tarnish your enjoyment of a great watch from a great brand. My SMP outperforms my Rolex. This will be sorted. Best of luck.
 
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