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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Does anybody have any experience with TAG Heuer overhauling/repairing vintage watch?

I have a Heuer Carrera 1553 S, which I bought in 1981 in Austria.



After all those years the watch is in rather poor shape, so I decided to fix it and bring it to its former glory. I can see those old Carreras offered for sale for anything between $2500 to $5000, so even if I have to spend 1000 dollars, or so, it will be worth it.

I learned that the only shop which can do the job is located in Switzerland. Info from TAG's own website:

"The challenge for the Vintage Workshop is to restore your old watch or bring it back to life, by giving it all the care it needs to run for many more years. Located in the company's headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerlnd, is the only workshop in the world properly equipped and capable of restoring your Vintage watch" ( Men's Watches by TAG HEUER - Best Watches For Men And For Women )

So far so good. I visited my local authorized TAG dealer in Charlotte, NC area and told them I need to send my watch to that "only workshop in the world" in Switzerland. They told me that the watch has to be sent to the US shop first and in two weeks or so they will tell me how much this repair will be and then I will decide if I want to do it, or I want my watch back. I said OK, paid 30 dollars and waited. And waited. And after five weeks I visited my local authorized TAG dealer and asked him if he has any news about my watch. Well, they actually had, but they (I suppose) forgot to call me. They told me that I had "a very special piece" (duh!) which... has to be sent to Switzerland for repair. Well... Isn't that something?

Sir, I said, I told you guys 5 weeks ago that this watch has to be sent to Switzerland and today you are telling me, that this watch has to be sent there? Do we have some kind of communication problem? Don't you know that all vintage Heuer watches are repaired in Switzerland? Your own website says that...

My sarcasm didn't help things. I just had to approve for it to be sent to Europe. This time the fee was 75 dollars, but they told me that I had to pay only 45 (since I already paid 30) and actually they will add that to final bill. We'll see. So I OK'd that step and my watch is on its way to La Chaux-de-Fonds. It will take them another several weeks, God only knows how many, before I will know how much I need to spend to repair that piece. I asked them if someone from Switzerland will call them directly, they said: "No, but we check their website weekly and on that website we will find all the information". But if they check it as they checked before, I afraid I may never hear from them again. o|

I hope the rest of this experience will be peachy, but for now I am little scared.

Anybody have any experience with TAG's vintage watches repaired in La Chaux-de-Fonds? Or with the American authorized dealers sending their watch to Switzerland? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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Your only problem will be the IF as in 'if they will take the job'. If they do take the job, you will get a restoration to 'as new'. I have heard of no complaints about TAGHeuer's Swiss restoration work. (I am sure they exist... they are, after all, dealing with 'the public', sarcasm and all :roll:)

To set the record straight, the 5 weeks you have spent on this will just get you in the door on such restoration services. And, overall, TAGHeuer's service is quite a bit faster than most of its competitors in Swatchiona Land.

I realize you are venting. I suggest you ameorilate your separation anxiety by buying another watch! :-d ... it works for me |>
 
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I for one would never have sent it to the company in Switzerland. I'll be curious to know how much they charge. I bet you a thousand box you could have the same work done for much less by an independent guy. If you accept my bet, you can pay me a thou, and still save money on the whole thing. And save time as well. Just my two cents...

You say
I can see those old Carreras offered for sale for anything between $2500 to $5000
. Don't you think they know that as well? So what do they think? Here's what they think: "We are going to make this watch like new so he will be able to earn on it? no way! He's going to pay what it will be worth when we are finished". They will charge at least 1500 $, is what I expect.

PS I hope I'm wrong! But it could be a lot more as well. I've recently seen Zenith charge 1800 euro for servicing a vintage Zenith El Primero from the same period. Other companies like JLC may even charge more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Your only problem will be the IF as in 'if they will take the job'. If they do take the job, you will get a restoration to 'as new'. I have heard of no complaints about TAGHeuer's Swiss restoration work.
Only time will tell. If not, I'll get my watch back and then I will look for an independent repairman/shop.

I realize you are venting. I suggest you ameorilate your separation anxiety by buying another watch! :-d ... it works for me |>
Only Santa can help now... I will write him a nice letter.

I'll be curious to know how much they charge.
I let you know.

I bet you a thousand box you could have the same work done for much less by an independent guy. If you accept my bet, you can pay me a thou, and still save money on the whole thing. And save time as well. Just my two cents...
The only problem is how to find that independent guy I could trust? Mine independent watch repairmen in Charlotte is not that much cheaper then official authorized service.


There are plenty of people in the US that can do a full restoration on that watch .
You are probably right, but I don't know any. And I don't think reading just their websites/advertisements would help me either. I need testimonies of people who actually did send their vantage watches to someone, who did good job. That's why I came to this forum.

For now I can always say "no" if the price will be to high and get my unrestored watch back. I'll get it back too, if they will not be able to repair it. However if they do this for, let say, one thousand dollars, and independent guy of unknown reputation will do this for 500, I rather have it done in Switzerland. And I don't believe anybody will do a full restoration for five hundred.
 

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Dear Polonus,

We are sorry to hear about this. In order to help you, could you please send us your contact details using private message.

We will ask our customer service to contact you directly in order to solve this.

Many thanks,

Regards,

TAG Heuer
 

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I let you know.
Thank you.


The only problem is how to find that independent guy I could trust? ...I need testimonies of people who actually did send their vantage watches to someone, who did good job. That's why I came to this forum.
Someone I can think of is watch guy Christian in the Uk, here is an example of his work and a link to his site:

Repair + Service: Zentith El Primero Rainbow Flyback calibre 405Z | Watch Guy

For now I can always say "no" if the price will be to high and get my unrestored watch back. I'll get it back too, if they will not be able to repair it. However if they do this for, let say, one thousand dollars, and independent guy of unknown reputation will do this for 500, I rather have it done in Switzerland. And I don't believe anybody will do a full restoration for five hundred.
I can follow you here. If Tag Heuer does it for thousand dollars, it may be worth it, as the paperwork of an official service adds value. It is possible as I'm under the general impression that Tag Heuer do their best to maintain a good relationship with the vintage community. However Christian does it for less than 500 dollars (see link above).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Dear Polonus,

We are sorry to hear about this. In order to help you, could you please send us your contact details using private message.

We will ask our customer service to contact you directly in order to solve this.

Many thanks,

Regards,

TAG Heuer
Thx. I'll do that.


Thank you.

Someone I can think of is watch guy Christian in the Uk, here is an example of his work and a link to his site:

Repair + Service: Zentith El Primero Rainbow Flyback calibre 405Z | Watch Guy


[...] If Tag Heuer does it for thousand dollars, it may be worth it, as the paperwork of an official service adds value. It is possible as I'm under the general impression that Tag Heuer do their best to maintain a good relationship with the vintage community. However Christian does it for less than 500 dollars (see link above).
Less than 500 dollars? I don't think so. "Automatic chronograph with or without date £ 240" - that is already 400 dollars and that's without polishing, or mainspring, if needed. Also restoration of the dial is not included in this price. When everything is added, it surely will be more then 500 dollars.
 

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Thx. I'll do that.




Less than 500 dollars? I don't think so. "Automatic chronograph with or without date £ 240" - that is already 400 dollars and that's without polishing, or mainspring, if needed. Also restoration of the dial is not included in this price. When everything is added, it surely will be more then 500 dollars.
Mainspring won't cost a 100 dollars. Polishing is also not so expensive I think it will still be less than 500 dollars. Restoration of the dial may cost a bit, but IMHO polishing and dial restoration are best avoided.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Dear Polonus,

We are sorry to hear about this. In order to help you, could you please send us your contact details using private message.

We will ask our customer service to contact you directly in order to solve this.

Many thanks,

Regards,

TAG Heuer
Well, another three weeks went by and I still don't know anything about my watch. I have no idea if it is in New Jersey, or in Switzerland, or they lost it somewhere or just they don't give a damn. First I thought my local Heuer dealer just didn't care about customer like me and when Heuer in Switzerland was notified about this problem, they will fix it and help me with that. Obviously problem is deeper, nobody cares in Charlotte and nobody cares in La Chaux-de-Fonds. I should have listen to those, who advice me to seek independent repair shop. It is already eight weeks and I am in total darkness. I have no clue what will be the cost of repair, when it will be done or anything. They just totally ignore me. :-| o|
 

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That sucks. I hope you hear something positive soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That sucks. I hope you hear something positive soon.
I've got an email from them today:

"Dear Mr. J***

We are in receipt of your communication through TAG Heuer Switzerland. Please be aware your timepiece has been forwarded to TAG Heuer Switzerland for an estimate for servicing. Once the analysis is complete we will forward the estimate for service directly to Jared/Pineville, N.C..

If you have any questions please let me know.

Best regards,
M**** D*****
"

Very nice, but I should have received an email like that eight weeks ago when I told guys at Jared in Pineville that this watch had to be sent to TAG Heuer in Switzerland. It would be nicer if they sent me this email before I complained to them via twitter.
 

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It can take awhile, when sending a modern Omega for warranty work it takes about 9 weeks and like said thats warranty work they come before others. And if you send it to Bienne for restoration this takes even longer so dont expext it any time soon. I would of sent it to Al archers watches in Canada does great work.
 

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Thank you for the update.

And independent watchmaker can also require more time sometimes, there may be some difficulties, or missing parts.

Good luck and keep us posted |>
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I understand that someone may needs more time. I have no problem with that. What I cannot accept is ignoring the client.

If I didn't go to Jared (my local TAG dealer) 3 weeks ago and ask, they probably never call me back and my watch would be still in NJ. And now, if I didn't update you here informing TAG via Twitter, they wouldn't email me either, regardless of their own promise here 3 weeks ago.

This timepiece isn't my only watch. I have several others. I can wait few weeks, even months - if they keep me inform. However their own "promise date" on the original "Watch Repair Job" on Nov 14th 2013 at Jared says "8-12 weeks" and now, 8 weeks later, I don't even have an estimate of that repair. Only thing I know today is theirs yesterday's statement in email I've received which says: "once the analysis is complete we will forward the estimate for service directly to Jared/Pineville, N.C." So it still could be several weeks.

That really sucks.
 

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When I took an Omega in for warranty work the shop were I bought from told me 4 weeks and it took 9weeks, I was like you never had info on whats happening and why longer then 4weeks but the shop had it all wrong most warranty work will take 9weeks and thats local if sending it to the Swiss it takes even longer. Its a lack of info and the right info at that from the Tag AD.
 

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I for one would never have sent it to the company in Switzerland. I'll be curious to know how much they charge. I bet you a thousand box you could have the same work done for much less by an independent guy. If you accept my bet, you can pay me a thou, and still save money on the whole thing. And save time as well. Just my two cents...

You say . Don't you think they know that as well? So what do they think? Here's what they think: "We are going to make this watch like new so he will be able to earn on it? no way! He's going to pay what it will be worth when we are finished". They will charge at least 1500 $, is what I expect.

PS I hope I'm wrong! But it could be a lot more as well. I've recently seen Zenith charge 1800 euro for servicing a vintage Zenith El Primero from the same period. Other companies like JLC may even charge more.
I have never heard of tag vintage service restoration but I would rather give it to a qualified independent watchmaker. About Zenith, they will overcharge for a basic service even on a vintage automatic or handwound watch. With JLC it depends of what you give them for servicing or restoring, if it is a vintage geomatic, geophysic or memovox, you are going to spend at least 1900-2000€ if not more
 

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I have never heard of tag vintage service restoration but I would rather give it to a qualified independent watchmaker. About Zenith, they will overcharge for a basic service even on a vintage automatic or handwound watch. With JLC it depends of what you give them for servicing or restoring, if it is a vintage geomatic, geophysic or memovox, you are going to spend at least 1900-2000€ if not more
Manufacturers have much higher overhead than independent watchmakers. Part of that overhead is the cost of NOS parts stock. They are sometimes the only source of casing parts and NOS dials.

I have an Aquagraph which really needs service. TAG's price is actually lower than what my watchmaker will charge. Yes, that surprised me. But my watchmaker knows how much time it will take him. He has done them before. I guess the TAG folks do enough of them they are a lot faster.

If I were ever to sell it, providing the TAGHeuer service paperwork would enhance the price. That is irrelevant to me as I don't sell watches, I collect them. But it means something to some.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This nightmare continuous. Another three weeks went by and I still have no idea where my watch is and how much will restoration cost. Below is copy of my email to the "Senior Manager of Customer Relations for TAG Heuer." She wrote: "If you have any questions relating to the servicing of your timepiece or the servicing process I would be happy to assist."

I had some questions:



Dear Ms M*** D****,


I have many questions relating to the servicing of my watch, or the lack of it.


First tell me, please, why Jared in Charlotte didn't send my watch to Switzerland two months ago? I told them it has to be serviced in La Chaux-de-Fonds, because thats says TAG's own website, but they insist about sending watch to New Jersey first.


2. Tell me, please, why I had to wait five weeks and nobody called me or inform me in any form - they have may phone number and email address, about status of my repair? Why I had to go to the store and ask them to check for it? Why they ask me then if is OK with me to send this watch to La Chaux-de-Fonds? I ask them five weeks ago to do this!


3. Why now, three weeks later and eight weeks since I Gave you my watch to be serviced I still don't know anything? I have no estimate whatsoever, I have no idea where my watch is, I have no clue if anybody actually looked at it. I am totally ignored by TAG Heuer. I don't know if this is a joke or a nightmare.


4. Tell me, please, why I cannot be in nay form of communication with the people who actually do the repair? Why "Once the analysis is complete we will forward the estimate for service directly to Jared/Pineville, N.C."? What Jared has to do with my watch? And if this is the only can't you send copy of that estimate to my mailbox too? Maybe you contacted Jared in Matthews, maybe they are those, who ignore me, but from my point of view it doesn't matter. I know one thing: I gave you my watch for repair EIGHT weeks ago and I don't even have yet an estimate how much that repair may cost.


I hope you are not playing any practical jokes on me, I hope you are not trying to set a world record of the worst service on the planet, I just hope, that one day, maybe even soon someone will contact me and tell me something about the status of the repair of my watch.


Please, please, help and please change all that stupid procedures prohibiting direct conatct with your customers.

Best Regards,

P.J.


 
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