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Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

12925 Views 89 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Bear1845
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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polonus, read this thread on Tag Heuer forum and see the horror stories.
Then post your link to this thread, with a short explanation of your troubles.

https://www.watchuseek.com/f25/lvmh-tag-heuer-customer-service-repair-experiences-603160.html
meanwhile, on the Omega forums, people cry whenever original patina'd hands are replaced and when caseback engraving is polished out.
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polonus, read this thread on Tag Heuer forum and see the horror stories.
Then post your link to this thread, with a short explanation of your troubles.

https://www.watchuseek.com/f25/lvmh-tag-heuer-customer-service-repair-experiences-603160.html
I did, thx.

meanwhile, on the Omega forums, people cry whenever original patina'd hands are replaced and when caseback engraving is polished out.
I have no problem with "patina". I have problem with missing lumen and with the fact that they replaced just one hand, leaving two others untouched. Now that watch looks really stupid. One bright red, shining like a morning sun hand, and two hands rustic and damaged. If my memory serves, that second hand was orange, not red, so they overkilled and undercooked at the same time. :-(
My watch is on its way back to Switzerland. They will replace minute and hour hands and case back without charging me any additional money. They will not take back the bracelet - they offered me instead calf leather strap with Heuer buckle, but I refused it. They claim that they inform me that they have only modern, plain TAG Heuer bracelet and I accept it. Of course - I accepted their offer, but I requested bracelet fro the seventies and somehow that information that they have only modern bracelets never was communicated to me.

It is funny thou how they make excuses. For instance that what they wrote me about engraved case back:

"We have well understood your requests and have already given the appropriate explanations but it seems that you did not understand our point of view either. As already explained we did not make any mistake in the refurbishment process but as in line with our rules for the Vintage pieces we wanted to keep and preserve your original engraving."

Well,,, Then why they didn't? Why they tried to removed it when my watch was first time in their service center? Why they tried even harder to do it when it was there for the second time?


Same story with hands. They wrote:

The hands on the Vintage timepieces are not systematically replaced but only the ones that the Senior watchmaker judges too damaged. If you would like us to replace them, this is on your request only. Please note the consumers of Vintage pieces usually do not want their old hands to be replaced and we are working on demand also.

OK, but why they replaced just one hand, leaving the other two? Why nobody asked me what I want? Why they didn't corrected that when my watch was send back to Switzerland for the second time?

However it looks like I will have new hands and new case back. It is what I wanted from the beginning. The only thing which will not be fixed to my satisfaction is that bracelet, for which I paid $180, however most likely it was not their fault. I believe it was the guy at my local jeweler, Jared of Pineville, who "forgot" to mention, that bracelet they have is not vintage, but new, and he doesn't even work for Jared anymore.

I'm waiting now for the last chapter of that saga, which should be, I hope, relatively soon. They wrote to me:

We confirm we have been informed that NJ will forward your timepiece to us and we will deal with it as a matter of priority.
Yours sincerely


[Name withheld] Customer Service Administration Assistant
TAG Heuer - Customer Service
Branch of LVMH Swiss Manufactures SA
4A RUE LOUIS-JOSEPH CHEVROLET
2300 LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS SWITZERLAND
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Wow.

I learnt (self taught) basic watchmaking in the time it took for a watchmaker to service my first chronograph. I feel some of your pain - the watchmaker never got it working properly after all that either.
My watch came back home. It has new hands and back is new or polished - hard to tell. I am finally satisfied. However they didn't send me any old parts.













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Hi glad you are happy(ish) with the results.
The watch looks almost new, which is what you probably could have bought for the money spent! ;-)
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Hi glad you are happy(ish) with the results.
The watch looks almost new, which is what you probably could have bought for the money spent! ;-)
This watch has great sentimental value for me. It was the first nice and (for me) expensive watch my wife bought me after we left communist Poland. It cost 200 dollars then (in 1981), which was the eqivalent of my 6 months salary in Poland. And today those watches cost around 4000 dollars. ( Heuer Carrera 1553 Cal. 15 art. Th66 for $ 4,108 for sale from a Trusted Seller on Chrono24 ) so spending about 1K for servicing/overhauling it is not bad at all.
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This watch has great sentimental value for me. It was the first nice and (for me) expensive watch my wife bought me after we left communist Poland. It cost 200 dollars then (in 1981), which was the eqivalent of my 6 months salary in Poland. And today those watches cost around 4000 dollars. ( Heuer Carrera 1553 Cal. 15 art. Th66 for $Â.4,108 for sale from a Trusted Seller on Chrono24 ) so spending about 1K for servicing/overhauling it is not bad at all.
Like I said buddy, glad you are happy after all the grief and almost exactly one whole year.

B.
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Beautiful. I can't believe they didn't replace all the hands the first time. I bet that's a mistake by Jared's. Send it direct next time!
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