10 tips for choosing a watchmaker to repair your timepiece

There are many reasons you find yourself in need of a watch repair, from simple battery replacement to more extensive refurbishments and repairs of complex timepieces. Choosing a competent watchmaker to repair your precious timepiece isn’t as easy as you might think, especially if you have a particularly rare and expensive brand of watch, such as an antique pocket watch.

The intricate parts of any watch can easily be damaged if they aren’t handled with the utmost care and sensitivity. That’s why choosing the right watchmaker is so important. Of course, you only want to leave your watch in the capable hands of an experienced and reputable watchmaker.

If you have a timepiece that needs repair, read these top tips for choosing a watchmaker before taking the plunge.

  1. Enquire about the types of watches your chosen watchmaker can repair

Always question your chosen watchmaker’s area of expertise. Some watchmakers work on all types of watches, while others only work on specialist brands. Never put your watch in for repair with a watchmaker who isn’t familiar with the movement of your particular brand of watch.

If you have a rare antique watch, be sure the watchmaker you choose has the specialist skills required to carry out such a repair. Do they have the skills and experience required to repair complicated watch movements and mechanisms? Do they have the right knowledge to restore a vintage watch, for example.

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  1. Check out reputation and reviews

The best watchmakers have an excellent reputation. Check out reviews and ask friends and family for recommendations before you commit to any repairs.

  1. What qualifications does the watchmaker have?

Qualifications matter when it comes to watchmakers. The most talented watchmakers dedicate their lives to the art of repairing and restoring watches. Master watchmakers have taken advanced qualifications and therefore have the aptitude and knowledge to carry out complex repairs.

Horology is the study of the measurement of time. A Master Watchmaker will have a degree-level qualification in the subject and extensive experience.

  1. What experience does the watchmaker have?

As well as qualifications, always enquire about the experience of the watchmaker. Is the watchmaker familiar with your timepiece? Has he or she carried out any similar repairs? Disassembling and repairing the intricate parts of any timepiece requires extensive experience.

  1. Is location an issue?

Where is your preferred watchmaker based? Does he or she have their own workshop? Many watchmakers and Master watchmakers are independent, but some are employed by a professional jewellery shop or a specialist watch store. Some watchmakers offer a postal service, which may be more convenient if there isn’t an appropriate service nearby.

  1. Does the watchmaker source or make replacement parts?

For rare timepieces it’s not always possible to source original parts for repairs. While original parts will keep the value of your timepiece, if parts are obsolete, it is a good idea to choose a watchmaker with extensive experience in the field of making specialist watch parts.

  1. Check out how long the repair will take

Complex repairs by a specialist watchmaker may take a few weeks. Be wary if you are told a refurbishment and repair job can be done quickly. Sensitive handling of complex timepieces takes time. You wouldn’t ask a surgeon to rush an operation. Quality watch repairs also take time.

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions

Ask for an honest appraisal of the condition of your watch and a quote for the repair. Do some research on your timepiece and ask questions of the watchmaker. If possible, ask if you can see the repair workshop. You may be able to tell from the tools and equipment if the watchmaker seems bone fide.

  1. Cheap repairs aren’t usually up to scratch

While it may be tempting to go for the cheapest quote for your watch repair, as with anything else, you do usually get what you pay for. The repair of complex timepieces requires considerable expertise and may even require specialist parts to be made. Watch repairs and refurbishment quotes can vary wildly, so it is always best to weigh up the cost with other factors, such as experience and reputation.

Be wary of watchmakers offering discounts. Importantly, remember a cheap repair may not fix the problem and may end up costing you more in the end.

10. Is there a guarantee for any work carried out?

A reputable watchmaker will offer some form of guarantee for repairs carried out.

Never leave your watch with a watchmaker who won’t give you a quote before carrying out any repairs. If you end up with a bill you can’t afford, you may not get your watch back.

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