WristWatch Magazine - Page 4

EDIT NOTE ON SERVICE & ELIMINATING COMPETITION If you buy a new mechanical watch that you intend to keep for some time, it will eventually need service, repair, or both. If anything goes wrong while still covered by the brand’s own warranty you would expect to send it right back to them to render service in a timely manner and return your timepiece in perfect working order within a reasonably short time. Fair enough, but what about modern mechanical watches that were bought pre-owned, or a new watch that is now out of warranty? What are your options now? Your choices are likely more limited than you might believe. In recent years several major brands have taken a hard look at service and repair from a very clinical perspective, viewing it as a profit center more than a customer service issue. While on one hand you can go to brand X’s web site that calls for an annual or biannual “service” to keep your mechanical watch running perfectly, more brands are now cutting off the pipeline of critical components to watchmakers outside of their own company, effectively keeping this potential source of revenue to themselves while hamstringing the “competition.” It’s one thing for a brand to want control of all warranty covered work. As the manufacturer they are responsible for the initial construction quality and may even discover faults or solutions based on a particular watch or movement service profile. But once any product you buy is out of warranty and the money to repair or service is coming out of your own wallet, wouldn’t it be nice to have a choice? Not according to some brands. I’ve heard specious arguments about “special” training and 2 WRISTWATCH | 2016 tools that are needed to fix “our” movements as justification for restricting parts availability to anyone outside the “family” but have spoken to enough industry members to see through that screen. Even if capable of replacing something so simple as a worn pivot or a tired mainspring, the independent watchmaker has been targeted as an ostensibly unworthy service provider that could somehow sully the image of a brand. I’ve spoken with several of the few independent watchmakers left in America as well as retailers with an in-house watchmaker and the story is all too often the same: of-course I/we can fix this simple problem, but brand X won’t supply the part so you’ll have to get in queue with them, pay whatever fee they ask, and wait. Imagine buying a car, driving it a few years and well beyond the warranty coverage. You know it’s time for a brake job and as you attempt to make an appointment with your fully accredited and certified master mechanic down the street, he informs you that he can’t fix your car because the manufacturer will only supply parts to their own service centers; anyone up for a game of monopoly while you wait for your brakes? Keep Watching: Gary George Girdvainis