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  1. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Nov 4, 2020

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    I think the answer to that is here...not all watches are loved and cherished.

    Some are just fun buys that someone doesn't care too much about, so they don't want to spend the money to do what you and I consider a proper service. Personally, I'm fine with that, and they are not going to be my customers anyway.

    I think the biggest issue I have with what's been stated in this thread is this - the underlining in mine:

    I cringed when I read that. The idea that someone was able to get "the very same work" for 4X less, well that's a dubious conclusion in my view. Of course no full scope was given for either watchmaker, so we really have no idea if these are apples to apples, or apples to watermelons comparisons. I've stressed numerous times here, that unless you know the full scope of work that is being proposed, judging the price as being "fair" or "reasonable" isn't really possible. What are the timing specs that are expected to be achieved? Will the seals be replaced? Will the watch be pressure tested? What sort of warranty is provided? etc.

    Having seen the result of a lot of services that have cost in this $125 ballpark, it would be very unusual if that service was done to the standard that I would expect someone charging 4X to do. Is this a rare case that someone has found a unicorn watchmaker who somehow does the impossible for next to nothing? Sure it's possible, but in my view not likely.

    Again one of the key issue is that most collectors don't know what a good service really means. They are happy if the watch runs well and doesn't crap out. Given that some collectors may only wear a watch a couple of times a year, if they even bother to get it serviced, I understand why they wouldn't want to spend much on that service, and if it gains or loses a minute in the day they wear it, big deal. If you don't expect much from a service, you won't be disappointed.

    Cheers, Al
     
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  2. PlainVanilla Nov 4, 2020

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    I'm just curious: what kind of accuracy do you expect for a non-chronometer watch after a service?
     
  3. ATracyWatches Nov 4, 2020

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    I’ll try and illustrate my point a little better so that my position can be understood.

    Here we have a Chronostop driver that I am currently servicing. You can see it’s in bad shape.

    36543823-4CE6-4E31-AB8A-6EB3A133E7AA.jpeg

    Here are all the parts that I replaced.

    C58B8A0E-4261-4F47-9236-2A6A17CA56E4.jpeg

    A new mainspring was installed, crystal, crown, stem, case tube, complete pusher assembly, springbars, and back gasket. I also changed the pallet fork and third wheel.

    Now, could I have reused this winding stem and received the same timing results?

    5A4F797D-105E-43E2-8F57-2D55D1B5003C.jpeg

    The answer is yes. Would anyone in this forum think it’s right to reuse this winding stem as is? I highly doubt it.

    Let’s take the crystal, crown and pusher out of it. They could have been reused and the customer would have saved some money there. What about the mainspring, third wheel and pallet fork? They needed replacing and that wasn’t an option.

    Why not? The watch would have run at a sub par performance level - one that I, and (insert generic brand here) would not have deemed appropriate.

    The watch would have run and in fact it would have kept time fine. The customer may have never known and thought I was a fantastic watchmaker if I hadn’t have changed any parts. But what did you pay me for? You paid me to service your watch. I bet you never thought you were paying me to do my job at a 50% level. You thought I would put 100% into my work. And rightly so. That’s what we all expect.

    Now from a selfish point of view. What if that watch stopped? Started to perform at a sub optimal level. You bring it back and I say it needs new parts to work properly. You now wonder why this wasn’t done in the first place. I have to charge you for this as it wasn’t part of the original work order. You want it done under warranty. I refuse. Now you tell all your friends what a bad watchmaker I am and I don’t stand behind my work.

    So, I’ll state it again. All watches need parts. I can’t remember the last time I serviced a watch that didn’t. And I service a lot of watches.
     
  4. Canuck Nov 4, 2020

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    I serviced one of the two that I am presently wearing, about six weeks ago. It is a 50-year old Gruen non-chronometer, manual wind, day-date. I did one small regulation about two weeks after I serviced it, and set it to the second. Since then it hasn’t varied more than two seconds either way, fast or slow! Expect accuracy like this? Well, no. But hope for. And such a pleasure when it happens.
     
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  5. STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Nov 4, 2020

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    Funny as when I was a butcher people always wanted good steak cheap.
    I always said “the most tender cheap steak was mince” Guaranteed never to be tough.

    A good service is rarely cheap.
    A cheap service is rarely good.
    Be it watches, cars or boats there is always someone cheap and always someone good.
     
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  6. PlainVanilla Nov 4, 2020

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    Exactly. A good service is rarely cheap and vice versa.

    I like the fact that you used the word "rarely", instead of saying that it simply doesn't exist, which is obviously a lie.
     
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  7. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Nov 4, 2020

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    Not sure who you are asking, but I'll answer. First off, understanding timing results is the first step. When people quote "on wrist" numbers, quite honestly that doesn't tell you the whole picture. Watches can vary quite a lot and still balance out on the wrist, so I've had people send me watches that they said ran fine, but when I get them on the timing machine there is a lot of positional variation. A good visual summary is this:

    [​IMG]

    Reporting on wrist timing that is good, could be the bottom left image - high accuracy, low precision, or it could be the bottom right - high accuracy, with high precision. Unless you do the testing in a controlled manner, you won't know. All the real work is getting the top right image - high precision. Once you have that, moving the average of the readings to get high accuracy is easy.

    So timing is determined first by doing the proper slate of tests on a timing machine. Personally I test all watches I service over 6 positions, regardless of if they are unadjusted, non-chronometer, or chronometer rated. My starting point is the timing specification of the brand, but that is only a starting point. For example I'm servicing a watch now where the customer emailed me to ask how it was going. I told them it was well within Omega's tolerances, so the positional variation that Omega allows over just 3 positions, I have it within that spec over 6 positions. But I wasn't happy with that, so I've continued to work to get it to run better, and reduce the the positional variation further.

    My goal is to get all watches I service to fall within what the manufacturer's service tolerances are for their COSC grade watches, and do that over 6 positions, even though COSC is only measured over 5.

    Once I get that and assemble the watch, I fully test the watch for 24 hours over all of the 6 positions, plus 24 hours on a final test winder. I check the power reserve, check the rates, and adjust and repeat as necessary until I'm satisfied with the results. I do this in part because the majority of my work is shipped in from locations all over the world. My customers can't "pop in" for a quick timing adjustment.

    And as Ashton has stated, its rare that I get a vintage watch in that doesn't need parts.

    Cheers, Al
     
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  8. STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Nov 4, 2020

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    More of the I like the fact you used rarely. ;)
    Tone down the angst in your posts like the lie bit.:thumbsup:


    New young employee at work is a former outboard mechanic. I can now get a good boat outboard motor service cheap.
     
  9. Canuck Nov 4, 2020

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    For a watch that someone laid aside for one reason or another, many years ago, and that I discovered in a drawer of derelict watches, and that cost me little more than a bit of sweat equity, on the wrist accuracy is good enough for me. It was with the aid of my timing machine that this Gruen performs like this.
     
  10. PlainVanilla Nov 4, 2020

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    Now that's a constructive and very interesting answer, thank you!
     
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  11. Verdi Nov 4, 2020

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    I pay around 100 usd for a service for my vintage watches. No complications watches, mostly manual wind. My UG was around 200 usd.
    Every part that need changing is extra cost
    Im a regular customer, I serviced with him around 15 watches in the last 5 years.
    In many cases I paid 80-100 usd for service for a watch that is valued at 300-500 usd.
    The watchmaker knows the value and he uses common sense by not charging more.

    I use a very competent independent watchmaker based in Eastern Europe. Third generation family business, the kind that makes a part if is no longer available. Does many restorations, but no redials.
    The guy also deals with high end pieces, complications.......Im gonna assume he is charging a bit more for those.

    Western Europe, the prices are pretty much double compared to Easter Europe. UK is the most expensive.
    I don’t have any experience with US and Canada.
     
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