Gone are the days when you only had one or two nearby repair shops you could choose from to fix your antique pendulum clock or expensive wristwatch. Today, after searching through hundreds of Google ads and finally landing on a shop that looks like a good fit for your repair, all you have to do is find your favorite shipping provider, and you’re done.
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Well, not quite. There is the matter of how exactly to ship your timepiece, so it arrives in one piece. Thankfully, we have a few tips to help you out.
- Verify that the shipper you choose can insure your clock or watch for its total value and that the insurance cost will not be excessive. FedEx, for example, has a shipping limit of $1,000 for jewelry and other valuables. If your watch or clock is already insured, you can also contact your insurance company for assistance.
- Make sure you have all the appropriate clock information ready to go, according to the specifications listed on your chosen repair site, and follow directions carefully. For instance, here at Times Ticking, we offer an order form that you can fill out online, so your watch information is uploaded immediately into our database. Another option is to print out a repair order form and place it in the box with your watch or clock. Remember, call or email your watch repair service before you ship if you’re not sure about something.
- Don’t ship anything in its original packaging, such as sending the watch with its box. We receive watches and clocks from customers all over the world and a good rule of thumb to remember is not to send extra items that aren’t needed for the repair. For example, detach your father’s 24k gold chain from his pocket watch before sending the watch in for repair. Shipping it along with the watch may unnecessarily increase your shipping costs.
Packing Your Watch
When shipping a quartz movement watch, don’t fret about trying to remove the battery first. Your expert watch repair technicians will take care of it. Wrap your watch securely, either using a soft cloth or bubble wrap to avoid causing scratches or dents. Use more bubble wrap to line the bottom of the box and fill in the empty areas around your watch so that it doesn’t jostle around during shipment. Place any necessary paperwork on top and seal the package.
Packing Your Clock
The packaging process with a clock is a bit more involved, but it is still relatively simple. We recommend first allowing the movement to run down until it stops so you’re not shipping a spring-wound clock under tension.
Next, if you have a pendulum wall or mantle clock, like a Black Forest cuckoo or a Howard Miller, remove the pendulum, winding key, and any weights, and wrap them separately, first in a soft cloth and then in bubble wrap.
For any hanging chains, take a piece of long, thin wire, such as in a twist tie, and draw it through the top links closest to the movement. Then gather the chain in a resealable bag and fold the bag into a little bundle at the top where you placed the twist tie. Wrap the tie around the bundle and secure, or partially close the plastic bag and let it hang.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Some repair shops do not require the weights or winding keys for service, so you may not need to send them. Check with your service technician first before shipping them. Here at Times Ticking, we have our own weights and winding keys. Also, we don’t need you to send in dome crystals (for anniversary clocks); they are not necessary to repair a clock.
Gently place paper or soft cloth in all the empty areas between the movement and the housing. This includes under and around the hands on the clock face if the face has a removable glass covering and between the spiral gong wire. Remove all batteries if the clock has a quartz movement.
Once everything is covered, it’s best to use painter’s tape to secure the wrapping. Plastic tape leaves a sticky residue and is hard to remove. You don’t want to damage the pendulum while struggling to unwrap it or have to try to remove leftover adhesive from a polished wood clock housing. You’ll also want to remove any crowns, finials, or other adornments that can snap off and break in transit. Again, don’t ship it if you don’t have to.
You can either place the pendulum, weights, and other small items in the trunk of a longer wall clock to save space or pack it in the box alongside the clock housing. If there is a glass door on the trunk or the face, use cloth or cardboard sheets to protect the glass before covering it with bubble wrap. Finally, pack the box densely with more bubble wrap to avoid any movement.
When sending in your valuable timepiece for repair or maintenance, getting it to and from the watch or clock repair service center shouldn’t keep you up at night. Taking a few moments to package everything properly will make all the difference in making the shipping process a simple, safe, and hassle-free experience. Once your piece is in front of an expert clock and watch technician, such as the ones we have here at Times Ticking, you can rest assured it will be in good hands. And before you know it, your clock will be back on your mantle where it belongs.