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Kristen Bolig

What should I look for in a watch repair service?

From having the proper training to great online reviews, there’s a lot to investigate when it comes time to repair that special timepiece on your wrist. Our watch enthusiasts offered several suggestions to send you off on your search armed with the right questions.

Kes Crockett

Kes Crockett

Kes Crockett, Watch Specialist at Fellows Auctioneers.

Check Training, Insurance, and Repair Location

The obvious answer may be to send it back to the watch brand themselves but often the turnaround time is quite slow. With vintage pieces, there is a delicate balance between condition and originality and collectors may have different priorities than the manufacturers, whose primary concerns are functionality and appearance rather than patina and history.

Alternatively, customers can look for an independent watch repairer. But since there is often no barrier to entry into the profession and essentially anybody can call themselves a watch repairer, several checks would be advisable.

Questions to ask could include:

1. What training have you undertaken to become a watchmaker? There are several qualifications and training programs available including WOSTEP, BHI, SAWTA, and many more. Some watchmakers will have trained on the job after starting as a apprentice and whilst they may not have these qualifications, could be equally skilled at the bench. In these circumstances, a personal recommendation or examples of their work would be useful.

2. Do you have insurance that will cover my watch for damage or theft whilst in your workshop?

3. Will the work be carried out on-site, or outsourced to another workshop?

4. Do you provide a guarantee following the repair? A 12-month guarantee is fairly standard for a full service of a watch. Some watchmakers offer two years or more, although this is often dependent on the age/style of the watch.

5. Are you a member of a trade body or professional institution? These organizations will insist that watch repairers adhere to a code of practice to satisfy their membership.

6. Will you use genuine replacement parts or third-party alternatives? In an ideal world, manufacturer-supplied parts are preferred but often these can now be obsolete or restricted in their supply. Be sure to confirm whether you are happy for the repairer to use after-market parts, which can also be of excellent quality.

Whichever route you choose to go down, be sure to request an estimate or quote before the work is carried out and check whether there will be an inspection of the charge should you choose not to go ahead. Watchmaking is in danger of becoming a dying trade so if you find a good independent repairer, treat them well.

Kathleen Ahmmed

Kathleen Ahmmed

Kathleen Ahmmed, Co-founder of USCarJunker.

Check Online Reviews

The first thing you should do is browse the internet for experienced watch repair services. The ones who have the best reputation will usually end up showing up on top of the search results, but you should also pay attention to those with a lot of positive recommendations from people. It will give you a good idea of the quality of work and service they offer.

Once you’ve pinpointed a few good options, you should check to see their certifications and qualifications in repairing expensive watches. Most master watch repairers will usually have advanced qualifications, which proves that they have the right mix of knowledge to deal with a wide variety of timepieces.

Aside from that, you should also inquire about their level of experience in the field. You can ask them about similar models of the same brand and also about their ‘process’. This will tell you all about their level of expertise and you can then make your decision based on this information.

Aseem Kishore

Aseem Kishore

Aseem Kishore, Founder of Help Desk Geek.

Highly-Rated Store with No Shady Pricing

We have all been through times when our good old watch simply stopped telling the time. It’s really frustrating! Especially when you know it’s best to let the professionals fix it. There are plenty of unprofessional watch repair shops lurking by so here’s my take on finding the best guy for your watch repair.

Find a highly-rated store

Do some Googling first. Locate a repair shop in your area. Look for positive reviews on Google and Facebook. Online reviews and ratings are the best way to find a great service. Call it learning from other peoples’ experiences. When you stumble on a service that is nearby and has good reviews, then get going.

No shady pricing

Shops that don’t give you an estimate right away are more likely to name an unfair price when it’s time to pay. So, make sure you ask them beforehand to ensure that the repair is well under your budget. Sometimes, if the repair is costing too much, you could just invest in a new watch instead.

Kristen Bolig

Kristen Bolig

Kristen Bolig, CEO, SecurityNerd.

Look for Specializations, Certifications

You want to find a service that specifically repairs the type of watch you have, has great reviews and offers a warranty on repairs. These three things will essentially help you figure out whether or not the service is legit and actually has experience in repairing your kind of watch. You should also keep in mind that any solid watch repair that creates a long-lasting fix isn’t exactly going to be cheap, so don’t pick a service that is. If the service offers cheap prices, the quality of the fix will reflect that.

John Dibella

Lorna Franklin

John Dibella, CEO of NetLocal.

Age Has Its Merits

The repair shop or service you use depends on the type of watch you wear, mechanical, digital, or smart. Once you’ve found a service that’s capable of repairing your chosen type of chronograph, the only other thing that you need to check is how long they’ve been in business. The longer they’ve been around, the more reliable and trustworthy they’ll be, and the more likely they are to be able to fix your watch. After all, if they weren’t very good at what they did, they wouldn’t have lasted the course, would they? Age does have its merits.

Jenny House

Jenny House

Jenny House, Founder of Origin 31 Fine Jewelry.

Transparency and Trust

When looking to get your watch serviced, ultimately it’s down to the service provider to be transparent with their response to any questions asked. They need to build up that trust with you. Such questions could be – do they complete the service in-house or do they send it elsewhere? Servicing in-house generally means that the store has a greater understanding of watches, plus there is less risk in sending your watch in the mail to the offsite location.

Is the service provider an official service provider for your brand of a watch? If they are, they would have had training and met certain standards to get that affiliation.

Also, if the store isn’t associated with the brand, they may invalidate your warranty as they are not recommended by the brand. Any store should be open to being asked any questions from you, after all, they are the ones that should be the experts with a wealth of knowledge.

Denise Finch

Denise Finch

Denise Finch is the owner of a High Street and online jeweler,

Fair Price Quote and Guarantee

I would suggest ensuring you always get a quote and ask if there is a guarantee to any work carried out, particularly with high-end watches. If you have a watch that is a prestigious brand such as Omega, Longines, Rado, and Tissot, ask if the shop is an Authorized Service Center. Ideally, these watches should have a service every four to five years.

Be prepared to wait for your service – sometimes lead times can be a few months – but these things should never be rushed so it is worth the wait. If in doubt, always ask if it can be done.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors are not necessarily affiliated with this website and their statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.