Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S
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  1. #1
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    Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Does anybody have any experience with TAG Heuer overhauling/repairing vintage watch?

    I have a Heuer Carrera 1553 S, which I bought in 1981 in Austria.



    After all those years the watch is in rather poor shape, so I decided to fix it and bring it to its former glory. I can see those old Carreras offered for sale for anything between $2500 to $5000, so even if I have to spend 1000 dollars, or so, it will be worth it.

    I learned that the only shop which can do the job is located in Switzerland. Info from TAG's own website:

    "The challenge for the Vintage Workshop is to restore your old watch or bring it back to life, by giving it all the care it needs to run for many more years. Located in the company's headquarters in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerlnd, is the only workshop in the world properly equipped and capable of restoring your Vintage watch" ( Men's Watches by TAG HEUER - Best Watches For Men And For Women )

    So far so good. I visited my local authorized TAG dealer in Charlotte, NC area and told them I need to send my watch to that "only workshop in the world" in Switzerland. They told me that the watch has to be sent to the US shop first and in two weeks or so they will tell me how much this repair will be and then I will decide if I want to do it, or I want my watch back. I said OK, paid 30 dollars and waited. And waited. And after five weeks I visited my local authorized TAG dealer and asked him if he has any news about my watch. Well, they actually had, but they (I suppose) forgot to call me. They told me that I had "a very special piece" (duh!) which... has to be sent to Switzerland for repair. Well... Isn't that something?

    Sir, I said, I told you guys 5 weeks ago that this watch has to be sent to Switzerland and today you are telling me, that this watch has to be sent there? Do we have some kind of communication problem? Don't you know that all vintage Heuer watches are repaired in Switzerland? Your own website says that...

    My sarcasm didn't help things. I just had to approve for it to be sent to Europe. This time the fee was 75 dollars, but they told me that I had to pay only 45 (since I already paid 30) and actually they will add that to final bill. We'll see. So I OK'd that step and my watch is on its way to La Chaux-de-Fonds. It will take them another several weeks, God only knows how many, before I will know how much I need to spend to repair that piece. I asked them if someone from Switzerland will call them directly, they said: "No, but we check their website weekly and on that website we will find all the information". But if they check it as they checked before, I afraid I may never hear from them again.

    I hope the rest of this experience will be peachy, but for now I am little scared.

    Anybody have any experience with TAG's vintage watches repaired in La Chaux-de-Fonds? Or with the American authorized dealers sending their watch to Switzerland? Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
    Last edited by polonus; December 12th, 2013 at 17:06.

  2. #2
    Member Eeeb's Avatar
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Your only problem will be the IF as in 'if they will take the job'. If they do take the job, you will get a restoration to 'as new'. I have heard of no complaints about TAGHeuer's Swiss restoration work. (I am sure they exist... they are, after all, dealing with 'the public', sarcasm and all )

    To set the record straight, the 5 weeks you have spent on this will just get you in the door on such restoration services. And, overall, TAGHeuer's service is quite a bit faster than most of its competitors in Swatchiona Land.

    I realize you are venting. I suggest you ameorilate your separation anxiety by buying another watch! ... it works for me
    bobbee likes this.
    "Forever is composed of nows." - Emily Dickinson

    "The watch has to be surrounded by a history.
    You need more than just a great design. You need to create an atmosphere around the product.
    Who is the company behind it? Why are they using this material?
    People need to be able to identify the watch with themselves. It's based on emotion." - Ralph Furter

    ...that's just my opinion and I've been wrong before and will be again and might be now!

  3. #3
    Member sempervivens's Avatar
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    I for one would never have sent it to the company in Switzerland. I'll be curious to know how much they charge. I bet you a thousand box you could have the same work done for much less by an independent guy. If you accept my bet, you can pay me a thou, and still save money on the whole thing. And save time as well. Just my two cents...

    You say
    I can see those old Carreras offered for sale for anything between $2500 to $5000
    . Don't you think they know that as well? So what do they think? Here's what they think: "We are going to make this watch like new so he will be able to earn on it? no way! He's going to pay what it will be worth when we are finished". They will charge at least 1500 $, is what I expect.

    PS I hope I'm wrong! But it could be a lot more as well. I've recently seen Zenith charge 1800 euro for servicing a vintage Zenith El Primero from the same period. Other companies like JLC may even charge more.
    Last edited by sempervivens; December 12th, 2013 at 17:53.
    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

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  5. #4
    Member jesse1's Avatar
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    There are plenty of people in the US that can do a full restoration on that watch .

  6. #5
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    Your only problem will be the IF as in 'if they will take the job'. If they do take the job, you will get a restoration to 'as new'. I have heard of no complaints about TAGHeuer's Swiss restoration work.
    Only time will tell. If not, I'll get my watch back and then I will look for an independent repairman/shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Eeeb View Post
    I realize you are venting. I suggest you ameorilate your separation anxiety by buying another watch! ... it works for me
    Only Santa can help now... I will write him a nice letter.

    Quote Originally Posted by sempervivens View Post
    I'll be curious to know how much they charge.
    I let you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by sempervivens View Post
    I bet you a thousand box you could have the same work done for much less by an independent guy. If you accept my bet, you can pay me a thou, and still save money on the whole thing. And save time as well. Just my two cents...
    The only problem is how to find that independent guy I could trust? Mine independent watch repairmen in Charlotte is not that much cheaper then official authorized service.


    Quote Originally Posted by jesse1 View Post
    There are plenty of people in the US that can do a full restoration on that watch .
    You are probably right, but I don't know any. And I don't think reading just their websites/advertisements would help me either. I need testimonies of people who actually did send their vantage watches to someone, who did good job. That's why I came to this forum.

    For now I can always say "no" if the price will be to high and get my unrestored watch back. I'll get it back too, if they will not be able to repair it. However if they do this for, let say, one thousand dollars, and independent guy of unknown reputation will do this for 500, I rather have it done in Switzerland. And I don't believe anybody will do a full restoration for five hundred.

  7. #6
    Member TAG Heuer's Avatar
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Dear Polonus,

    We are sorry to hear about this. In order to help you, could you please send us your contact details using private message.

    We will ask our customer service to contact you directly in order to solve this.

    Many thanks,

    Regards,

    TAG Heuer
    TAG HEUER
    Branch of LVMH Swiss Manufactures SA
    6A RUE LOUIS-JOSEPH CHEVROLET
    2300 LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS SWITZERLAND
    TEL +41 (0)32 919 8000

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  8. #7
    Member sempervivens's Avatar
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Quote Originally Posted by polonus View Post


    I let you know.
    Thank you.


    The only problem is how to find that independent guy I could trust? ...I need testimonies of people who actually did send their vantage watches to someone, who did good job. That's why I came to this forum.
    Someone I can think of is watch guy Christian in the Uk, here is an example of his work and a link to his site:

    Repair + Service: Zentith El Primero Rainbow Flyback calibre 405Z | Watch Guy

    For now I can always say "no" if the price will be to high and get my unrestored watch back. I'll get it back too, if they will not be able to repair it. However if they do this for, let say, one thousand dollars, and independent guy of unknown reputation will do this for 500, I rather have it done in Switzerland. And I don't believe anybody will do a full restoration for five hundred.
    I can follow you here. If Tag Heuer does it for thousand dollars, it may be worth it, as the paperwork of an official service adds value. It is possible as I'm under the general impression that Tag Heuer do their best to maintain a good relationship with the vintage community. However Christian does it for less than 500 dollars (see link above).
    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

  9. #8
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Quote Originally Posted by TAG Heuer View Post
    Dear Polonus,

    We are sorry to hear about this. In order to help you, could you please send us your contact details using private message.

    We will ask our customer service to contact you directly in order to solve this.

    Many thanks,

    Regards,

    TAG Heuer
    Thx. I'll do that.


    Quote Originally Posted by sempervivens View Post
    Thank you.

    Someone I can think of is watch guy Christian in the Uk, here is an example of his work and a link to his site:

    Repair + Service: Zentith El Primero Rainbow Flyback calibre 405Z | Watch Guy


    [...] If Tag Heuer does it for thousand dollars, it may be worth it, as the paperwork of an official service adds value. It is possible as I'm under the general impression that Tag Heuer do their best to maintain a good relationship with the vintage community. However Christian does it for less than 500 dollars (see link above).
    Less than 500 dollars? I don't think so. "Automatic chronograph with or without date £ 240" - that is already 400 dollars and that's without polishing, or mainspring, if needed. Also restoration of the dial is not included in this price. When everything is added, it surely will be more then 500 dollars.

  10. #9
    Member sempervivens's Avatar
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Quote Originally Posted by polonus View Post
    Thx. I'll do that.




    Less than 500 dollars? I don't think so. "Automatic chronograph with or without date £ 240" - that is already 400 dollars and that's without polishing, or mainspring, if needed. Also restoration of the dial is not included in this price. When everything is added, it surely will be more then 500 dollars.
    Mainspring won't cost a 100 dollars. Polishing is also not so expensive I think it will still be less than 500 dollars. Restoration of the dial may cost a bit, but IMHO polishing and dial restoration are best avoided.
    Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas, praeter ...

  11. #10
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    Re: Overhauling vintage Heuer 1553 S

    Quote Originally Posted by TAG Heuer View Post
    Dear Polonus,

    We are sorry to hear about this. In order to help you, could you please send us your contact details using private message.

    We will ask our customer service to contact you directly in order to solve this.

    Many thanks,

    Regards,

    TAG Heuer
    Well, another three weeks went by and I still don't know anything about my watch. I have no idea if it is in New Jersey, or in Switzerland, or they lost it somewhere or just they don't give a damn. First I thought my local Heuer dealer just didn't care about customer like me and when Heuer in Switzerland was notified about this problem, they will fix it and help me with that. Obviously problem is deeper, nobody cares in Charlotte and nobody cares in La Chaux-de-Fonds. I should have listen to those, who advice me to seek independent repair shop. It is already eight weeks and I am in total darkness. I have no clue what will be the cost of repair, when it will be done or anything. They just totally ignore me.

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