Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

Thread: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

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  1. #1
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    Worst Watch Repair Ever- UPDATED- gets better!

    I bought my wife a vintage (gorgeous) watch as a wedding present (which she wore the day we were married). This art deco watch has blue subtle-heart shaped stones set above and below the watch case and a very antique look. Secured by a silver chain and clasp- it's got a very "bracelet" look to it. This present cost over $1000 from a high end watch store that also sells vintage pieces. (A great dealer in Manayunk, PA- Martin Pulli) They explained that this watch was from a small Swiss company, made in the late 30's to early 40's and very rare.

    Months after the wedding, my wife showed me the watch- fearful that she'd broken it- with stem and crown completely pulled out. Luckily I have a watchmaker's repair guide handy and found that sometimes stems need to be replaced. Since a repair was in order, we also decided to shorten the bracelet to give the watch a slightly better fit on her wrist.

    We took the watch to a family trusted jeweler and showed them the piece. I explained the rarity, the sentimental value and the overall importance of this piece. The repair order was put in...

    Roughly one week later, we pick up the watch (today)- and to my utter astonishment the crown has been replaced with something atrocious. The tiny crown is bright, polished steel- no patina- completely wrong for this watch and era! Unlike the original flat, over-sized, vintage crown- this was like any seen on modern women's quartz watches.

    The store was quick to pull out the work order. "Replace stem and crown" was written on the ticket. Replace? I certainly never said that! Why on earth would I replace one of the things that give this watch so much character- and more importantly- keep it "correct" as a vintage piece?

    Well- the story gets better.

    Assuming that I'd simply swap back the original crown... To my sheer amazement- they sent the watch to a repair shop that simply discards the original crown and stem when replacing them.

    The geniuses in the store had no idea why I was upset. They shrugged it off and made me feel like it was my fault.

    Am I insane to think that a vintage watch- that a customer explains has intense sentimental value should be batch-repaired like a mall kiosk watch? I doubt that my watch has any collector's value- but I know that it sure doesn't with an incorrect crown!

    How angry would you be? What would you ask the store to do if you were me? This case is presently open. I left with them promising to "contact the repair shop", but they said the chances of the crown being found are nill.

    Nice service, huh???
    Last edited by Nightarcher; December 3rd, 2009 at 06:08.

  2. #2
    Moderator Public Forum Eric L.'s Avatar
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    If you signed the work order to "replace stem and crown" you might be out of luck here. The best I would hope for here would be to source a similar crown and have them replace the one you have with that one, but you'll have to do the legwork to find the replacement crown since it is a vintage timepiece. Obviously if they replaced it with a new one, it would look "new" and hence not match the weathered finish of the watch.
    Lots of dive watches.

  3. #3
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    Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    OK, I'm a "watchmaker" sitting at my work station, and this obviously older timepiece lands in front of me. I look at the work order, and read "replace stem & crown" ...

    Me, personally, would not drop a five-buck Borel part on this obviously older watch; I would ask the owner if he/she was completely sure that is what they wanted done, and did they understand what that action entailed.

    And "throw away" the replaced part? Oh h*ll no ... it's not mine to toss! All replaced parts go in a wee baggy to be returned back to the owner; he/she can then do as they please with them.

    Good luck my friend ... as stated in the previous post, I believe you may be out of options here, but hey, don't give up, I've been wrong before ....

    Cheers!
    Bill
    All who wander are not lost ...
    Be a traveler, not a tourist.


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    a tourist doesn't know where he's been.

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  5. #4
    Member watch_art's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    i think the first mistake was taking it to a jewelry store to be outsourced to some 'watchmaker'. the advice that i've been given time and time again, is NEVER take a watch to a jewelry store. i know it's late for that advice, but there's always next time.

    as far as another crown?
    you can search ebay for 'lots' of ladies watches that probably don't run to find something damn near exactly what was lost.

    and also pm sent.

    Alpha Skeleton Multifunction, Alpha PO, Casio Edifice Chrono EF503, G-Shock Mudman Camo, Timex Ironman

  6. #5
    Member ivan1998's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    Quote Originally Posted by watch_art View Post
    i think the first mistake was taking it to a jewelry store to be outsourced to some 'watchmaker'. the advice that i've been given time and time again, is NEVER take a watch to a jewelry store. i know it's late for that advice, but there's always next time.

    as far as another crown?
    you can search ebay for 'lots' of ladies watches that probably don't run to find something damn near exactly what was lost.

    and also pm sent.
    I allways talk to the watchmaker themselves. To late for that. like what watchart says look at ebay there a lot of vintage watch that don't run or needs work. Sorry about your watch

  7. #6
    Affordables Moderator zippofan's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    I had that happen before, but not on a sentimental or valuable piece like yours.

    I hope you are able to find a replacement crown!

  8. #7
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    Thanks for the responses and great advice. I'll be scouting non-working vintage pieces on eBay.

    I'm still amazed (day two of this fiasco) that anyone would look at my wife's watch and simply treat it like a $40 Fossil watch.

    I plan on writing a very well crafted letter to the jeweler- and I still plan on maintaining my position that they had no right to throw away my watch's original parts. At the very least, I am going to ask they help fund replacement parts.

  9. #8
    Member Beau8's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    Sorry to hear about your experience~You could check with Ofrei as they have a variety of parts for vintage watches including Omegas, cheers!

  10. #9
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    While you're waiting for the jeweler to craft a worthless response take a look on eBay to see if you can find someone selling a lot of vintage watch crowns. I purchased several lots of fantastic vintage crowns on eBay for under $1 each piece. Actually if you post a photo of the watch I may have something you could use.

  11. #10
    Member Timewaster's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Watch Repair Ever- what are my rights?

    Oh man, that was painful to read. How angry would I be? I'm with you all the way - I'd be furious!

    What kind of service person would just toss out a crown like that? Seriously! I would think it would be a no-brainer to just put the old part in a little baggie or envelope and let the owner decide what they want to do with it. Alternatively, how difficult would it be to just pick up a phone and call to ask the owner if they want the old part?

    I recently had a bad experience with a jeweler changing a bracelet on a nicer watch of mine, and I was pretty upset at the work they did. Although I feel your pain, I guess I'm just posting to give you some sympathy. I have no idea what, if anything, you can do about this. Might just be a live and learn kind of thing.

    Regards,
    -Jeff
    Trivia question of the month:
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