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???