What do you expect for a watch Repair?

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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Stephan » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:07 am

I think one of the problems with watch collecting at the moment is the notion that you will get your money back.

Even here we see people basing their repair spend on what they bought it for and what they could sell it for.

I accept that we all want things to work out that way but it seldom does.

In most other hobbies I am involved in the value of the finished object is secondary and you spend what you have to spend to get what you want.

A friend of mine is currently restoring a Porsche and the engine had a problem. He decided to rebuild it. I think he hit 30K last week and it ain't done yet.

Neil - There will always be repairers out there willing to do things on the cheap and there will always be call for such but I believe there is also need for good reliable repairers
as well. A person who stands by his work and does what he says and does not talk BS but tells it like it is will find work and will be able to make a living.
Not everyone wants things cheap. Some want it done right and are willing to pay a fair price for such.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby veritas » Mon Aug 22, 2016 12:48 am

Just because a job is done cheaply does not mean its done poor.
I know i wont likely get my money back from what i have spent on the hobby, i never expected to.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby richiec » Tue Aug 23, 2016 1:11 am

Ebay, never want to give them a cent as a seller.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Neilywatch » Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:29 pm

Just want to point out in my experience that servicing a watch before selling NEVER improves its selling price to where you get paid back for a service. NEVER.

I have a beautiful 18s Ball - Hamilton 21J in a GB case on eBay now that I serviced and got it down to between 1-3 sec per day, and I can't get $750 for it.

I sold an Omega WW for $280 after servicing it and putting a new factory msp in it. My cost in service and parts was $200. The watch itself was worth more than $80. Fortunately I got the watch for nothing, otherwise the sale was a loss.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Glyn Meredith » Wed Aug 24, 2016 6:14 pm

I totally agree with Neil, and that's my experience over some years of selling watches in the range of very little to a few hundred dollars. A seller will want to make a watch as sellable/presentable as possible but the cost of servicing and its added value will usually not amount to enough to make it financially viable.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby richiec » Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:43 am

I think the discussion here is why it is just a hobby for me and not a livelihood like it is for Neil. When I buy a watch in most cases I am not looking at resale value but if I like it. I don't think I have actually made any money, just basically had it swap pockets as we say. I do a basic service on the good ones knowing I will never get my actually net worth back. Much like if you deal in antique cars, you buy them, fix them up and sell them usually for less than you have into them just so you can buy something else.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Larryl » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:36 am

Neil, in answer to your second post.

To me there is still a place for good watchmakers, and I know some who do "really" well at it.

I guess it is like any other business. You have to decide what it is that you are going to do, and get your name out there to as many people as possible, along with what it is you specialize in, and the quality of your work. Today with the computer it is much easier to get your name out there and make a good living at it. There are many who will pay good money to have there watches/heirlooms done by a good watchmaker.

I know one watchmaker that gets Rolex watches from jewelers, from all over the country, and that alone keeps him quite busy. Just how he got his name out there I have no idea, but they know about him. He also has his own website, and sells watches for a good profit there, as well as being a member of watch clubs, along with being quite active in his community. I have also noticed that he also does a few things on YouTube, like short videos on how to sharpen tweezers etc. Just another way to get his name out there and what he does i'm sure.

We have quite a few repair places for watches in the metro Boston area. I talked to one in Stoneham MA when I first started this 6 years ago, and was shocked at what he charged. He charged anywhere from $275.00 to $495.00 for a COA, plus parts on a Railroad pocket watch, and even more for the higher end watches. He also charges a $39.00 handling fee. He was not at all interested in doing any wholesale work, as he could hardly keep up with his retail work. He had three other watchmakers working for him, as well as a full time operator. I remember when I heard his prices, I had said, just kidding of course, "heck with those prices I think I'll hang out a sign also" His answer was, "please DO, I could use the help!"

I guess what I'm saying is, don't give up so quickly. Just give it some more thought, and with some help, and hard work, I'm sure you can make a go of it with your background, and good name.

JMHO!

Regards,
Larry
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Neilywatch » Mon Aug 29, 2016 12:53 am

Hi Larry -

Everything you say is correct and true. I guess my issue is that I have been working so many years with the support of the various watch companies (in terms of parts and training) that it is hard for to imagine myself being similarly successful without them.

I belong to a internet community of watchmakers - but that group complains constantly about not being able to service their clients who bring watches that usually require parts that sale of which are restricted by the manufacturers. Many of these people are watchmakers as a second career - another way of saying that they may have a second income from a retirement, so this is a supplement for them to what they already have.

I happen to know the guy in Stoneham. He has since retired and turned the shop over to his son, but he made his connections by going to Switzerland and developing connections there - which is a hard thing to do by itself.

Well, if it comes to where I will have to be completely independent again, it would not be in New Jersey. Cost of doing business and just living here is very high. But I can't just move just yet. My parents are still living and it would be very hard on them if I moved away.

I find all your comments to be helpful and instructive - and encouraging. SO, when the time comes I will build my own website - and hope for the best!
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Stephan » Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:25 am

One of the problems I see for watch servicing is that there are less and less people wearing their watches.
If you are going to wear it you want it accurate but if it is just going to sit in a collection somewhere it is not so important that it runs to within a few seconds a day.
Collectors want them to run more just to prove that they are complete and in running order.
Beyond that their accuracy, within reason, is not so important.

More and more I see items being sold with a rider telling the purchases NOT to expect accurate time keeping or that a service will be required because the item has been in storage for a long time.

Likely this goes against the grain for a real watchmaker who would be loath to dispatch a watch that did not keep proper time in all positions but from where I sit someone who can make staffs and replace jewels will likely do better than someone relying on servicing.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Glyn Meredith » Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:21 pm

I agree with Steve. Fewer people are wearing watches these days. Time is on the phone.
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Re: What do you expect for a watch Repair?

New postby Neilywatch » Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:32 pm

Re the reports of people using their phones to tell time, I am OK with the industry responding and adjusting to the exit of watches as a timekeeper in favor of phones and smart watches. That is progress, but i posed the question originally for myself, to see if staying in the profession was still viable. I will be 49 this year, and maybe it will be time to move onto something else, maybe not.

There still is a whole category of watches, that retail from $4,000 up to nearly $50,000, that are certainly worth it to fix. I suppose that for this group, we do not normally handle watches in this price range so, the above assertion that watches have been superseded by phones would be correct. However the prestige watches are still worth to fix on a regular basis, and would be a viable source of income, if the industry itself had not changed their business model and discontinued the sale of parts outside of their own service centers.

I still plan to collect for myself - so will have the benefit of being to fix my own watches. Right now, the majority of these posts suggest to me that based on this groups needs and perceptions for watch repair, it would be difficult for me to attempt to be completely independent and fix watches exclusively.

Thanks for all the input!
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