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I sent an antique watch to a well-known. respected watchmaker. It was running and keeping time, but it was in a hunter case that wouldn't stay shut. After receipt, the watchmaker said it could also use a COA, so I said great, please go ahead. Then the watchmaker sent it back to me with the following message: "It was running fine, but suddenly stopped when I was getting it ready to ship back. I don't want to spend any more time on it, sorry." I got it back, not running at all.
Is this something a reputable watchmaker would do?
|IHC Member 1947
I'm sorry to hear of you troubles; however this is no "reputable" watchmaker! Anyone who takes on a job needs to see it thru to the customer's satisfaction, even if it is a financial loss to themselves. There are risks in repairing old watches and a reputable watchmaker knows that and accepts that as a part of their vocation. This is definitely not right. I sincerely hope that it is not one of our IHC185 members.
|IHC Member 1357
That's a bummer for sure
Not the way to conduct business.
I have dealt with a number of antique pocket watches, and I understand how tricky even a COA can be. My first collectible antique pocket watch was an 1891 Columbus Railway King, and the watchmaker I sent it to gave me an estimate, after inspection, of $200. After he finished, he asked me for $600! I paid it, because he explained everything he had to do, explained the parts it needed, the unexpected problems, etc., and I got the watch back in perfect running condition. I do not mind paying for quality work, even if it's more than the "book value" of the watch.
I don't understand a watchmaker sending me back a non-running watch and saying, "I don't want to spend any more time on it." (when it was running when he got it!). It makes me wonder, why is he in the watch repair business? If he was thinking to save me money, That makes me even more irritated, because as the customer, I should be the one making that decision, no?
|IHC Life Member
Curious as to the make and model of the watch in question. If it is a typical American lever escapement movement I would be happy to look it over and evaluate it no charge. Just pay shipping.
Thank you for offering to help another member out!
Thanks for the kind offer!
The watch in question was a Columbus 18s hunter 15J unnamed grade c. 1883. I know Columbi can be challenging due to previous substandard service and abuse, often due to unavailability of parts. In this case I already sent it to someone else and who got it running again fine. No new parts were needed, as far as I know.
I won't use names here, because I don't want to embarrass anyone, and I don't want to sound like a whiner, but the incident just bugged me.
Roger, if you don't mind looking at "problem children" (mostly Columbus) I will certainly keep you in mind. I have quite a few of them! ;
Our IHC185 friend Dave Abbe once asked me why I liked to collect Columbus pocket watches. I told him it's because I want to do my part to keep watchmakers employed.
|IHC Life Member
I'll send you an email.
Dennis, you have that one right!
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