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How To Choose a Watchmaker

How to find a watchmaker to work on your Rolex? A very good question…

Naturally, you want the best for your watch because your heart cannot bear to have someone incompetent working on it. Logically, you think that your only choice is an "authorized Rolex dealer." I am not claiming that Rolex services are incompetent. I believe that Rolex dealers are the best watch repair workshops in the world.  They have exceptional training and equipment that every watchmaker dreams of. However, all of this training and equipment is not cheap and takes an enormous amount of time. Even the simplest timing adjustment can take weeks for the massive Rolex bureaucracy to process.


Another option is taking your watch to a local watchmaker. In the Yellow Pages, you will see an extensive list of watchmakers who are qualified to fix your watch more efficiently and for only a fraction of what you would pay at a Rolex dealer.  However, you have to be careful whom you trust.

Following is a list of things to look for:

1) Do not try fixing your Rolex at a local shopping mall. A watchmaker making a living on installing batteries in $30 quartz watches cannot possible know how to fix a complicated mechanical luxury watch.

2) Watchmakers work on multiple watches at a time. Look carefully at the watches that are currently sitting on the watchmaker’s bench. If you see many lower end watches, most likely this person does not have much experience handling a Rolex.

3) Beware of dishonest watchmakers and their false stories. I have worked with many specialists in the past and from my experience, watchmakers are not very social people (probably because they are used to working with watches and not people). If you start hearing stories about watchmakers with decades of experience working with Rolexes and start seeing suspicious looking diplomas – run away.

4) No experienced specialist will tell you how much exactly you will end up paying. Watchmakers usually give you estimates and “hit” you with the final cost when you pick up your watch. After all, they cannot see what needs to be done with a watch until they start working on it.

5) No good watchmaker bothers with providing additional services, like polishing. Do not trust someone who offers to perform a service that you do not request. Furthermore, ignore all threats, such as, “If you don’t polish your watch today, it will stop tomorrow and nobody will be able to fix it.”

To find a reputable watchmaker, look for a quiet introvert sitting in a small room away from the public eye, and he or she will be your watchmaker. How do you find this person? Ask around, I am sure you have friends who’ve had their watches serviced. Referrals are always a good way to avoid being ripped off.

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