The Death of a Watchmaker
05 March 2015 by Greg Kelly
We recently came across a great letter on the brilliant Hodinkee blog about one man's struggle to have his 1960's Breitling Chronomat serviced in London.
The man was a Mr. Charles Conn, a well known entrepreneur and Harvard MBA who founded Citysearch in 1995 and now resided in Oxford. He is an avid watch collector with models from all decades. A problem he started to encounter however, one shared by many watch aficionados across the country, was the struggle to find adequate and experienced watchmakers to maintain his precious timepieces.
His letter details his journey down Old Bond Street in London where you couldn't swing a dead cat without hitting a luxury watch boutique, to have the rattle in his Breitling checked over. He entered the brand new Breitling flagship store full of hope but was greeted with an array of salespeople who had no interest in assisting in the repair of his watch. Once he finally pinned down someone to help he was duly informed that it would take a YEAR to assess and service his watch and the only service they offered was a full overhaul at £450.00
After further exploration he happened across a watch technician in solitary confinement downstairs who offered slightly more information that it would take 6 weeks to assess and 6 months to return his watch but had absolutely no interest in giving it a check to see if their was a simple solution that could be addressed there and then. He quipped that Mr. Conn was lucky that they would service his watch at all as some major brands have stopped servicing older watches and that less than a dozen watchmakers were being graduated in Britain every year.
Mr. Conn then goes on to lament the watch brands and compares it to Ford and Jaguar refusing to service older cars and if you went in for an oil change they would only offer a full engine rebuild. The difficulty is further heightened by some watch companies reluctance to sell parts to independent watchmakers and even then the lack of quality independent watchmakers in London is severely lacking.
You can read the full article here.
Here at Jon Vincent Watchmakers we definitely feel the pain encountered by Mr. Conn as it is one shared by many of our customers before they discover our service. It is the number one reason we started our free courier collection for all watch repairs so that no matter where you are based in the United Kingdom you have access to expert watchmakers who will deliver a value for money service in an efficient manner. We most certainly will not charge you an arm and a leg and deprive you of your previous timepiece for up to a year like many of the large manufacturers.
For an instant quotation and booking for you watch repair or service simply use our user friendly booking system