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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I made the mistake of sending my vintage Omega Seamaster Chronostop for a overhaul and crystal replacement to Govberg Watch Repair. Overhaul estimate was nearly $600 (watch was running and keeping decent time)! And, that didn't include the crystal replacement, for which I never got a legitimate quote. The communication was strained to say the least and after receiving my watch back from them today I find the case back seriously scarred! Looks like they used a hammer and chisel to remove what was a loosely installed case back... I installed it before sending it to them and it was barely snug!
Very disappointed!
So, if you're looking for a good place to send your watch for service, look elsewhere!
 

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My experience was abysmal as well.
Sent a Zenith diver in for crown and stem/tube. Was told that they required servicing the watch if they replaced the crown.....
I explained I have a watch-smith fully capable of performing the service (which would save $).
I was informed (tactfully) that "it was all of it, or nothing. Find a crown elsewhere". My other option was to send watch to Zenith, which would have been as expensive, if not more expensive.
I was charged $600.00 for that service. (Perhaps every small task they do is $600.oo)

Count me a disgruntled, former victim, er client.
 

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Finding a good watchmaker is almost like finding an honest banker on Wall Street.
Finding a good watchmaker isn't the issue here. No watchmaker in the world can do the job properly if he can't get the parts. As long as these companies can restrict the sale of their parts, you will have to play by their rules. It works out great for the companies. They eliminate the competition and set the price at whatever they want.

Steve
 

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Finding a good watchmaker isn't the issue here. No watchmaker in the world can do the job properly if he can't get the parts. As long as these companies can restrict the sale of their parts, you will have to play by their rules. It works out great for the companies. They eliminate the competition and set the price at whatever they want.

Steve
Precisely.
Well said.
 

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Archer watches was fast, communicated daily (by phone if I wasn't replying to emails) and affordable. I believe they have an Omega parts account, and the level of customer involvement is wonderful - including macro shots of every stage of the process, print outs of all test results, and a DVD comprised of all the information you could possibly want. Every test or part is quoted and approved by the customer BEFORE it is done, so you always know how much your bill will be. PLUS Al at Archer is just a nice guy - even packed some peanut brittle when I had my Meistertaucher overhauled last year around this time. I not only found an honest banker on Wall Street, I found a friendly one.
 

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Maddox - we are sorry you were not happy with your Govberg expreience. While you have every right to your opinion, there are 2 sides to every story. The estimate you recveived included an overhaul, all parts, and crystal polishing - we offered to polish the crystal because our watchmakers did not believe that the expense of a new crystal was necessary. We offered to quote you on replacing the crystal, which you declined. We do not believe that the watch was damaged while in our posession, but we are happy to examine it in the hopes that we can come up with a mutually agreeable solution.

If you would like to discuss your situation, please give us a call at 1-855-303-3752.


I made the mistake of sending my vintage Omega Seamaster Chronostop for a overhaul and crystal replacement to Govberg Watch Repair. Overhaul estimate was nearly $600 (watch was running and keeping decent time)! And, that didn't include the crystal replacement, for which I never got a legitimate quote. The communication was strained to say the least and after receiving my watch back from them today I find the case back seriously scarred! Looks like they used a hammer and chisel to remove what was a loosely installed case back... I installed it before sending it to them and it was barely snug!
Very disappointed!
So, if you're looking for a good place to send your watch for service, look elsewhere!
 

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huntershooter - we are sorry that you also were not happy with your experience with us. I am not sure of your specific situation (but please feel free to call us at 1-855-303-3752 to discuss), but you should know that authorized dealers and repair centers are not allowed to simply sell parts. These rules are handed down by the manufacturers. We buy are parts from the brands that we service and are not allowed to resell them or we risk losing our status as an authorized dealer. The manufacturers have these rules in place to try and ensure that only qualified watchmakers are performing services on their watches. If all that needs to be replaced is the crown, we can often do that repair without touching the movement, which is a lot less expensive. However, replacing the stem requires work on the movement and an overhaul is often required to make sure that the watch manitains its water resistance and is performing within factory specifications. Our overhaul services are typically faster and often less expensive than the manufacturers or other authorized repair centers. Again, we are sorry that you did not have a good experience with us - we are happy to discuss your specific situation to fix any issues with our service, but I wanted to take the opportunity to share our side of the story with the forum audience.


My experience was abysmal as well.
Sent a Zenith diver in for crown and stem/tube. Was told that they required servicing the watch if they replaced the crown.....
I explained I have a watch-smith fully capable of performing the service (which would save $).
I was informed (tactfully) that "it was all of it, or nothing. Find a crown elsewhere". My other option was to send watch to Zenith, which would have been as expensive, if not more expensive.
I was charged $600.00 for that service. (Perhaps every small task they do is $600.oo)

Count me a disgruntled, former victim, er client.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
GWR, I respect your attempt to come to this Site to save face, but your attempts fall on deaf ears as far as I am concerned. It's strangely ironic that mine and "huntershooter" experiences match so closely. Hmm, seems to be the normal situation. So, in response to your offer... Thanks but no thanks!
 

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Maddox, they took the time to come here and offer you a way to resolve the problem. To me, that says they're willing to work with you. If you'd rather ignore them that's your right, but don't go maligning them anymore. That's one right you've given up if you refuse to even listen to any solution or even compromise they might have. From what I've read here, if they replaced the caseback (and I've seen Chronostop casebacks in NOS condition on eBay from Watchco Australia) then everything would be fine. They polished the crystal instead of replaced it, which is acceptable to most vintage collectors as long as the scuffs and scratches are removed.
 

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Thanks ulackfocus.

Maddox - With all due respect, I think your situations were different. You sent us your watch, we provided a free estimate which you rejected and we sent it back to you at our own expense. You are now claiming that we damaged the watch while it was in our posession. For you, I was trying to explain why we quoted you a crystal polishing versus a replacement (it would be cheaper).

In huntershooter's case, he wa looking for us to sell him parts, which we cannot do based on our relationship with the brand. in fact no authorized repair center for a brand can sell parts. He chose to do the repair with us, becuase he realized that no one legitimate would sell him parts and the brand might charge him more for the same service. For him I was trying to explain how the industry works, and why a stem replacement would require an overhaul.

Again, I apologize that you had a bad experience with Govberg. We try to provide 100% customer satisfaction and deal open and honestly with customers when there are issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There are no available case backs that match the original... I have looked.
I have made my opinion of them clear and will not post any further on the matter, not here anyway.
 

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In huntershooter's case, he wa looking for us to sell him parts, which we cannot do based on our relationship with the brand. in fact no authorized repair center for a brand can sell parts. He chose to do the repair with us, becuase he realized that no one legitimate would sell him parts and the brand might charge him more for the same service. For him I was trying to explain how the industry works, and why a stem replacement would require an overhaul.
That is correct. I knew what I was getting into, with no other option.
However, I look at this specific example as "taking unfair advantage".
I certainly understand "maximizing profits" as a business man myself. It is possible to make a fair profit without GOUGING someone.
I loathe the fact there are no other options.

 

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I am sorry that you don't feel that you got good value for your money. Overhauls are expensive, but I have worked in other industries and believe me, our profit margins aren't that good to be considered "gouging" -- watchmakers are not compensated anywhere near Wall St bankers that were mentioned earlier! Overhauls are expesnive, but that is largely due to the amount of labor involved plus the fact that we source original parts from the manufacturer. The watches we are talking about here are investments, and it makes sense to maintain them with factory original parts. An Overhaul service is a painstaking process during which the entire movement of the watch is taken apart, all parts are cleaned or replaced when rusty or worn, every part is lubricated before the watch is reassembled and pressure tested for water resistance. We put a video together to show the amount of work involved in an overhaul here: Breitling Watch Repair - YouTube

Again, my apologies that you do not feel that you had to spend more than you wanted to on your watch repair, but please know that we are not in the business of taking advantage of customers. Our watchmakers give their best judgment into what is wrong with the watch when they examine it, and we provide free estimates and free return shipping when the customer does not approve the estimate. Let me know if you are interested in discussing your situation peronally and we can talk offline.

Thanks for listening.




That is correct. I knew what I was getting into, with no other option.
However, I look at this specific example as "taking unfair advantage".
I certainly understand "maximizing profits" as a business man myself. It is possible to make a fair profit without GOUGING someone.
I loathe the fact there are no other options.

 

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Overhauls are expensive, but I have worked in other industries and believe me, our profit margins aren't that good to be considered "gouging" -- watchmakers are not compensated anywhere near Wall St bankers that were mentioned earlier!
And why should watchmakers be well paid? You know that the pretty certificate that your watchmaker shows in the video is the result of a three way arrangement between him, Breitling and the store. Should any party pull out, that certificate becomes an invalid piece of trash. So you don't necessarily need to pay your watchmaker what he is worth. You know that if he ever left he would not have access to the genuine parts and couldn't compete with you. This is a great arrangement for you in three ways. You have a captive labor force with limited outside opportunities, it virtually eliminates outside competition and allows you to charge as much as you want.

Overhauls are expesnive, but that is largely due to the amount of labor involved plus the fact that we source original parts from the manufacturer. The watches we are talking about here are investments, and it makes sense to maintain them with factory original parts. An Overhaul service is a painstaking process during which the entire movement of the watch is taken apart, all parts are cleaned or replaced when rusty or worn, every part is lubricated before the watch is reassembled and pressure tested for water resistance. We put a video together to show the amount of work involved in an overhaul here: Breitling Watch Repair - YouTube
So how much are you actually paying the watchmaker for all that "painstaking" labor? I surfed the net a little and this site is typical of the data I found. So 90% of the watchmakers earn less than $21 an hour. It takes approximately 4 hours to complete the ETA 7750 shown in your video (case polishing included). The required genuine Breitling parts cost roughly $100- so parts and labor comes in at maybe $200.

Breitling's list price for that repair is $530- although they mandate that the hands be replaced (an extra $40-70) and try to increase profits by selling crystals, riders, etc. I assume that your prices are in this ballpark. So you have an extra $300 and your "profit margins aren't that good".

Here in the USA many assume that the prices for goods and services are determined by our system of supply and demand. Breitling (and many other Swiss watch companies) have discovered that by manipulating the supply of parts they can circumvent the conventional system and profit handsomely. And if your "profit margins aren't that good" maybe you should just raise your prices. You won't have any competition.

Steve
 

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Thanks ulackfocus.
You're welcome..... however, you do need to know that I have an issue with cornering the market by monopolizing a service. I know it isn't your policy, it's the manufacturer's, but you need to realize these members see you as a representitive of the manufacturers and that's why they're upset. The distinction is a fine line that gets blurry when they're forking out all that cash. As a retailer in the big ticket game I understand sustainable margins. As a frequent restorer of vintage watches, I see the other side of the coin too. The last two checks I wrote out to JLC were well north of $2,000. The Swiss's way of doing business flies against the US model of free enterprise and might even violate anti-trust laws. I get that Govberg's is stuck between a rock and a hard place and do appreciate you joining to offer to open dialogs with dissatisfied customers. Hope everyone works it all out.
 

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Maddox, they took the time to come here and offer you a way to resolve the problem. To me, that says they're willing to work with you. If you'd rather ignore them that's your right, but don't go maligning them anymore. That's one right you've given up if you refuse to even listen to any solution or even compromise they might have. From what I've read here, if they replaced the caseback (and I've seen Chronostop casebacks in NOS condition on eBay from Watchco Australia) then everything would be fine. They polished the crystal instead of replaced it, which is acceptable to most vintage collectors as long as the scuffs and scratches are removed.
Very well put Dennis - Kudos to you.
I can not comment on this company, but I will without any hesitation say there "ARE" good, very professional watch repairers out there Archer (already mentioned) is a great example.
I can offer two more in the Columbia/Pennsylvania area.
I can assure you they exist and are The Best.

Regards
 

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Breitling's list price for that repair is $530- although they mandate that the hands be replaced (an extra $40-70) and try to increase profits by selling crystals, riders, etc. I assume that your prices are in this ballpark. So you have an extra $300 and your "profit margins aren't that good".

Steve
Hi N2FHL - Your analysis does not include shipping, warranty costs, or insurance - all of which are bundled into the price of our repairs. Also, beyond the cost of the watchmaker (which, for luxury watches run higher than you state), there is overhead required to manage parts inventory and provide polishing services not to mention the amortization and maintenance of expensive equipment.

In many service and retail businesses, it is not uncommon to see retail gross margins of 50-60%. This is not the case in the watch repair business. Thats all I was saying in response to the accusation of price gouging.

As a USA based company, we compete with many other watch repair centers every day on the quality of our work, the timeliness of our service as well as the prices we charge. We provide free estimates and free return shipping so that the customer is free to shop around. We are far from the only authorized repair center for the brands that we service and we have to be competitive on price and provide superior service to survive. We are happy to compete and win based on the value we provide to consumers. We wouldn't have been able to stay in business for 90 years if the core of our business relied on "gouging" customers.
 

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I know this is a little off subject but someone brought up the cost of services, so I have to put in my 2 cents........I get a kick out of folks sitting down with a pencil and paper and figure out the cost of getting something done.......yea 10 bucks for the guy and 20 bucks in parts ok - thats 30 why not charge forty thats ten bucks profit thats enough.....lol
as a business owner I can tell you that the profit margin needs to be a whole lot more....We forget about other employee expenses like taxes, FICA-unemployment insurance, health benefits, vacations, advertising, promotions, workers comp, bonuses, etc., etc. Oh, and what about operating cost like electricity, water, waste, rent, business insurance, hell my liability insurance alone is as much as an extra salary....Oh and lets not forget the unproductive help like the janitor, office help and the professional help like accountants, doctors, security. I am sure I could keep going, I am just like the next guy, I want the best price for an object or a service that I can get, but lets be real.
And ..........as far as this watch repairer GWR, hey if they are willing to negotiate a settlement they sound like a good place to do business with...IMO....a simple start to any problem is communication.
 
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