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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Had an interesting side gig for a while. I was fixing watches for a hospice resale store. I probably did 4,000 watches for them over a couple of years, unfortunately, the main office closed the place down, rent was too high, costs were too high, it didn't pay.

My price was free, their terms were if it needs a battery, put one in. If it needs anything else or if it is a mechanical watch, it is yours because we don't like selling mechanical watches because the buyer invariably comes back the next day complaining it stopped (You have to wind it up, dude! Every day!)

Anyway, one of the watches they never wanted to see again was a Voumard 2000, 17 jewels, Swiss, backset, no date on the face. I put a crystal on it (from G&S) and a bracelet from my "stash". It runs and keeps pretty good time, but I am sure it has not been serviced since before the Second Punic War. It needs it . . .

I asked Mark S. in Pennsylvania if he could do it, he said no, he couldn't get anything for it.

Question - who (if anyone) can do a decent service on this watch without expecting me to make their next three yacht payments? I'm not at all interested in "What's it worth?", I only want an occasional "daily driver".
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Maybe M.M. should establish the parameters for ''inexpensive''? A job that I might consider as being reasonably priced, someone inexperienced to collecting may see as outrageously expensive.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very valid request!

(I wrote a long and detailed reply, hit ONE wrong key and it completely disappeared into the ether . . . )

I have five or six 214 Accutrons, they go to Rob B in Thailand, he gets $125 labor plus parts. Other sources on the net either don't do them at all, one place says $350 labor plus parts (plus $250 for a coil set). The last one I sent to Rob needed a coil set and a pinion, total was $260.

Mechanical watches go to Mark S in Pennsylvania. He gets $75 for a simple watch (50's vintage Bulovas, etc.), he will get $150 to overhaul a 565 Omega autowinder movement in rose gold as soon as I find a Seamaster case for it.

There was a local guy who was charging $40 for an overhaul, he retired, and $40 is not enough for this - it isn't fair considering the time and talent required.

Where I find really spooky prices on the internet is for specialist services. I have a Rado Ceramica with a flat black dial, just a few words in gold. I had it refinished about seven years ago, it needs it again. Prices ranged from $40 to $450 to refinish the removed dial! My selection is somebody for $60.

There's at least one place on the internet that boasts they fix EVERYTHING because they are experts on EVERYTHING, but I suspect they farm it all out and mark it up a lot . . .

I also have an Illinois series 1 pocket watch from 1872, which, considering it is 150 years old, could probably stand a drop or two of oil. Prices on the net run from $100 to $500, plus parts (which I happen to know are available and quite reasonable). I'm still looking for someone I'm comfortable with on that one.

Frequently, I go to the NAWCC membership list because a lot of these people are not on the internet, and Google, which is otherwise endlessly useful, doesn't find them.

As to the Voumard, Ranfft shows the movement as proprietary, so parts are probably unobtanium. I figure something like $125 or so should buy an overhaul, hopefully nothing inside is trashed.

I'm not in this for the money, I am just a casual collector of watches that happen to interest me. Most of what I've got is low to mid-range stuff which cost under $1,000 new, sometimes well under $1,000. I admit I am a grasshopper, so I try to choose carefully!

Best Regards,

Mike/Florida
 

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Very valid request!
Thanks for understanding. Now, if any readers know what you want, they'll be able to answer you better. I'd help, but I know squat about this sort of thing. I presume your cost will be somewhat determined by the standard of living in the repair facility's city (a repair shop on ''Hicksville Street in Podunk, Nebraska'' won't be as expensive as one at "The Star's Repair Emporium" on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles. An exaggeration, but you get my drift).
But your estimate seems to be on par with what my local watch guy would charge me for an overhaul (or maybe a little less because I've been using him for over a decade now.
Anyway, good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
(slightly off topic)

I live in one such "hicksville" (and no offense taken!) - Small town in Florida, population 2,000+/-. We don't have a traffic light, but hey, we do have a blinker. Our "mall" is the Dollar Store. We sometimes have a rush-minute, we've never had a rush hour. The mayor shows up in blue jeans to run the bi-weekly city commission meetings. He's on his third term, the city is solvent. We have one of the best STEM schools in the state - when the county school board surplussed it, the entire town came together to refurbish the building. Currently 850 students K-11, (grade 12 coming) and over 2,000 on the waiting list! We can see the launches from the space center, and we usually hear them.

When we need a fix of "big city", Orlando is less than an hour away. Every time I have to go there I am reminded of how glad I am to live here and how pleasant it is. Is the town perfect? No, but it is small enough so that an individual citizen can make a difference, and their voice will be heard. We even have that new-fangled elektricity stuff, and some of us are rumored to have indoor plumbing, too! One of our neighbors has free-range chickens and gives us eggs - they are universes better than the styrofoam eggs at Publix (and free doesn't hurt either).

To paraphrase, "Honey, I've lived in big cities and in little cities, and little is best." Of course YMMV, just because it works for me doesn't mean it works for everyone.

Best Regards,

Mike/Florida
(I might have to change my user name from "Miami Mike" ;-)
 

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I hear you. I lived in two larger cities (550,000 and then 130,000) during my working years but when it got close to my retirement we moved about 6 yrs ago to a small town of about 12,000 and it was the best move I / we've made. Going into some of the small stores here is like walking into Cheers! bar.... everyone knows your name.
 

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Had an interesting side gig for a while. I was fixing watches for a hospice resale store. I probably did 4,000 watches for them over a couple of years, unfortunately, the main office closed the place down, rent was too high, costs were too high, it didn't pay.

My price was free, their terms were if it needs a battery, put one in. If it needs anything else or if it is a mechanical watch, it is yours because we don't like selling mechanical watches because the buyer invariably comes back the next day complaining it stopped (You have to wind it up, dude! Every day!)

Anyway, one of the watches they never wanted to see again was a Voumard 2000, 17 jewels, Swiss, backset, no date on the face. I put a crystal on it (from G&S) and a bracelet from my "stash". It runs and keeps pretty good time, but I am sure it has not been serviced since before the Second Punic War. It needs it . . .

I asked Mark S. in Pennsylvania if he could do it, he said no, he couldn't get anything for it.

Question - who (if anyone) can do a decent service on this watch without expecting me to make their next three yacht payments? I'm not at all interested in "What's it worth?", I only want an occasional "daily driver".
View attachment 231129 View attachment 231130
I've dealt with Mark S. in PA as well and all too often he says he can't do anything because he can't get parts. But I have to wonder, if the watch basically runs and keeps time what ever happened to the simple CLA (clean, lube and adjust)?
 

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(I wrote a long and detailed reply, hit ONE wrong key and it completely disappeared into the ether . . . )

Mechanical watches go to Mark S in Pennsylvania. He gets $75 for a simple watch (50's vintage Bulovas, etc.), he will get $150 to overhaul a 565 Omega autowinder movement in rose gold as soon as I find a Seamaster case for it.
I assume you are using a Macbook with a touchpad so large that the computer can't be used for writing long and detailed replies because it has awful palm rejection problems? Worth remembering that CONTROL-Z will usually restore whatever the touchpad has deleted. [Sometimes if it has wrongly detected your palm twice, you may have to CONTROL-Z twice].

If it is the same Mark S in PA, have you used him recently at all? I met with and liked the guy so I gave him a solid gold Zenith mechanical Museum watch (AND a mainspring) over two years ago and he stopped responding or communicating with me about it and wont let me have it back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I assume you are using a Macbook with a touchpad so large that the computer can't be used for writing long and detailed replies because it has awful palm rejection problems? Worth remembering that CONTROL-Z will usually restore whatever the touchpad has deleted. [Sometimes if it has wrongly detected your palm twice, you may have to CONTROL-Z twice].

If it is the same Mark S in PA, have you used him recently at all? I met with and liked the guy so I gave him a solid gold Zenith mechanical Museum watch (AND a mainspring) over two years ago and he stopped responding or communicating with me about it and wont let me have it back.

Sorry for the long delay in responding - been very busy with a house I'm trying to sell. Tenant always paid rent on time but left it a MESS, grubby, ugh. Ahh, the joys or real estate . . .

Not using a MacBook, using W7 plus Thunderbird, control Z works on that, too. Didn't work that time. Traced it to (and this gets involved) an update for a Mercedes diagnostics box which needed to run on W10 and didn't bother to tell anyone that it would give W7 severe indigestion. Uninstalled it, ran CC Cleaner to get rid of the un-needed registry entries, finally fixed. What it was doing is that every time I deleted a single e-mail in Thunderbird, it wanted to compact all the databases before it would do anything else. Once the update program was removed, T-bird played nice again. Ran the update program on a W10 box, the Mercedes diagnostics box worked properly too. Sheesh.

Interesting comment about Mark in PA, yes it is the same guy and no I have not used him recently. In addition to declining the Voumard (which I can understand), he also declined to service a running 1946 Bulova Senator if I supplied the refinished dial to him. That kind of put me off.

There's a local jeweler I'm going to get a quote from. He's a few miles away and I can drop in on him so he can't ignore me. He seems to know something about 214 Accutrons, and he added a few mm to a platinum wedding band to enlarge it slightly (after 26 years on my ring finger, it was getting a tad snug). Did a perfect job, you cannot tell where the extra section was soldered in - $35.

I've known him for several years and he seems to be a straight guy. He had a real disaster a few years back. His store is in a strip center, the store next door was vacant and some people broke into the adjacent store, cut through the wall and stole all kinds of irreplaceable jewelry that he had "in queue" to be worked on. Of course, he had plenty of insurance, but how do you replace a family heirloom? Turns out it was an organized gang specializing in jewelry heists working up and down the east coast that got him. Not sure if they've been caught yet or not. He really, really felt bad about it because he knew that people had entrusted their things to him.

Best Regards,

Mike/Florida
 
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