When your car breaks down, one of the first things you think about is finding a mechanic you can trust, not just to get the repair done properly, but also to feel confident you’re not getting ripped off.
This repair situation is doubly true when seeking a reliable technician to restore or repair an antique watch. Let’s face it, watch repair in our modern age is an increasingly rare skill.
Furthermore, word on the street is that many providers out there are dicey operators. When you need a watch repaired or want to restore a vintage watch, you also need a strategy to find the best professional to get the job done right.
1. Get a Solid Recommendation
The first tip is the easiest and most logical. The best way to find an excellent watch repair service is to find a person who has direct experience with that provider. A direct recommendation is superior to trusting the advertising claims of providers you are otherwise not familiar with. We all know some dealers hype their skills and products just to get business.
2. Go in Educated
Knowing a lot about your antique timepiece puts you in a position of strength when it comes to hiring a repair service. A vintage piece is not the same as a modern or more recent design. Knowing the history of the manufacturer and other facets of information will help you find a service match, but also allows you to “talk the talk” with your repair professional. You’ll know the right questions to ask.
3. Go as Local as Possible
Before choosing a watch repair service, check your local area to see if a reputable restoration company is available. This takes out the burden of trusting your watch remains safe during the shipping process, and you can finish up the restored watch as soon as it’s ready.
4. Paying for an Estimate is Not Bad
Many providers offer free estimates for the restoration of an antique watch. But that’s not always a good thing. A fee of $25 to $50 for a thorough look inside your valued item is well worth it because it signals a serious effort by the provider to make a careful assessment of what needs to get done.
5. Assess the Shop Environment
When you enter a repair shop, look for some tell-tale signs of integrity. Is the shop clean and well organized? If you see dust, dirt, and clutter, you may want to seek another venue.
How’s the attitude of the shop’s representative? Are they haughty and dismissive? Do they seem focused totally on cost — as in how much they can squeeze out of you? You need to feel comfortable with the professionals you will be working with.
Finally, ask to see the actual area where the restoration and/or repair work will be done. It should be clean, organized, uncluttered (not dusty or dirty!), and make you feel comfortable about where the work will get done.