Ah, the mechanical watch. Â This is truly a modern mechanical wonder. Â They sit on our wrists with not much day-to-day care needed other than the occasional winding (if manually-wound) or simply to be worn (for the automatic brethren). Â Because they do their work without much fuss, we might tend to overlook something that is very critical for these micro machines – the fact that that they need service. Â While you have options, they are not as numerous as they may have once been. Â Then again, itâ€™s the internet to the rescue. Â Cue my experience with TotalWatchRepair.
Used to be (or so I like to imagine in sepia-toned daydreams) that you could find a good, competent watch maker not that far from you, where you you could stop in, drop off your watch, and trust that the work would be done, and done well. Â At least by me, I have not found that to be the case. Â If your watch came from one of the big brands, then yes, you could send it back home for a service. Â In fact, for some of the luxury brands, that may almost be expected. Â What if you have something from an indie, though? Â Well, if theyâ€™re using common movements (and who isnâ€™t, these days) then servicing should not be an issue.
As I mentioned, I have not had luck finding a local shop (either by my home or my office) in Chicagoland that I would trust, let alone try out. Â I do have one fellow Iâ€™ve sent stuff to (recently) based on a recommendation from a good friend, and that went very well. Â I realize that not everyone is going to be comfortable sending their watch to some random independent watchmaker, so thatâ€™s where a place like TotalWatchRepair comes in.
Before TotalWatchRepair reached out to us, I was not aware of them. Â Then again, I had not done much research into the online repair shops, as my watches were not yet due for regular maintenance service (this should be done every 3-5 years, just to keep things running well). Â Well, as it turned out, my trustyÂ Magrette Regattare 2011Â was coming up on that 5 year mark (itâ€™s the first automatic Iâ€™ve owned), so I thought, letâ€™s give that one a go.
As part of the process, I did askÂ TotalWatchRepair for an additional thing that most folks wouldnâ€™t have when sending it out for service – they took photos of the process. Â I have to say, itâ€™s many kudos for the watchmaker who was working on my Magrette, as I imagine the photography must have slowed them down a bit. Â That said, it was cool to see the inside of the watch, and the process of tearing it down and building it back up (how cool would a sped-up time-lapse video of this be?). Â I also got a kick out of seeing the service date written on the inside of the case back – handy to have that history, for me or any other owner.
In terms of the process, it was fairly painless. Â You fill out a form online, send the watch in (via the carrier of your choice), and youâ€™ll be contacted with a basic estimate once they have had a chance to look the watch over, and review whatever your request was. Â This could be a simple maintenance overhaul, as we did here, or maybe there is some specific issue that needs to be addressed (say, it skips a date and two hours on the 23rd of every month, or whatever it is).
Once the work is done, then they send it on back to you, and you have a watch thatâ€™s good to go for another 3-5 years. Â In terms of pricing, the basic maintenance service will run from $299 – $499, depending on the watch and movement, and will be done in three weeks or less. Â As to whether or not that pricing is good or bad, I honestly cannot say. Â Itâ€™s more than I paid the independent watchmaker on a different service, but it may well be inline with what larger repair shops charge. Â Then again, you can get yourself 10% off with TWR when you reference this article (just paste a link in to it) when contacting them about your repair.
Since Iâ€™ve had the watch back, the Magrette has been running well (and accurately, to my eye), and I did not notice any additional marks or the like on the case, crystal, or caseback. Â In other words, I am pleased with the results that I see in the work that they did. Â Would I use them again? Â Probably, as one assumes that a bigger shop would have a wider array of parts on hand (should one be needed) in the course of a repair. Â Then again, if I can find some local shop that I can actually talk with in person, that would sway the decision. Â For now, though, itâ€™s all online – either out west withÂ TotalWatchRepair, or on the east coast with the independent guy that Iâ€™ve used previously. Â If any of you have recommendations on watch shops that you like (online and/orÂ in the Chicagoland area), feel free to comment below or drop us a line, as I am curious as to what othersâ€™ experiences have been. Â totalwatchrepair.com