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Hublot spare parts policy

by J.Peter

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I’ve talked about spare parts before, but since it was a big part of my day today, I’ll talk about it some more.

Hublot WristwatchI started out my day with a customer who had a ladies Hublot wristwatch which needed a new power cell. I recommended a water test as I usually do with water resistant watches and they agreed that it was a good idea. Upon removing the case back I noticed that the unusually shaped gasket was deformed. I was going to have to replace it. I looked up Hublot’s phone number on the internet and gave them a call. I got the usual reception that I get from a higher end brand. I’m sorry we do not sell parts unless you are an authorized retailer who has received our training. I explained my credentials but they wouldn’t budge, the watch would need to go to their service center.

The nearest authorized retailer is 400 miles away and their service center is in Florida. The customer needs a battery and a gasket and they have to send their watch insured hundreds (or thousands) of miles away so they can get it a new battery and a gasket. What kind of customer service is that? I called back and asked for more details. If it needed a complete service it would probably cost over $300. They may do less but without a guarantee and their current turn around time is about 6 to 8 weeks. All I can say is I’m glad it’s not my watch.

Before buying your next watch you might consider the companies spare parts and service policies. If you don’t know if your watchmaker would be able to service it, give him/her a call.

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18 Comments

  1. Prem Chainani
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    Hi JP,

    Seems like the proverbial quandary about spare parts and genuine watchmakers. I agree to the companies supplying the parts, how else are they going to know if a watch a certain watchmaker serviced is good or not? Believe you me, there are watchmakers out there who think they know watchmaking. During the last 5-7 years a lot has changed with movement manufacturing and all what a watchmaker knew- now is out the door. Take for instance oiling techniques, gear and pinion tolerances, the list of changes and subtleties in just one movement is indeed enormous! Hence, if non-accreditated watchmakers undertake jobs that are not supposed to be undertaken, obviously they are deteriorating the quality and longevity of the movement in a customer’s expensive time piece. The result is chaotic.

    The Swiss companies then decided, ok, enough is enough, and introduced periodical tests for their agents and watchmakers. Thereby keeping them abreast of all the latest developments in the watchmaking industry, and with their movements and watches. Certain companies go to such lengths as even promoting tools and machinery, required by the servicing agency , if they do not have the gear- they do not get the accreditations.

    It is difficult trying to explain to get a part to a customer service rep. over the phone! Best way, try to get accreditated. I know it is hard to understand this, especially as one is a proud member of the watchmaking community. But, seeing it from the Swiss watch companies’ point of view, there is no other way to maintain discipline.

    Prem Chainani

    Victoria BC Canada

  2. Posted March 27, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I don’t have a problem with the watch companies setting conditions for an individual to get parts. The problem is I am a qualified watchmaker. I am an AWCI Certified Watchmaker for the 21st Century, a WOSTEP graduate, an LWT Diploma recipient and Rolex trained. My issue is the fact that the only people Hublot (and many other companies) will train are individuals who work for a store that sells their product. In this case it means the nearest person who could become qualified to service this watch is 400 miles away. I asked if there was a way I could receive training and the answer was no. I think they need to at least give me (and other watchmakers) a chance to prove ourselves as competent and qualified watchmakers.

  3. Posted March 27, 2008 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh yeah, and to add. It’s not like this was one of their new complicated movements. It was an ETA quartz movement. If I needed movement parts I would order them from Swatch Group or any supply house.

  4. Prem Chainani
    Posted March 27, 2008 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Hi JP,

    I appreciate your response. I understand the frustrations at your end! I have an answer from the sales director of Hublot America- and will e-mail you personally with his comments. I understand that he had a look at your comments and post, and has sent me a comment. Some positive news in there for you mate…..

    I will e-mail this copy to you asap. Cheers,

    Prem

  5. mikemargolis
    Posted March 28, 2008 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    Thank you for your comments. As the Sales Director of Hublot of America, which covers USA and Canada, please allow me to clarify and explain our position regarding selling parts to independent watchmakers.

    Hublot of America’s policy is that we only sell parts to a watchmaker who has been invited to, and has come to one of our service training facilities in Nyon, Switzerland or Ft. Lauderdale, FL to become certified by us to work on Hublot watches. Many of our watches require special tooling, holders, jigs and screwdrivers in order to be properly opened, worked on, and then closed and leak tested.

    In order to maintain the very high standards with which our watches are designed and constructed, we can not allow a non-certified watchmaker to work on an Hublot watch. While we can never prevent an owner from taking his or her watch to a non-certified repairer, we can prevent that repairer from purchasing parts from us.

    Only graduate watchmakers who are employees of (and not independent contractors for) our Authorized Agents are invited to participate in one of our training class. Again, this helps us keep the quality of the repair and the integrity of the watch at the highest level possible.

    Hublot watches are sold in a very small distribution channel in the USA and Canada. Currently, we have only two Authorized Dealers in all of Canada, none west of Toronto. So, someone in Calgary or Vancouver who has purchased an Hublot watch will have to return that watch back to either his AD, or to directly to Hublot of America for repair.

    Since that owner has traveled more than four hundred miles (as you say) to purchase that watch from an Authorized Dealer, they should not be surprised to find that the authorized repair center is also some distance away.

    While you as an independent watchmaker may be frustrated by our policy, we believe that our policy will preserve the high quality and integrity of our watches.

  6. Posted March 28, 2008 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Here is an official response from Hublot of America: (take special note of the paragraph starting “Only graduate watchmakers . . .”

    Thank you for your comments. As the Sales Director of Hublot of America, which covers USA and Canada, please allow me to clarify and explain our position regarding selling parts to independent watchmakers.

    Hublot of America’s policy is that we only sell parts to a watchmaker who has been invited to, and has come to one of our service training facilities in Nyon, Switzerland or Ft. Lauderdale, FL to become certified by us to work on Hublot watches. Many of our watches require special tooling, holders, jigs and screwdrivers in order to be properly opened, worked on, and then closed and leak tested.

    In order to maintain the very high standards with which our watches are designed and constructed, we can not allow a non-certified watchmaker to work on an Hublot watch. While we can never prevent an owner from taking his or her watch to a non-certified repairer, we can prevent that repairer from purchasing parts from us.

    Only graduate watchmakers who are employees of (and not independent contractors for) our Authorized Agents are invited to participate in one of our training class. Again, this helps us keep the quality of the repair and the integrity of the watch at the highest level possible.

    Hublot watches are sold in a very small distribution channel in the USA and Canada. Currently, we have only two Authorized Dealers in all of Canada, none west of Toronto. So, someone in Calgary or Vancouver who has purchased an Hublot watch will have to return that watch back to either his AD, or to directly to Hublot of America for repair.

    Since that owner has traveled more than four hundred miles (as you say) to purchase that watch from an Authorized Dealer, they should not be surprised to find that the authorized repair center is also some distance away.

    While you as an independent watchmaker may be frustrated by our policy, we believe that our policy will preserve the high quality and integrity of our watches.

    Best Regards,

    Mike Margolis

    Sales Director

    Hublot of America

  7. Nick
    Posted July 21, 2008 at 7:22 pm | Permalink

    Lets get something clear: This watch was a basic ETA Quartz movement, please don’t try to spin it any other way. The only thing that makes it many thousands of dollars is the word “Hublot” on the dial.

    Are luxury watches overpriced? For what you pay to physically manufacture them, yes, however the lines are not so clearly drawn with luxury goods (as is their nature). A Rolex, JLC, or Patek Phillipe movement would most likely incorporate design/mechanical elements that the average watchmaker would not be aware of, hence Rolex specific courses, etc.

    Hublot is taking ETA movements, placing them in a case, and charging exorbitant prices for them. Now, personally, I think it’s criminal to charge what Hublot does for a quartz watch but, as I said, these are luxury items…

    The “we don’t sell to independents” policy has two general spins in the industry (well, three, it could be a combination of the two below)

    1. We want to make sure repairs are carried out to the highest quality

    and/or

    2. We’re afraid someone could use our parts to make a knock-off watch.

    Hublot is terrified of replica manufacturers (just google it) because, quite frankly, their watches are probably fairly easy to replicate unlike, say, a Rolex Daytona with seconds at 6, asymmetrical pushers, and non-standard ETA subdial spacing.

    Now, I understand this, but at the same time… $300 to replace a battery and do a WR check?! I could do that for $8, who are you kidding?

    That is absurd. I was quoted $550 by Rolex to fully service a 3135 automatic movement, clean the case, buff the crystal, oil the band, etc etc. $300 is highway robbery and any attempts at forcing a customer to commit to outrageously expensive services is appalling and disgusting.

    If Hublot cared so much about quality they’d produce their own high end quartz movement instead of buying them wholesale from Swatch and dropping them into fancy cases. Even Rolex makes gaskets, etc available for repairs and I know for a fact that you can order JLC gaskets, tubes, etc from the manufacturer. Are you saying you’re of higher quality than Rolex or Jaeger Le Coultre? Haha, please.

    Independent watchmakers are the spirit and backbone of the watch industry. If you keep restricting what watchmakers can do, you will decrease the amount of watchmakers in demand (not like the levels aren’t alarmingly low already) and it’ll be tough to find anyone who can figure out how to shoehorn a new basic ETA movement into your next “masterpiece.”

    I find it fitting that the person responding to the original post is the Sales Director and not someone who is directly in charge of servicing, etc… Says a lot when a company responds with sales spin and marketing dribble instead of an honest answer as to why someone with Mr. Peters’ qualifications does not meet your “standards” (how many of your technicians have his accreditation?).

    Nick

  8. Posted December 9, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Hublot:

    Dear Mr.Margolis,

    “Only graduate watchmakers who are employees of (and not independent contractors for) our Authorized Agents are invited to participate in one of our training class. Again, this helps us keep the quality of the repair and the integrity of the watch at the highest level possible.”

    Your above statement would make sense if you really were searching for the most qualified watchmakers.

    Watchmakers graduated from the Famous Technicum Neuchatelois de La Chaux-de-Fonds have been included in your parts restriction, so have a lot of others certified by different schools; even if they are independent it should be of your interest to have them repair your product, again if quality was your concern.

    Therefore Mr. Margolis it is obvious, your policy of restriction has nothing to do with quality.
    When you propose that watchmakers have to be trained by your company only, do you insinuate that companies like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Nardin etc. Utilized watchmakers not able to repair Hublot watches? or that the most famous Swiss Technical School have no clue of what they are doing?

    I hope you will clarify your statement and let us all know where your watchmaker,s, instrutors graduated from.

    Andre Fleury
    Swiss Watch Co.

  9. Nick
    Posted January 26, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    Still no response from Mike…

  10. Chuck B
    Posted December 10, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Sheesh… I have one that needs a BAND. Just needs to be screwed on. Any monkey can do that, so, I wonder if I’ll be able to do that without the assistance of a Hublot trained watchmaker.

  11. J.Peter
    Posted December 10, 2009 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Your best bet with this would be for you to call Hublot directly and try and order a band. The customer always seems to have more power than the watchmaker. After you receive the band have your local watchmaker install it for you.

  12. Gilbert
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I received a quote from Hublot in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a complete overhaul of my watch (approximately 20 years old)- the price: $1266.00. I’m undecided what to do – any suggestions??

  13. J.Peter
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Gilbert, that all depends. You don’t have a whole lot of choice. If you want the watch to maintain water resistance and have genuine parts nobody else can do it except Hublot. If it is a mechanical watch and it has gone 20 years w/o service than I it is very possible that the watch needs lots of parts and $1200 isn’t out of line. If it has had routine service or if it is a quartz that price seems awfully high.

  14. Imre
    Posted November 13, 2010 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    All I want is to have a larger strap fitted to my watch but because of the ridiculous restrictive practices of Hublot I have to lose the watch for weeks and pay £100+

    There’s no excuse for this

  15. Irony
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    I suppose as a last resort you could always get a replica one from one of the very factories that Hublot is so afraid of.

    How ironic.

  16. gavin rattray
    Posted December 31, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    im looking for a replacment black bezel and gold screws can anyone help befour ipurchase i replica hublot toget these parts

  17. J.Peter
    Posted December 31, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Your only hope is to find a Hublot dealer. Chances that the replica would even come close to fitting the genuine article is practically zero, so I wouldn’t bother with that.

  18. Often Better Value
    Posted March 1, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I find that replica items whether watch or wallet are very often better styled and of an equally high quality!

    In fact quite frankly many so called high end branded products such as IPhones are made in China!

    In Hublots case I can buy about 100 replicas for the price of having a new Hublot rubber band fitted at the factory here in Europe!

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