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How long does your watchmaker take?

by Jordan Ficklin

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Air KingHow long does it take your watchmaker to fix your watch? I recently had a surge in work and my turn around time shot up to 8 weeks. For me this was unacceptable. The ideal turn around time is about 3 weeks for a full service but 4 weeks is more realistic. In order to catch up and get customers their work back sooner I have been sending Rolexes out to Rolex’s Dallas Service Center (with customer permission, of course) for the last two months. I’m now back at a manageable work load and will start serviceing Rolexes in house again.

So, why is three weeks ideal. Well, two would be better, but it is unrealistic. First of all, after I do watch batteries, water tests, bracelet sizings, order parts, and fix the computers here at work I am able to get about one full servcie done per day. Upon completing the work I have a 4 day quality control and timing check. That adds up to 1 full week. Should I need to adjust the timing during the timing check I need to start over adding 2 to 3 days to the total amount of time. Sometimes, I have to order a part and wait for it, this will add at least 2 days to the repair. On top of all of this I need a buffer of work so I don’t sit around doing nothing and some wiggle room in case something goes wrong. So you can see why I need 3 weeks minimum. If I was doing only Rolexes and I had a steady flow of work I could rely on I could easily have a two week turn around time.

So, the quesiton remains, how long does your watchmaker take? I have known watchmakers who had backlogs of 8 months or more on vintage pieces. At some point you have to make a judgement call to keep your turn around time acceptable. If you haven’t found the part in 8 months you need to find the time to make it (if that’s what you do) or return the watch. If the watch is simply sitting there waiting to be worked on then you need to limit the number of jubs you do, either by outsourcing, raising prices, turning away work, or something more creative.

There you have it, my professional goal is currently at 3 week turn around times.

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One Comment

  1. Posted June 6, 2008 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    20 months ago I sent my Speedy Pro to Swatch/Omega USA for a full servicing. They had it just under 3 months. Not sure how much of that time was just spent in the queue though.

    But every few months I read a story from an owner of a high-end Swiss piece that sent his watch back to Switzerland and it’s gone for a minimum of 4-5 months.

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