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A Message from the AWCI President – December

by myazijian

December’s Horological Times 2012

Please note: The situations outlined in the following message also apply to many of our clock repair members.

Continuing on my last month’s message to both repair professionals and manufacturers…

We have established that the very nature of watch repair is indeed quite complex, if one is to emulate factory conditions; and this is the only way a moisture-proof mechanical timepiece will function well for an average of five years before the lubricants begin losing their viscosity. Anything less than factory assembly standards will lead to a questionable performance.

Unlike a car engine where the oil can simply be drained out and fresh oil filled, a mechanical timepiece has to be completely and carefully disassembled, surgically cleaned, errors corrected, worn parts replaced and surfaces treated where needed. Additionally, up to eight or more different types of lubricants may need to be used in strategic amounts and locations, and finally, the watch needs to be timed and adjusted in order to achieve best performance. This can be summarized in the table below

What Manufacturers’ Initial Assembly Deals With: What After Sales Service Deals With:
Start off with lubricant-free movement parts Dried lubricants found in movement
Clean parts Possible dirt and dust in watch
No wear and tear (new parts) Normal wear and tear
No damage from previous repairers Possible damage from previous repairers
Proper approach with quality workmanship – QC checks at various points Questionable quality of workmanship
Consistency in workmanship Questionable consistency in work
Properly trained staff Questionable staff training
Proper final quality control Questionable final quality control

Table copyright of Manuel Yazijian

The above table covers just the movement section. There are still the dial, hands, casing componentry (e.g. crown, pushers, gaskets, crystal, bracelet and more). If there is a failure in any of the afore-mentioned tasks or components, the timepiece will function erratically, come to a complete stop, have moisture ingression or have bracelet parts failure, among others. Ultimately, the watch will come back with an unhappy customer.

This message serves several purposes.

To demonstrate to manufacturers that our AWCI-trained and certified members, CW21 or CMW21 understand the importance of the above and adhere to preserving these practices at all times. By making spare parts, technical documentation and training available to watchmakers who have proven themselves competent through our certification program (CW21), it can take the burden out of your hands and put it in the hands of the independent practitioners who are located country wide—from the smallest town, to the largest city all across America. They will properly service your brand at the mere cost of spare parts from your end. You can then continue to focus on the mostly push-production strategy of watch manufacturing, your specialty. The centralizing of repair centers has its own set of challenges and may not meet a 100% of the after-sales service requirements for your products.

To remind our practitioner members to adhere to our Standards & Practices at all times while performing repairs and not to give in to the constant pressures of taking short cuts to satisfy self-interested parties or to meet unrealistic repair goals. (Please refer to our Standards & Practices on under About Us/Governing Documents/S & P’s.)

To inform retailers of the complexity of timepiece repair and, therefore, to understand that emphasis must be placed on the above-mentioned points in order to maintain properly functioning watches, and most importantly, a happy clientele.
After realizing the truly complex nature of repairs, many watch and jewelry retailers come to understand that watch repairs are not necessarily profit centers, but profit generators. Properly functioning watches help create goodwill between you and your client with the ultimate aim and purpose of establishing a loyal client-base who will have warm and fuzzy feelings about your business. This, in turn, helps increase the sales of your high-end merchandise, such as diamond jewelry, watches etc. This is where your true profits are—this is why you pay premium overhead for your retail location.

The opposite can be quite disastrous to your sales. Clients bringing that same watch back for the 3rd time or more because it was never repaired properly in the first place will have sour feelings about your establishment. They will go to the competition; you will lose those clients forever. The competent watchmaker is your friend and your partner, let him or her make a comfortable living and they will help you be even more successful, especially in a difficult economy. If you don’t, the good ones will eventually leave the profession for other more profitable fields. Those reaching retirement age will eventually cease performing repairs for you, and you will be left with… who?

Please feel free to contact me at the e-mail address below to see how AWCI can be of assistance to you.

Manuel Yazijian

As always, keep your skills honed, your standards very high, your attitude professional, your tools and equipment in great condition and your workshops clean and organized; you never know who may come by to pay you a visit.

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