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Another Slice of History

by J.Edwards

Here’s another interesting page out of the annals of horological history in North America. The following is a price list for “Watch Repairs To The Trade” that I came across not too long ago, in a box of old watch movements and watch literature from the 1950s, at an estate sale.

While I can’t say with any degree of certainty whether “Conditioning” is the equivalent of a modern day servicing of a mechanical timepiece, I would be hard pressed to believe one could make a living performing a proper cleaning, complete inspection, reassembly, and final timing adjustment at that price point – even with inflation factored in.

According to the inflation calculator at InflationData.com the trade rate for a mainspring in 2013 would be just over $12, while in actuality it’s more than double that (sometimes 5 to 8 times that) for a typical, Swiss mainspring today. Depending on the make and quality, the material cost of a new balance staff or stem and crown seem a little more in keeping with inflation for low end watches.

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