Written by Sterling VanDerwerker">Sterling VanDerwerker On January 23, 2020.
Electric watches were introduced in the 1950s. The hands were moved mechanically yet the balance wheel was powered by a solenoid, a thin wire wrapped around a metallic core producing a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through. These electric watches foreshadowed the quartz watch, introduced in 1969. The quartz watch removed all moving parts found in mechanical watches, replacing them with a battery. This meant that the watches became more shock absorbent and could maintain better accuracy with no cleaning or oiling. These quartz watches were driven by a battery powered circuit rather than a self winding movement. Quartz watches used digital counters rather than a wheel train to add up beats to track the time, this is still found in quartz watches today. ( EMILY SMITH at Govberg)
Early technology has its benefits and problems… Service on electric watches puts at risk the integrity of the seal around the port for the watch or its case back… some pry off and some screw off. The gasket must be treated carefully and must be replaced when it shows compromise (stretching, nicks, cracking due to age, etc.)
The next and possibly disastrous problem is battery seal leakage. The entire movement may be affected by the chemicals that can leak from an old mercury based cell and newer cell technology (who knows what that stuff really is,.. perhaps alien or demon perspiration 😉 here is an example:
not last,.. not least is the “coil”, a small electro-magnet that is part of the pulsing and transfer of electric power to mechanical power. The copper windings are very VERY delicate and can be damaged, primarily by unskilled technicians messing around in the watch. A professional stays completely away from this part,.. damage is nearly impossible to repair and replacement is nearly always needed. (see below the pink object center right with the teenie wires….)
As a result,. the technology is solid, early and able to be repaired today. Several parts suppliers have complicated the delivery time (pun intended) of watch parts…
for our greensboro, nc customers,.. some remember a jeweler’s and watch supply business; S. LaRose near the corner of Cone and Summit. They closed the business and when attending the liquidation sale I witnessed the auction of Pallets of parts that were simply tossed into the huge container. Many of those parts were purchased by other supply houses and likely took until now to be inventoried to be sold to watchmakers. The parts houses are dwindling and the parts are harder and harder to not only find,. but to ship in a timely manner. After all,. how long would you really look for a $12 part?
The net effect is watchmakers are at the mercy of not only parts houses but what I refer to as Nazi-Brand-Manufacturers. You see, watch manufacturers are controlling distribution of their product and holding hostage those distributors to service customers at the Manufacturer (Mfr) level. Our watch maker told me recently that a Mfr now demands a $2,000 “deposit to do an “estimate of repair” that applies to the total repair charge once the customer “agrees” to the repair. If the customer chooses not to repair the watch,.. guess what? The charge for the “estimate” is ,… you guessed it: $2,000 ! (but that includes return shipping-how magnanimous an effort :-p
At Diadem Jewelers we’ve been forced to do something that I thought we would never have to do: Tell the customer we give (what we consider) horrible service on outside vendor watch repairs: (the following text is given to every watch repair customer that hopefully helps understand the problems we experience: )
What to expect and when DIADEM JEWELERS serves you:
Even the most basic watch is an incredibly intricate machine with dozens of tiny moving parts and prone to develop problems. It is our pleasure to help with your watch repair!
When you trust your watch to us, we endeavor to maintain the same level of professional expertise and excellent service in watch repair, as we do in every other area of our business. Therefore, a good watch maker, like ours, must possess years of experience and knowledge, a highly technical skill set and many specialized tools in order to perform even the most routine cleaning and maintenance tasks.
In Store Repairs:
Almost all watch battery replacements, and most hand, numeral, or dial re-attachments are handled in store and can typically be completed either
while you wait or on the same day. If parts must be ordered, even battery changes,can take 7-14 business days to complete. [ ]
Repairs that cannot be done in store, like battery replacements on some higher end Swiss watches stem, crown, or crystal replacements, and any
service on mechanical or automatic watches, are accomplished off-site by our watchmaker. [ ]
Since these repairs are not handled in our store or by our staff:
Delivery times are not within our control. [ ]
Most jobs require a no cost estimate by our watchmaker before any work is performed. Estimates often take 14 – 21 business days. [ ]
Almost all watches are made overseas, which makes parts supply erratic and unreliable. [ ]
After approval, please prepare for a minimum of 6 weeks, possibly up to 6 months for repairs to be completed. Unfortunately, some may take up to a year or longer. [ ]
Stem, crown and crystal replacements are often finished in 14 – 21 business days but can take up to 6 – 8 weeks, if parts must be ordered. [ ]
After parts are installed, repairs often require much testing and adjustment. During this phase of service, several weeks can be necessary. [ ]
Despite these unreasonably long repair times, we will inform you of the status of your repair every two weeks, regardless of any change or no change in the status of your repair.
Diadem Jewelers • 2130-P New Garden Road, Greensboro, NC 27410 • www.royaldiadem.com • 336-288-7211
It not only seems ridiculous,… it IS RIDICULOUS! We find ourselves in an embarrassing position that there is no resolution for. So,. we choose to clearly inform our dear customers on the front end.