Why we don’t polish watch cases

Firstly, happy New Year from us at Watchguy.co.uk! We hope that you had a good party, and that you have recovered well 😉

We get a lot of requests for case polishing, and we know that most manufacturers and watchmakers polish the cases of the watches they service. We believe that that’s a very bad idea indeed…

If you polish a watch case, you have to sand the case down to the deepest scratch first. This can easily be 1/10mm or more… Once that is done, you polish the case, and remove more material. Continue reading

We’ve changed our booking system

Dear Readers and Customers,

We used to operate a booking system that made our customers go to a booking page at a certain date and time, to try their luck to grab one of the slots we were giving out. As fair as the system was, it did lead to frustration on the side of our customers, and to watches ending up in our workshop that we usually wouldn’t have accepted.

To make the whole process a bit less onerous, we now have a booking page that is always accessible (https://watchguy.co.uk/cgi-bin/book), so there is no more waiting. Once you have submitted your request, we will answer within 2 working days with a positive or negative response. This decision will be based on our judgement, e.g. can we carry out the repair (if parts aren’t available, we can’t), do we want to carry out the work (we both have children to feed), and do we have enough capacity at the workshop.

Please don’t be offended if we refuse to take on a watch, as we do get quite a lot more requests than we can handle in the workshop.

Let’s see how the new system pans out, and what feedback we get. We can always go back to the old system if this leads to more frustration.

New kid on the block: openmovement

We are all familiar with various movement manufacturers, and how the watch industry is split into companies that use in-house movements, and those that use “off-the-peg” movements.

The in-house area isn’t that well defined, as lots of manufacturers claim to have their own calibres, but use standard movements (usually ETA), that they claim to have modified. These modifications range from nothing at all to having each component reworked by Swiss virgins during full moon (that is a slight exaggeration, but some of the claims are fairly hard to believe). For the watch buyer, this is a cloak-and-dagger operation, made to confuse buyers and to make them believe that they are buying a watch with a true in-house movement. It’s all about the movement value to watch price relation, and the cloak-and-dagger boys flog their watches for 20 to 30 times movement value without blinking. You know who I’m talking about … Continue reading

Service Breguet XX (20) / Valjoux 225

p1030146We have settled into our fabulous new workshop, and are very happy with the new environment…

Andrew sent us his Breguet XX, as the hour recorder wasn’t working. The second and minute recorders work fine, but the hour recorder just won’t budge…

The Breguet XX was developed after the war, and was issued to the French Air Force. The Vajoux 225 movement is based on the Valjoux 22, which doesn’t have an hour recorder, so that was added to the bottom plate for the 225.

Continue reading

Swatch Group – the Saga continues

As most of you will be aware of, the Swatch Group cut off parts supply to all independent watchmakers as of 1/1/2016. You, our customers, are now in the hands of Swatch Group when parts will eventually run out, and you won’t have the option any more to choose who will repair or service your watch. It’s either Swatch Group approved, or nothing.

The good news is that the independent trade isn’t taking this lying down, and Cousins (our parts supplier), is going to court. There is a news bulletin on this here.

We at WatchGuy have been involved in the process, and wish Anthony success in the court action against Swatch Group.

Original mainsprings

P1020104We try to fit a new mainspring in every movement we service, unless we can’t find anything that fits.

Often, customers request to have an original mainspring fitted, and we do of course comply if we can find one. Otherwise, we fit Générale Ressorts Swiss mainsprings, which cost half to 1/4 of the price of an original. Now have a look what comes out of an original Omega mainspring packet (click on the photo above to enlarge)  😉

Review: STP 1-11

P1010838Since the Swatch Group had decided to bite its nose off to spite its face, e.g. not to supply parts and movements outside the Swatch Group, ETA has been bearing most of the brunt. From the most important movement manufacturer, it will soon be relegated to be a small company making movements for the Swatch Group only.

If I were working at ETA, I would be furious about being almost destroyed. That aside, everyone who has in the past been using ETA movements for their watches now has to look somewhere else. One of the new players in the market are STP, who are based in the Italian speaking part of Switzerland, in Manno.

Carlos from the Prometheus Watch Company in Portugal is looking for an ETA replacement, and wanted me to have a look at the STP 1-11, which is a direct copy of the ETA 2824-2. As the design for the movement isn’t copyrighted any more, everyone can produce a copy. So let’s see … Continue reading