“Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.” – Confucius

Watch wellness

We already discussed that outstanding service, an exclusive setting and highly educated staff is not enough in the luxury sector. The higher the number on the price tag, the more the customer wishes to know that they made the right decision and enjoy the shopping experience and feel that they received something beyond a beautiful object… Recently I encountered an increasing number of complaints on social media platforms; customers are far from satisfied with the watch after sales services of a few brands and distributors. This can be pretty annoying on every level but it should be impermissible in the luxury sector.

In this sector the customer purchases not just a product, but long-term services, and a piece of the brand itself. Furthermore these goods are destined to be inherited. Somehow, as Patek Philippe described in their 2013 campaign, emphasizing the timelessness and exclusivity of the brand: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe, you merely look after it for the next generation.”
What do you need then to “conserve” what you bought? A good service “après-vente”, certainly.

In the last week of January Les Ambassadeurs, the multi-brand store proud of its after-sales services, dedicated an entire event to this in Zurich. Espace Connaisseur, their regular event for customers and aficionados who like to immerse themselves in technical and artistic topics of haute-horlogerie, gave an insight this time into the work of Les Ambassadeurs’ own watchmakers on the after-sales department. Yet again, Timm Delfs, who is gifted with an entertaining diction even in highly technical subjects, explained the work phases and the tools of the after-sales service activities. He was accompanied by two experienced in-house watchmakers and together they showed what happens with the timepieces brought in for service behind the glass wall of the watchmaking room in the boutique.

In the after-sales unit watchmakers perform various repair works, including mending manual and automatic mechanisms and chronographs, replace parts, fix and set bands and straps, restore aging timepieces, polish, do water-proofing and other custom work.

There are examinations that can be carried out without opening up the watch. You can check the timekeeping of the watch, it can be anti-magnetized (useful, considering that we are surrounded by many electronic devices that have a significant affect) and the waterproofness of the watch can also be tested. Naturally the latter is tested without the watch actually being immersed in water. The pressure difference on the outside and inside of the watch lets experts decide whether water can infiltrate the watch mechanism. They can also check the power reserve and the amplitude while the watch remains closed, and of course readjust the folding-clasp buckle, if required.


There are other examinations and operations, which necessitate the opening of the timepiece. In itself, opening the watch requires expertise and appropriate tools, little knifes, small screwdrivers – waterproof watches require special openers. To work with these tiny mechanisms, you have to be able to see exactly what you’re doing. Therefore watchmakers have special loupes, lightweight glass magnifiers (5x or 10x), manufactured also with a headband attachment. In some cases they might need a microscope, with 40x magnification. The tools of watchmakers are very diverse; tiny brushes, calipers, burnishers and screwdrivers, all in different materials and sizes.

After opening, the mechanism is studied, and certain parts are replaced or oiled: this in itself contributes significantly to the life-time of the timepiece. Depending on the part, it is lubricated with different oils using different tools. Timepieces can be further examined by the so-called watch analyzer, a tool with various advanced measurement and test functions regarding beat numbers, beat errors, amplitudes, rates and more.

Their work is interesting and complex as the tasks of the Les Ambassadeurs’ masters are not restricted to a single work phase; on the contrary they are responsible for the entire watch that was handed in for servicing. In the case of certain problems (for example those in grand complications), or following the guidelines of particular brands, the watches are returned to the manufacturer for repair.

When buying a sports car, you want to make sure it’s well serviced, therefore you take it to the authorized service with technicians trained and educated to offer the best after-sales care. Timepieces are no different.


Photo credits: Loupiosity.com.
All registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.
All rights reserved.