Some of the most frequently asked questions.
Yes, but we have to see the watch first, or at least focused, well-lit pictures instead. However, once the dial or the balance cock are removed or the plates are separated for a closer look you'll be charged a $35 evaluation fee ($45 if photos are taken), although if you decide to have the repairs completed then that fee is put toward the invoice total.
Most of the prices are listed on the Prices page, but once your watch gets on the bench we can write you with a rough idea. There is a financial cut-off point for every piece, unless it's rare or has sentimental value, and if yours is close to crossing that line we will have a conversation about how far you wish to take the repair work.
We accept Paypal, personal and cashier's checks, money orders, and US cash only, and credit cards can be used through Paypal. Checks are always preferred since we're tired of Paypal taking a cut for every transaction, unless you want to make up the difference.
We primarily accept American pocket watches from the 1850s to the 1950s and certain high-grade Swiss pieces. See the Accepted Brands page for a full list of factories.
We also work on verge fusees, which are centuries old and were not built to run forever. Most are in very poor shape and parts are very difficult to find, so we try to concentrate our efforts on complete or exceptional examples. Visit the Fusees page for more.
Usually two to three weeks, depending on whether parts can be found or have to be fabricated, or if we're seriously backed up on the bench.
Simply write to us via the Contact page and make sure to send clear photos of the dial, a front and back view of the case, and the movement. When we get back to you we'll have a conversation regarding any visible issues, possible costs, and backlog delay.
If we agree to accept your watch, pack it very well in a small box with lots of padding, include a note with your contact information, and copy us on the tracking number. We'll send you an email upon reception with an initial impression and get it in queue.
We do not. We specialize in American-made pocket watches from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. We also do not work on music boxes, sewing machines, electric clocks, antique firearms, quartz watches, marine components, or anything battery powered.
We can if it's small enough to ship, such as a carriage or travel clock. The skill set is much the same for clocks but requires larger tooling, bigger ultrasonic tanks, and specific clamps to hold the movement, so we usually recommend someone who specializes in clocks of all sizes and styles.
1. There aren't enough hours in the day to restore every single watch, so our energies are focused on original, rare or exceptional pieces, so please ask first. We reserve the right to refuse any watch that will likely turn into a money pit or one that will be a disappointment for both parties. We may also refuse any customer who is overly rude, known to be a slow payer, or makes unreasonable or destructive demands, such as skeletonizing movements.
2. We only accept intact and cased movements. Bottom-feeding on eBay is the worst form of bargain hunting and nothing good will come of it except an expensive Frankenwatch, so we do not assemble watches by combining components from several movements. We also do not make or supply parts so they can be sent to the hobbyist that currently has your watch.
3. When the work is completed an invoice will be sent along with photos, and prompt payment is appreciated using Paypal, cash in USD, or personal or cashier's check. A reminder will be sent after 10 days and another after 20 days. If payment is not received after 30 days the piece will be considered abandoned and may be sold to recoup costs.
4. All returning watches will be shipped using cardboard boxes sized to fit most mailboxes, using plenty of padding, and double-boxed when appropriate. They will be shipped First Class with tracking via the US Postal Service, and insurance is up to the customer in either direction. Once your watch is in their hands it's out of ours, and should it arrived damaged or become lost in transit it is up to you to pursue restitution from the USPS.
5. We believe in the preservation of our history and keeping American heirlooms here at home in America.
6. We are strongly against those parasites who part out complete watches or melt gold cases for profit, so we will refuse service to any customer openly engaging in or knowingly giving patronage to anybody doing either of those appalling things.
7. The photographs posted here on the site are protected by intellectual property rights, and may not be uploaded, copied, or used elsewhere without permission. Any pictures of finished pieces sent as a courtesy have our watermark on them to discourage piracy. Learn how to take your own photos before stealing someone else's.
All customer information - name, mailing and email addresses, phone numbers, payment methods, and collecting preferences - is held in the strictest confidence.
Nothing will get shared with anyone else without your prior written or verbal consent.
Guarantees of a precise length are a little silly when it comes to antique watches, given how delicate they are and the fact that we cannot control their safety during shipping or after the customer receives it, but if your watch fails within a reasonable amount of time in the very rare event that we missed something we will of course make it right.
This implied warranty is void if:
Yes, all these things have happened shortly after the customer received the watch back, causing further damage and requiring a return trip for more work and a second invoice.
ASK before sending anything, if only to verify that we're not on vacation, flat on our backs with the Chinese flu, or so far behind that we're not accepting further work.
Do NOT ship your watch with a chain, fob, or strap attached. It can scratch the crystal or the case, and it adds to the boxed weight, costing more in shipping in both directions.
Do NOT ship your watch packed in confetti, sawdust, or shredded paper because someone has to sweep up that stuff after it spews all over the clean floor in the shop.
Do NOT ship your watch wrapped in layers of packing tape to the point where it has to sliced open with a razor. Whatever you pack at your end has to be unpacked at this end.
Do NOT write or call asking about status updates for your watch. There are always others in queue ahead of you and we will let you know when its turn on bench arrives and send you updates from that point on. Pestering the watchmaker will not make him work any faster.
Include a note inside the box with your contact info if you're a first-time customer.