A Ben Bridge watchmaker inspects a luxury watch movement. A Ben Bridge watchmaker inspects a luxury watch movement. A Ben Bridge watchmaker inspects a luxury watch movement.

If you love your watch, you probably know how nerve-wracking it can be to put it in someone else’s hands when a repair is needed. How long will you have to go without your beloved timepiece? How bad is the problem? Most importantly, how good is the watchmaker? 

The truth is, not all watchmakers are created equal. You need to have absolute trust in the person taking the back off your watch. Once you fill out the work order and drop your watch off for repair, it should come back to you running like new. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. When corners are cut during repairs, the life of your watch and its value could take a big hit. 

But don't stress! Your Personal Jewelers are here to help. We spoke to our lead watchmakers about some of the questions you should ask before leaving your watch with someone. 

A watchmaker at his desk working on a complex luxury watch movement.

Are the Watchmakers Certified to Work on Your Brand? 

Watch movements are incredible little engines. Many of the most renowned mechanical movements have been improved upon and perfected over the course of a century or more. Every added complication beyond timekeeping requires more moving parts working intricately in harmony. 

The top luxury brands have carefully developed proprietary movements in-house. These brands also have their own certification process to ensure the people they authorize to service their watches possess the right knowledge and expertise. For watchmakers, getting certified by a premium brand requires thousands of hours of education and hands-on work. 

One of the first questions you should ask when scheduling a repair is whether the person servicing your watch is certified through the manufacturer. When you bring your watch to Ben Bridge for repairs, the job will be assigned to one of our experienced watchmakers who is certified to work on your watch. 

Where Will Your Watch Be Serviced? 

You deserve full transparency when it comes to knowing exactly where your watch will end up. Will it be serviced in-house or sent to a third party? 

At Ben Bridge, you’ll know exactly where your watch is being worked on. We’ll service your watch in-store or have it securely shipped to our state-of-the-art watchmaking facility in our downtown Seattle headquarters. In some cases, we may send your timepiece back to the manufacturer for repairs, but you’ll always know where your watch is going and rest easy knowing it is in capable hands. 

Other watchmakers could end up sending your watch to a third party without your knowledge. That leaves you with no way of knowing if your timepiece is being serviced to manufacturer standards in a carefully controlled and clean environment. 

Will Genuine Parts be Used for Repairs? 

Be sure to ask specifically if a watchmaker you are considering will use genuine replacement parts for repairs. You want to be certain the watchmaker you work with isn’t using unsanctioned parts. In a worse-case scenario, you could end up having your movement swapped out with a low-cost alternative. They could be doing this to save money, or because the shop doesn’t have access to the right parts. Either way, using the wrong parts will have a negative impact on the operation, lifespan and value of your watch.

At Ben Bridge, we’ve been building relationships with the top watch brands for over 100 years. That experience has allowed us to keep genuine manufacturer parts in stock. If you’re looking to keep your watch in original condition, drop by your local store and speak with one of our Personal Jewelers.

Luxury watch with a broken crystal. Luxury watch with a broken crystal. Luxury watch with a broken crystal.

Know How to Spot the Red Flags 

Before you leave your watch with a repair or service shop, it’s important to know how to spot some of the warning signs that you may not be getting the level of service you expect and deserve.  

Price: If the cost of your service seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. If someone’s cutting rates well below industry standards, you can also bet they’re cutting a few corners as well. Skilled watchmakers spend years learning and honing their craft. It’s only fair that you should expect to pay a fair market price for that expertise. 

The Quick Fix: Be wary of any watchmaker who promises an instant fix. A full service requires taking the entire watch and movement apart, doing a thorough inspection and replacing any parts that are worn or broken. When repairs are needed, a good watchmaker will need to source the right parts. Don’t be surprised if the time estimate for your repair is several weeks. Quality work just takes time and is well worth the wait. 

Organization: Watchmakers work in extremely clean environments where temperature, humidity and dust are all meticulously controlled. You should ask to see the area where your watch is going to be serviced, or be able to view photos if it’s going to be sent off-site. The smallest bit of moisture, dust or debris getting into your movement can cause big problems. 

Why You Should Choose Ben Bridge for All Your Watch Repair Needs 

At Ben Bridge, we are incredibly proud of our watchmaking team. We have 30 watchmakers on staff with over 430 years of combined experience. Our watchmakers have spent thousands of hours earning industry certifications and becoming certified to service most major luxury brands. 

People who love luxury watches know that relationships and trust are paramount. Our Personal Jewelers are proud to build relationships with customers that last from their first watch purchase to their long-awaited dream watch. We will be there for you throughout the life of your watch to provide world class service and the highest quality repairs.