Pre-owned watches can be a hazard zone with many timepieces on the market in desperate need of a thorough service. One pre-owned watch retailer leading the charge to counteract such concerns is Watchfinder, which has blossomed in the UK – and into France – over the past 12 months with an array of pre-owned quartz and mechanical models from brands such including Van Cleef, Rolex, IWC and Vacheron Constantin.
Watchfinder has invested more than £100,000 in its in-house service centre and hopes to open a space comparable to a manufacturer’s service centre early next year. Currently, the majority of Watchfinder’s servicing is carried out by the brands themselves or authorised repair centres.
“We currently hold servicing accounts with Swatch Group and LVMH and have recruited two very experienced and highly regarded watchmakers to bring other manufacturers on board allowing us to bring a large volume of Watchfinder’s servicing work in house,” explains Watchfinder co-director Matt Bowling. “By the middle of 2013 we expect to have added another four watchmakers and almost eliminated the need to outsource servicing work.”
Bowling and his sales team recommend a “little and often” approach to servicing to stave off issues such as movements drying out or case seals deteriorating. One of the reasons why Watchfinder is aiming to bring most of its servicing largely in-house is to enable it to keep abreast of all lead times on servicing. “Manufacturer lead times vary from two weeks to over three months which can take some explaining but most watch owners appreciate the nature of the work and understand it’s better to get it done right than get it done quickly,” he says. “So long as the customers know what’s happening they’re prepared to put up with it. As more of our servicing work is brought in house we expect to be able to reduce the time taken to a minimum.”
As an added bonus, Watchfinder is set to offer lifetime warranties, starting in the new year, on all its pre-owned watches. This warranty will include a free maintenance service every two years. “So far as I’m aware this will be the only warranty of its kind for mechanical watches,” Bowling adds.
This article was taken from the December 2012 issue of WatchPro magazine. To read a digital version of the issue click here.