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Question Box- How Many Watches Per Day?

From Horology magazine, September1937

How Many Watches Per Day?

Dear Sir:
I would appreciate very much your answering the following questions either direct or through your question box.
How many watches should a good watchmaker be able to turn out in a day, as an average?
What is a reasonacble percentage of come-backs over a period of a year?
W. R. K.

Answer: To answer these questions with a definite figure is no more possible than to tell how long it will take to put a certain watch in good order on the strength of the price quoted. In the first place, it would be necessary to define the term "good watchmaker." How many of the 100,000 watchmakers in the United States claim to be inferior? Even the man whose bench is surrounded by rusty revolvers and antiquated cameras, in a Main Street pawn shop, proudly displays his slogan "expert watch repairing." The Horological Institute of America, for instance, is an authority passing on the grade of workmanship. But, efficiency does not depend entirely on the skill exhibited in an examination watch when practically unlimited time is granted for executing the job.

Horology challenges assertions frequently made that this or that firm does not pay for, or does not allow, the use of a slide-rest, pivot polisher or similar instruments. These are all labor saving devices and no one practicing horology with only a few screw-drivers and tweezers can ever hope to compete, either in quality or quantity, with the horologist who commands a good set of tools. The fact that a number of us still keep our slide-rests in the original canvas bags proves that we have not as yet learned how to use them.

Another factor in the efficiency of a watch repair shop is the actual location of the work shop. It will be found that the proprietor of the average jewelry store will go to almost any amount of trouble to place the jewelry repairers in the choicest part of the store, but for the watch repair department he ill allot some useless corner or a stuffy balcony.

Such an employer has only the right to ask his watchmakers how many jobs they can produce under the most unfavorable conditions.

Even after considering the ability of the individual workman, his equipment and general working conditions, the important subject of material is to be reckoned with. Any employer who expects a great volume of work from his employees should be prepared to provide the shop with a modern and systematically arranged material department. Putting a job aside until a mainspring, staff or jewel arrives from the material house or fishing for a crown or stem in a mixture of odds and ends does not constitute efficiency.

In a like manner the percentage of come-backs will depend on conditions already mentioned.  A skilled workman with modern equipment working in an ideal shop with a good stock of material at his disposal, will have less come-backs.

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