Classic watches, watchmaking, antique tools, history, vintage ephemera and more!

Learn about mechanical timepieces and how they work, the history of the American watch industry and especially all about the Elgin National Watch Company! Check back for new content daily.

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Briefly, on Watch Service and Jewelry Shops

Many people that contact me would prefer to take their watch to a local shop for service. If they do have a good local watchmaker, that's one thing. But taking your watch to a typical, random chain retail jeweler at the mall is probably not a good idea.

Jewelers and watchmakers have a traditional relationship. But today, it's only that, a tradition. There is no practical reason for them to be associated. Long ago, jewelry stores all had a watchmaker right there on staff. Long ago, gas stations all had a good mechanic too. Today, few jewelry shops actually employ a watchmaker on site, much less one skilled in vintage pieces, so it pays to ask!

Most jewelers will take in watches for repair, but they actually send them out, by mail, to an independent watchmaker who does jobs for several jewelers. This means that customers that did not want to ship their watch, get it shipped anyway. Also these customers never get to communicate directly with the person that works on their watch, and they pay extra for the middleman - the retail jeweler.

There are many good watchmakers in shops of their own, and working in jewelry shops - in fact this may be making a come back. But when looking for watch service, it pays to ask who will be doing the work!

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