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Thread: Terrible repair service - watchmaker or butcher? What should I do?

  1. #1
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    Terrible repair service - watchmaker or butcher? What should I do?

    Having searched various forums I sent my beloved Zenith off to have a repair (the hour hand had come loose after a fall) using a repairer that plenty of people had said offer a great service. A day after I got it back I noticed that the rotor wasn't turning and to my horror found two screws jamming it.

    I contacted the repairer who has so far denied that loose screws floating around the mechanism would be his responsibility since I didn't have a full service. He has agreed to 'have a look at it' if I send it back at my own expense.

    Can anyone advise whether there's any reasonable explanation for it coming back in this state or do I reject any excuses about it not being his responsibility? I assume the mechanism had to come out of the case and that the screws are something to do with that. Can anyone identify the likely home for the screws?

    I've avoided naming the repairer in case it's genuinely not their fault (although I can't see how that could be) but will take great pleasure in warning everyone about my experience if the situations isn't resolved fully and fairly.



    [IMG]

    Watch-repair-2 by Dave Alexander, on Flickr[/IMG]

  2. #2
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    Wow, well the first thought that pops into my head is that a thorough check of work he HAS carried out should have spotted that. I mean, obviously opening of the watch case was required to meddle with the insides as part of the repair, the chances that it was all put back together, wound and checked all is well over a period of time and finally packaged up and shipped out to the customer where the screws will have then undone themselves in transit? You are right to be suspicious, I would be fuming.

  3. #3
    Good grief, they are not even tiny little things, more like bloody great bolts. Anyone recognise what part of the movement they could be off.

  4. #4
    Master dkpw's Avatar
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    It's clearly the repairer's fault.... or you've opened up your own expensive chronograph and dropped two screws into the movement to sully his reputation.
    I think we can all determine the source of the problem.

    Be as forceful as you can and demand a refund. Then take the watch elsewhere.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dkpw View Post
    Be as forceful as you can and demand a refund. Then take the watch elsewhere.
    This. I wouldn't want the guy anywhere near it again.

  6. #6
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    Am gutted for you - I would be livid


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  7. #7
    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    Regardless of whether he did a full service or not I think a name and shame is in order because even Stevie Wonder would have spotted those screws jammed under the case back.

    Is Chealwatch still going?

  8. #8
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    Wow, they are big screws! You do wonder how they were missed....

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    Regardless of whether he did a full service or not I think a name and shame is in order because even Stevie Wonder would have spotted those screws jammed under the case back.

    Is Chealwatch still going?
    I agree with this. Full service or not, once you open the case, 2 screws loose like this would have been obvious, he is trying to pull a fast one.

  10. #10
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    Does the movement wobble when you shake the case?
    In my VERY limited experience, they look like movement holder. In which case, 100% his fault.

  11. #11
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    Yeah even to have hands sorted out the watchmaker still needs to open the case back up right?!
    How can he possibly deny this!
    Even with such attitude of the watchmaker, I'd be tempted to name him.
    Someone has to be at fault so whoever messed with it last

  12. #12
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    Have a close look in the back of the watch (around the edges especially) and see if you can see two little plates with holes in them. They could be the screws and clamps that hold the movement still in the case. They would have been undone to lift the movement out of the case to sort the hand. They can sometimes work themselves loose over time, but both together is odd. It could be that they were not tightened correctly when refitted??
    If you were near Edinburgh I would have looked at it for you.

  13. #13
    Butcher, given the attitude after the terrible work. An honest mistake it does not sound like. Name and shame.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by daveandmairi View Post

    I contacted the repairer who has so far denied that loose screws floating around the mechanism would be his responsibility since I didn't have a full service. He has agreed to 'have a look at it' if I send it back at my own expense.
    I think on that response alone the 'repairer' should be named.

  15. #15
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    I'd be angry if I had a £60 Seiko come back in that condition from a repairer, hope you'll keep us posted on the outcome.

  16. #16
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    Somethingís strange about that photo. Iíve experienced watches with loose screws but Iíve never seen two screws positioned so neatly and symmetrically between the rotor and the caseback.

    Strange, very strange. Call me a cynic but I itís an incredible coincidence that theose screws have positioned themselves in that orientation.

    For the record, I am NOT the repairer involved.

    Paul

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Somethingís strange about that photo. Iíve experienced watches with loose screws but Iíve never seen two screws positioned so neatly and symmetrically between the rotor and the caseback.

    Strange, very strange. Call me a cynic but I itís an incredible coincidence that theose screws have positioned themselves in that orientation.

    For the record, I am NOT the repairer involved.

    Paul
    What? They're not even close to being symmetrical. Are you seriously saying they may have been placed like that on purpose?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisparker View Post
    I think on that response alone the 'repairer' should be named.
    too right, so no-one here uses them.

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  19. #19
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    Your first post Hello! You should name and shame them but they may have already been shamed here and given the pictures I would not send it back to them. There are some well recommended repairers here and you would be much better off using them and paying twice than to have to have these boneheads really screw the movement up.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Somethingís strange about that photo. Iíve experienced watches with loose screws but Iíve never seen two screws positioned so neatly and symmetrically between the rotor and the caseback.

    Strange, very strange. Call me a cynic but I itís an incredible coincidence that theose screws have positioned themselves in that orientation.

    For the record, I am NOT the repairer involved.

    Paul
    Exactly what I was thinking.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Somethingís strange about that photo. Iíve experienced watches with loose screws but Iíve never seen two screws positioned so neatly and symmetrically between the rotor and the caseback.

    Strange, very strange. Call me a cynic but I itís an incredible coincidence that theose screws have positioned themselves in that orientation.

    For the record, I am NOT the repairer involved.

    Paul
    Must admit it was the first thing I thought, whatís the chances of getting them both like that. I guess itís possible it was being worn and they both made their way to the case back below the rotor, Watch was turned over and they sat there.

    Screws look an interesting length and thread too, maybe dial feet securing screws but the pitch of the thread looks wrong for metal to metal.

    What does the front of the Watch look like? Itís possible the bezel and crystal may come off and the repairer went in through the front of the Watch, refitted the hand (as requested) and though it was done. Maybe the screws were from the fall you caused and have worked their way out.

    It seems highly unlikely screws would have come out after a fall but I also canít think where they came from if the watchmaker just attached the hand.

    If he went in through the back and removed the movement that way itís possible they are movement retainer screws but a watchmaker would undo them and place them on his parts tray, remove the movement and do the hand, then refit the movement & one by one fit the screws offering them over with tweezers and screwing down. If heíd just left them floating loose in there the only way he could have done that is do the hand repair, put the movement in and then just chuck the screws into the case (which isnít going to happen)

    Strange.

    Youíd also expect if heíd undone screws like that for movement retaining his response wouldnít be one of ďnothing to do with meĒ as heíd go through in his head what he did and think maybe he started the retaining screws in their holes and forgot to do them up and theyíve since fallen out.

    Be interesting to hear from the watchmaker. Could be an honest mistake but I donít get the denial part, Iíd just want it back straight away to sort. Iím assuming you sent the picture to him?

  22. #22
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    Nope,
    Not believable.

    BTW welcome.
    Sent from My etch a sketch

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by jameswrx View Post
    Must admit it was the first thing I thought, whatís the chances of getting them both like that. I guess itís possible it was being worn and they both made their way to the case back below the rotor, Watch was turned over and they sat there.

    It seems highly unlikely screws would have come out after a fall but I also canít think where they came from if the watchmaker just attached the hand.

    ...think maybe he started the retaining screws in their holes and forgot to do them up and theyíve since fallen out.
    Whilst emphasising that I'm not at all qualified to say, if I were to take a guess, and provide the OP with benefit of the doubt, I'd say this is the likeliest cause.

    The screws look of a size, length & identical nature that I'd well believe they were the screws that hold the movement to the holder/case.

    Thinking about it logically, if the watchmaker just did a simple hand fix - and not a full service, as they have indeed used as their defence - then I'd guess the only screws they would have had call to remove would be the case back screws, and the movement holding screws, just pulling the crown stem fully out to get at the dial and the loose hand.

    To hazard a guess, it looks like they placed the screws in position with tweezers and got interrupted, or went for a break, failing to recall they hadn't been screwed down upon their return, and just affixed the case back. I can't see how they would otherwise have worked their way free - one, maybe, but not both at the same time.

    As regards the questioned neat, almost-symmetry of the screw placement, I do agree they are oddly placed, and being the cynic that I am, a first-time post is often the calling-card of a troll.

    However, I think it's genuine. The second image is not showing correctly for me, but if you flick into the OP's photo album, the one that hasn't been displayed properly shows the screws aren't totally symmetrical in placement.

    Further, I don't think a troll would have a link to a plausible-looking public album, with their name on it. They might, but it's a lot of effort (or stupidity).

    Finally, in this scenario, wouldn't the screws indeed be most likely to fall out & down during dial-up wear on the wrist/storage, from their circumference placing, and land on the sapphire case back, as opposed to lodging elsewhere in the movement? The OP did say they had jammed the rotor, which might explain why they have been so neatly affixed where they have. Also, look at the wider screw heads - it does look like the thinner screw shafts have cleared the small gap between rotor and sapphire, whereas the wider screw-heads have not been able to, thus jamming just outside the rotor' edge, as you would indeed expect.

    Seems genuine to me, and careless workmanship. How many stories have we heard about tyre-fitters not correctly torquing wheel nuts on cars? Similar scenario.

  24. #24
    Master Glen Goyne's Avatar
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    Canít see the pics but even if the screws are not involved with the work performed any watchmaker seeing this should have either solved this or brought it to your attention. You donít ship or run a watch with loose screws.

  25. #25
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    This does feel like the latest incarnation of the "got food poisoining on holiday" scam, BUT it could happen given total ineptitude on the part of the watch repair person. Would be interested to know more.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Somethingís strange about that photo. Iíve experienced watches with loose screws but Iíve never seen two screws positioned so neatly and symmetrically between the rotor and the caseback.

    Strange, very strange. Call me a cynic but I itís an incredible coincidence that theose screws have positioned themselves in that orientation.

    For the record, I am NOT the repairer involved.

    Paul

    From a purely mechanical point of view I'd disagree, that looks to exactly how the screws could fall if the heads were too large for them to move between the rotor and the glass caseback - the threaded shanks could fall between rotor/glass under gravity and be stopped by the heads then become jammed under rotation. I'd give OP the benefit of doubt especially as it looks like they would have been removed as part of the repair and the repairer in question has been so hostile from the off rather than offer to deal with it properly

  27. #27
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    For the record, it wasn't that particular repairer

    Quote Originally Posted by Onelasttime View Post
    Regardless of whether he did a full service or not I think a name and shame is in order because even Stevie Wonder would have spotted those screws jammed under the case back.

    Is Chealwatch still going?

  28. #28
    Master Thewatchbloke's Avatar
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    Does the movement feel loose when you pull the crown to the set positions, ie does it move a little in the case? If so I'd say they're the movement clamp screws that haven't been replaced correctly. However they look too long to be the usual type of movement clamp screws I'd expect to find, however I'm not sure of the movement holding system for a Zenith Grande Class El Primero so it could be a system that needs longer screws.

  29. #29
    Its a good job this guy is a supposedly watchmaker and not a surgeon. Deary me, you assume these people are professionals and know what they are doing

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevecross View Post
    Its a good job this guy is a supposedly watchmaker and not a surgeon. Deary me, you assume these people are professionals and know what they are doing
    Oh i don't know

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england...ngham-42663518

  31. #31
    Master aldfort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    Nope,
    Not believable.

    BTW welcome.
    Tend to agree.

  32. #32
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    Not believable?

    Quote Originally Posted by aldfort View Post
    Tend to agree.
    Not sure what you mean. Do you mean it's unbelievable that a repairer could do this, or that you think it's not a real situation?

    Either way, I am delighted that so many people have confirmed my initial thoughts that this is totally out of order. The fact that some posters think I'm making it up is even stronger confirmation that I have a right to demand an appropriate response from the repairer. I'm going to invite him to view this thread and give his comments. I will let you all know how I get on.

  33. #33
    Grand Master number2's Avatar
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    1) Odd that you haven't named the repairer.
    2) In your opening "roll of the dice" you say the screws were 'jammed in', yet they are sat on the rotor,
    3) Very few watches have enough space between the rotor and case back to put screws on the rotor then refit the case back,
    4) Your 'prose' has a familiar ring to it, I suspect that you'll start getting shirty with folk here fairly quickly,
    Sent from My etch a sketch

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thewatchbloke View Post
    Does the movement feel loose when you pull the crown to the set positions, ie does it move a little in the case? If so I'd say they're the movement clamp screws that haven't been replaced correctly. However they look too long to be the usual type of movement clamp screws I'd expect to find, however I'm not sure of the movement holding system for a Zenith Grande Class El Primero so it could be a system that needs longer screws.
    No, nothing seems to be moving around. I'm not shaking it vigorously though as I don't want either screw to dislodge and disappear into the mechanism.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    1) Odd that you haven't named the repairer.
    2) In your opening "roll of the dice" you say the screws were 'jammed in', yet they are sat on the rotor,
    3) Very few watches have enough space between the rotor and case back to put screws on the rotor then refit the case back,
    4) Your 'prose' has a familiar ring to it, I suspect that you'll start getting shirty with folk here fairly quickly,

    I appreciate your interest even if it's not particularly clear what you mean.
    1) I didn't name the repairer because I wanted to know if I was right in being unhappy with his response before deciding what to do next.
    2) They are stuck between the rotor and the glass. Not sure how better to explain it. Nothing is moving.
    3) I don't think for a moment that the screws were placed there and then the back refitted. I assume they have not been tightened properly, came loose and lodged there when I wore the watch.
    4) I have no idea what this means. I might get shirty if everyone posted comments like yours but thankfully most are straightforward and helpful.

    Sorry if you think I'm doing this for a laugh or just to wind people up (no pun intended) but I'm not.

  36. #36
    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by number2 View Post
    1) Odd that you haven't named the repairer.
    2) In your opening "roll of the dice" you say the screws were 'jammed in', yet they are sat on the rotor,
    3) Very few watches have enough space between the rotor and case back to put screws on the rotor then refit the case back,
    4) Your 'prose' has a familiar ring to it, I suspect that you'll start getting shirty with folk here fairly quickly,
    I had the exact same thing happen with a brand new Bremont a few months ago (with only 1 screw though). Why is it so unbelievable?

  37. #37
    Where is the repairer situated? Dubai or the UK?





    Nice photos!



    Mitch

  38. #38
    I am no expert, but these are very long screws. I wonder if they actually are Zenith movement screws.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch View Post
    Where is the repairer situated? Dubai or the UK?





    Nice photos!



    Mitch
    Thanks :c) They are in the UK.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Normunds View Post
    I am no expert, but these are very long screws. I wonder if they actually are Zenith movement screws.
    They are pretty small compared to the thickness of the case.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by daveandmairi View Post
    They are pretty small compared to the thickness of the case.
    still, there have to be what, 4mm clearance for them to come out of their place, not? I'd understand something like 2mm long screw, but these are huge.

  42. #42
    Grand Master
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    I think that was probably your aim all along and that's why you've joined this forum. By generating this thread you could potentially threaten to name the repairer if he doesn’t co-operate.

    Basically, your watch needs to go back to the repairer and at this stage he's expecting you to pay the return postage. He's reminded you that you didn`t have the watch fully serviced. Whether this is reasonable or not is open to debate, but I think your time would've been spent more productively by getting the watch back to the repairer without delay.

    Many repairers do read the forums, and repairers do communicate with each other. I`m on the fringe of the repair trade, I don`t do it to make a living, but believe me it's a small world. It's quite possible your guy has already seen this thread.

    I`ve just checked the parts list for the El Primero movement and I can`t see a pair of screws that match your picture. I`ve checked my own photos taken when I stripped one down, and I can`t see a pair of screws that match. On that basis they have to be the case clamp screws, but they're totally different to the ones in my El Primero (I`ve just taken the back off to check), so I can only assume the design on this model is different from my own. Assuming they are the case screws the case clamps have to be somewhere in there too, but they're fairly big and easy to find.

    Get it sent back and pay the postage. The repairer will check the watch to confirm it's running OK, replacing the screws in their rightful place. You've been exceptionally lucky that the screws haven`t become fouled up in the movement, potentially causing damage. Strongly advise you not to run the watch until it's fixed.

    I`ve had watches sent to me where the case clamp screws have come loose but I`ve never seen them positioned like these and that's why I stated that the photo looked strange; apologies for sounding like I was casting doubt.

    Paul
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 14th January 2018 at 01:22.

  43. #43
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    Are those not the screws that secure the bezel on the case from the inside?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    I think that was probably your aim all along and that's why you've joined this forum. By generating this thread you could potentially threaten to name the repairer if he doesnít co-operate.
    I think youíve hit the nail on the head there. No one really needs a second opinion on whether their watch should come back from the repairers with two screws floating about

  45. #45
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    Do we know for definite a repair like this, a hand reset, would involve removal of the movement? I know in many cases it would, other than front loaders I guess, but if the work was done by removing the glass only then the repairer would have a point in suggesting any movement issues were not his problem. Let’s remember that this was not a full service, merely a hand refit. I may be clutching at straws a little but we haven’t heard the full story, just one half.

    Repairers make mistakes, even the big boys. I had to return a Speedmaster to STS twice after a service before it ran right. Inconvenient certainly but I didn’t feel the urge to light a torch and grab the pitchfork. Now I think about it, I paid the postage so perhaps I should have!
    Last edited by Padders; 14th January 2018 at 11:44.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by mjc1216 View Post
    And I second that. My brother in law had a botched up hernia operation which left him seriously ill. It was unbelievable what the original surgeon had done so I have no doubt a watch repairer could make a mistake like this.

    Sent from my SM-T520 using Tapatalk

  47. #47
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    These screws look awfully long for any use in a watch movement?

  48. #48
    Master Neilw3030's Avatar
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    Had a good look at a parts breakdown and I canít see screws similar to these, is there enough room between the rotor and case back for these to fall into? If so surely they would fall out easily also.http://www.awci.com/wp-content/uploa...th/3019PHC.pdf

  49. #49
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    These screws didnít come from the movement. My El Primero is v. similar the the OPís except that itís older (1999) and a couple of mm smaller, otherwise itís the same design. The bezel on mine isnít held from inside the case using screws, if it was Iím sure Iíd remember because itís an unusual way to assemble a watch. Possibly Zenith have changed the design for the bigger case?

    The repairer needs to get this back on his bench to get to the bottom of this problem, of that thereís no doubt.

    Hopefully the OP will update us all on progress, and to enlighten the technically- minded folks as to exactly where the screws came from.

    Paul

  50. #50
    I am dubious about the whole thing. Those screws are long, yes they may fit in the movement when screwed in but how could they unscrew themselves enough to fall out? That would require an additional distance at least equal to their length and I very much doubt there is that much space in the movement and the case.

    Therefore they would have to be in that position already when the back was put on. Now a person may be careless but it would be impossible to miss that, so it would have to be deliberate by whoever replaced the back.




    Mitch

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