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Thread: H L Brown - Doncaster - disappointing experience

  1. #1
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    H L Brown - Doncaster - disappointing experience

    Went into HL Brown in Doncaster this afternoon with a view to buying a £1k Longines and to have batteries fitted to my Rotary Reverso






    It has two separate movements, each requiring a battery. It isn't something I can do myself as the way the watch is put together the two crowns have to somehow be removed from the centre frame before the two cases can be opened, they come out frontwards, to get at the batteries. I've used Browns before and the watch has to be sent away so their charge of £15 has been reasonable in the past.

    So I thought, 'lets get the easy bit done first - put the Rotary in for batteries then look at and buy the Longines.

    Salesman, after a quick talk to, (I assume), the manager: "That'll be £70 sir"
    Me: "is that right? you charged me £15 last year"
    Salesman, looking across at the manager: "We have to send it away to an approved watchmaker sir"
    Me: "You did that last year and the cost was £15"
    Salesman: "Yes, but the watchmaker we used to use in Sheffield is no longer there so we have to send it to someone else and it's £70".
    Me: "Sorry, that's way too expensive, I'll take it home"

    Now I can appreciate that the cost may have gone up a bit, but from £15 to £70 to change 2 batteries, no service, just change 2 batteries? I think that's excessive in the extreme.

    Needless to say, I didn't even look at the Longines, and they didn't get the £1,000 I was going to spend with them.

    I'm a previous customer of long standing, but they've lost me as a customer now. I don't like to feel I'm being ripped off!

    Oh, and I went round to F Hinds around the corner and their charge, "we have to send it away sir" was £25. A huge difference.

    Rant over.
    Last edited by Griswold; 9th March 2019 at 16:26.
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  2. #2
    Master
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    Got my Sub ND from them & still waiting for the call for Hulk been nearly two years now?

  3. #3
    Craftsman
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    I bought my first big watch there for my 40th,a daytona, bad do,never again.

  4. #4
    Craftsman
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    I don’t even know how HL brown is in business beyond selling Rolex.

    Give Parker’s in hillsborough a call if you can get over to sheffield, they can most likely change the battery and it won’t cost a fortune.

  5. #5
    I’ve been in a few times to enquire about different watches,not very helpful.
    With it being a small company you’d think they’d be bending over backwards to help


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  6. #6
    Craftsman
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    Just take it to Donny market, bish bash bosh!

  7. #7
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    HL Browns for me where the first Rolex dealership I used and have always been professional and superb AD

  8. #8
    Journeyman
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    Is it really that bad a deal though when you consider insured postage x2 , materials , labour time , VAT.

    I really feel for small businesses these days.

  9. #9
    Journeyman TF23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DA56 View Post
    Is it really that bad a deal though when you consider insured postage x2 , materials , labour time , VAT.

    I really feel for small businesses these days.
    Well, considering the OP reports that a nearby jeweller would do the same for little more than a third of the price then, yes, it's a bad deal. They'd only do it at the lower price if they could make some profit on it, we're only talking about changing the battery.

  10. #10
    Craftsman
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    Conversely, a shop that’s provided years of good service (by your own admission) has been called out on the web for a single (in your opinion) ‘slip up’.

    I think you should reflect on this, get a sense of perspective and rename the thread at the very least. You’re talking about people’s livelihoods.

  11. #11
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    Batteries are ridiculously cheap to buy on-line (recent bought two for a relative's basic generic watch movement for £1.79 delivered) It's a nice little earner for those providing the service. I always do it myself (inc. my Seiko movement based Divex diving watch)
    Last edited by ALindsay; 9th March 2019 at 09:09.

  12. #12
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman LMAO View Post
    Conversely, a shop that’s provided years of good service (by your own admission) has been called out on the web for a single (in your opinion) ‘slip up’.

    I think you should reflect on this, get a sense of perspective and rename the thread at the very least. You’re talking about people’s livelihoods.
    Spot on


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  13. #13
    Journeyman
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    I enquired about a couple of Rolex watches, they weren't too pleasant with me either.

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  14. #14
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    H L Brown - Doncaster - not a good experience

    Quote Originally Posted by newsboy View Post
    Spot on


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    Absolute nonsense. My local watchmaker / repairer who runs his own watch repair shop and has my support and business for any non warranty work, recently did this for my wife’s watch for £15, while I waited. You absolutely should support your local businesses who provide an excellent, friendly service, whatever goods and services are being provided

    Businesses who try to rip you off, especially when you have a history with them, by charging £70 for a battery replacement, which definitely is a rip off, deserve no loyalty and to go out of business


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    Last edited by jimmer42; 9th March 2019 at 09:41.

  15. #15
    Grand Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    My mum supported her local business, and so found herself paying £400 for a new, very standard basic quartz movement.

  16. #16
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmer42 View Post
    Absolute nonsense. My local watchmaker / repairer who runs his own watch repair shop and has my support and business for any non warranty work, recently did this for my wife’s watch for £15, while I waited. You absolutely should support your local businesses who provide an excellent, friendly service, whatever goods and services are being provided

    Businesses who try to rip you off, especially when you have a history with them, by charging £70 for a battery replacement, which definitely is a rip off, deserve no loyalty and to go out of business


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    Different business, different town, different prices



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  17. #17
    Craftsman
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    400% + price difference and this business is in Doncaster not central London

    I suspect I won’t get anywhere with line of logic so I’ll leave you to spend £70 with them when you need a battery replacing....i suspect you wouldn’t do it either though


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  18. #18
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmer42 View Post
    400% + price difference and this business is in Doncaster not central London (no offence to Doncaster intended but we’re not talking Burlington arcade)

    I suspect I won’t get anywhere with line of logic so I’ll leave you to spend £70 with them when you need a battery replacing....i suspect you wouldn’t do it either though


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  19. #19
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmer42 View Post
    400% + price difference and this business is in Doncaster not central London

    I suspect I won’t get anywhere with line of logic so I’ll leave you to spend £70 with them when you need a battery replacing....i suspect you wouldn’t do it either though


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    No I won’t



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  20. #20
    Master
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    It's a poor show and basically gouging a customer. Anyone trying to justify that has no credibility.

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  21. #21
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    God knows what they’ll charge you to service that!! ;)


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  22. #22
    Master newsboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmer42 View Post
    God knows what they’ll charge you to service that!! ;)


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    Who knows I might not even have it in 10 years


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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by newsboy View Post
    Who knows I might not even have it in 10 years


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    Probably not


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  24. #24
    You should have considered buying the Longines on condition that they included a free battery change on the Rotary as part of the deal . Hope you get it sorted but beware the lower priced alternative.....they could potentially damage your watch if they don’t know what they are doing - good luck.

  25. #25
    Grand Master Der Amf's Avatar
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    Since their price contains the cost of the batteries, the watchmaker's time, transporting it to and from the watchmaker and their margin, it would be interesting to see how the price compares with how much Rotary themselves would charge, including the postage.

  26. #26
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman LMAO View Post
    Conversely, a shop that’s provided years of good service (by your own admission) has been called out on the web for a single (in your opinion) ‘slip up’.

    I think you should reflect on this, get a sense of perspective and rename the thread at the very least. You’re talking about people’s livelihoods.
    Yes this is a major drawback with fora. We only ever get one side of the argument and that is inherently unfair.

  27. #27
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chairman LMAO View Post
    Conversely, a shop that’s provided years of good service (by your own admission) has been called out on the web for a single (in your opinion) ‘slip up’.

    I think you should reflect on this, get a sense of perspective and rename the thread at the very least. You’re talking about people’s livelihoods.
    Fair point, and thank you for raising it. I've amended the title, (but not the content as that's exactly what happened). When I made my post I was probably still affected by what had happened to my cousin's wife, (thread in G&D), yesterday.

    I still think that £70 to change two batteries is excessive, particularly when viewed against previous years with them and an Authorised Rotary Dealer round the corner.

    Lynn was with me at the time and her comment as we left the shop was that they "didn't really want the bother of sending it away".

    I've since been on Longines web site to see where the next nearest dealer is and, to my surprise, H L Brown themselves aren't listed! Very odd.
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  28. #28
    Craftsman
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    You should go back in and shake his hand, saved you wasting £1,000 on a Longines. Just saying.

  29. #29
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Der Amf View Post
    Since their price contains the cost of the batteries, the watchmaker's time, transporting it to and from the watchmaker and their margin, it would be interesting to see how the price compares with how much Rotary themselves would charge, including the postage.
    As F Hinds are an Authorised Rotary Dealer it may be that that's where they're sending it, but I don't really know. They did say that it would be around the 8th of April when I get it back though.
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  30. #30
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALindsay View Post
    Batteries are ridiculously cheap to buy on-line (recent bought two for a relative's basic generic watch movement for £1.79 delivered) It's a nice little earner for those providing the service. I always do it myself (inc. my Seiko movement based Divex diving watch)
    I normally do it myself on quartz watches too, but this Rotary is unusual in that it is a front loader on both faces, and the crown for each face passes directly through the solid cage that the movements fit into. There's no way of removing either movements without removing the crowns first and I can find no way of doing this myself. I certainly don't want to damage it by using brute force.
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  31. #31
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J J Carter View Post
    You should go back in and shake his hand, saved you wasting £1,000 on a Longines. Just saying.
    Fair point, well made.

    Though it was a very very accurate watch I was intending to buy. +- 5 seconds a year with GMT and perpetual calendar functionality. Oh, and the GMT functionality handles both the half hour and 15 minute time zones and switches between two zones without stopping the seconds all at the touch of a button too, on a simple four hander. Then there's the automatic time reset if the watch experiences a severe shock or strong magnetic field.

    Would have been handy for a forthcoming holiday. Guess I'll just have to make do with this instead - at least I'll be able to see where I am in the world.

    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  32. #32
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by ALindsay View Post
    Batteries are ridiculously cheap to buy on-line (recent bought two for a relative's basic generic watch movement for £1.79 delivered) It's a nice little earner for those providing the service. I always do it myself (inc. my Seiko movement based Divex diving watch)
    How stupid are you...

  33. #33
    Did they used to send to the HL branch in Sheffield? They have (or had?) a watchmaker in the branch who was very good with many of my vintage Omegas.

    Swapped out Speedsonic batteries for a reasonable fee and removed links from many a vintage bracelet at a reasonable price.

    Perhaps this person has left now and that’s why they won’t do in-house?

  34. #34
    Grand Master Griswold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    Did they used to send to the HL branch in Sheffield? They have (or had?) a watchmaker in the branch who was very good with many of my vintage Omegas.

    Swapped out Speedsonic batteries for a reasonable fee and removed links from many a vintage bracelet at a reasonable price.

    Perhaps this person has left now and that’s why they won’t do in-house?
    Quite possible I guess, they didn't say.
    Best Regards - Peter

    I hate being bipolar, its brilliant.

  35. #35
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by 744ER View Post
    How stupid are you...
    +1.......but what do I know!

  36. #36
    Master KavKav's Avatar
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    I enquired at a Cartier shop about fitting a new battery in my wife’s Cartier and they asked for £70, I asked them why this simple task was so expensive and they said they had to renew the seals as well and that was NOT optional. I did the battery change myself the following week, it was not difficult and it cost me £3.50 for the battery!

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