« Why the Quest for the Holy Grail Is Ongoing | Main | In the Face of Podcasts "Radio Continues to be a Useful, Profitable Technology" »

December 15, 2014



Those prices you quote are actually cheap compared to in-house services. For instance, if and when I get my Omega chronograph serviced, it would cost around $700 to have an authorized Omega watchmaker do it.

Now if you're talking services for high-end watches like Patek and Vacheron, cost can be in the thousands, especially if there are complications in the movement.

Anyhow, the reason people with Seiko 5s don't get them serviced is that those are throw-away watches. Meaning, they just aren't worth servicing. To be honest, I wouldn't bother servicing anything under $500, maybe not even anything under $1K.


Japanese movements don't have the same cachet as their Swiss counterparts, so they have to sell on quality and reliability alone. We're taught that even Swiss quartz movements are superior. I have a Seiko 5 that out of the box does -3 seconds. Pretty impressive for something disposable. I guess when you get a Swiss movement serviced you're also paying for it to be stroked lovingly and kissed goodnight.


Back in the late 1980s/early 1990s, my boss had a Jaguar coupe. He paid $1200.00 for the 30,000 mile service at a time when this service on many other cars (including some luxury cars) was $400.00 - $600.00 tops. Sometimes, I think these services are priced for what the watch shop or company thinks the owner can afford----not what it really costs to adjust the watch movement. I have an old Omega with the bumper movement. It still works and keeps great time----but I've found I have to shake it a little harder than I used to for it to start. A local watch shop quoted me $100.00-$200.00 for the service. They also couldn't guarantee that the bumper mechanism would be flawless when they were done---said they might have to adjust it so that it winds like a normal watch. For now, I'm standing pat with it. I'm not going to let them open it and lose a function for $200.00 Might wear it today in fact.


Probably a good analogy is the difference between getting your car worked on at a local garage vs. the dealer. The dealer is always more expensive, might or might not be better, but at least gives you a baseline of quality of service.

I think the same is true of getting your Swiss watch serviced by an authorized watchmaker.

As for the whole Japanese vs. Swiss movement thing, cachet is one thing, quality another. I'm guessing that you're getting better bang for your buck with Swiss movements, but of course any watch above a $20 quartz isn't exactly about economizing. In other words, as soon as you go above maybe $50 you're going beyond utility, so it really isn't about bang-for-buck, it becomes more about finding the watch that you love and then trying to get the best price for it.

I would also suggest that while "Swiss" is overblown a bit, there is something to it. When I got my first Swiss watch, the Oris, it opened my eyes to a new level of craftsmanship - and the Oris is considered more of a pseudo-luxury watch than a true luxury watch. I think the closest thing to it among my Japanese watches are the Orient Saturation Diver, Citizen Signature, and Seiko Sumo. But the Oris - and more so, the Omegas - had something extra that is hard to define. This isn't only about cachet, in other words.



I'm curious why you think Swiss movements give better bang for your buck. I'm more inclined to say Japanese movements give better bang for your buck, for the reasons Ulysses stated.


Gary it was a misprint. Better bang for your buck with Japanese movements.


But truth be told, there are a couple Seagull movements (China) that are accurate and durable, on par with reasonably good Japanese movements. If you have a watch you like with a Seagull movement that works year after year with no problems----it's a value equation that beats the Japanese, just as the Japanese value equation beats the Swiss. But there's a point where as a collector----you want what you want---maybe more for mystique than for performance.


Well again, if we're talking simply about "what works" then might as well stick with $30 battery-powered Timexes. But fine watches aren't about that - whether we're talking about $1-500 fashion watches or $10K+ high-end luxury. You're buying something much more than utility. It is a combination of aesthetic, craftsmanship, and a conceptual gestalt of a brand name, a legacy, an idea.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)


  • Advertisements
My Photo


  • Advertisements


  • Advertisements


  • Advertisements

July 2017

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30 31          
Blog powered by Typepad


Companion Website: Breakthrough Writer

My Photo

Become a Fan