“Watch Families”: The Father-in-Law’s Waltham

Published: January 17, 2014

“Watch families” are a watchmaker’s best friend. There isn’t anything complicated about what a watch family is – they are people who enjoy watches, and who enjoy other people in their family enjoying watches. In return, we get to to not only make a living but to participate, in a way, in the enjoyment of “Watch Families.”

We recently worked on such a watch – a vintage 6/0 Waltham wristwatch. This watch was not running at all. It required a new mainspring, a thorough cleaning, and standard regulating.

A family with residents in Indiana and Texas sent this watch to us (we were recommended to them by another customer). I have loved interacting with this customer, as the back and forth discussion about repair options was been quite friendly. The customer had several questions before he sent the watch, which I was happy to answer prior to him sending it. Then, I had the chance to explain to him the case polishing options, crystal replacement options, servicing scenarios, and band replacement options for the watch and to answer his questions about each of these areas.

I recommended that the customer not pursue a dial refinish on the watch. It definitely showed wear, but was very readable. Many watch owners are surprised to learn that dial refinishing can reduce the value, collectability, and authenticity of antique watches. Thus, if the dial is readable, we almost always recommend the customer leave it as is (though we do normally have at least one dial refinish a week, they are almost always for completely unreadable dials). The customer selected a genuine alligator band for the watch, and we installed a custom fitted crystal to the watch.

We also gathered some history on the watch from the customer, and combined it with the historical production information about the watch to produce a “Warranty of Service.” This document started with the specifications of the watch, then had a section on the history of the watch, and finally had a section on how the giftee could obtain warranty service on the watch in the next year or have the watch serviced after the warranty period.  We are always happy to generate such a document on any watch that we service – just ask. We’ll include any historical information you specify (other than information which would radically increase the value of the watch, for which we would require extensive documentation) and deliver it to you electronically. For a small fee, we will professionally print, sign, and mail the document to you. We’re even happy to frame it (for a small fee).