Who is The WATCH Lab?
The Watch Lab Holdings Ltd (Registration No. 11640971) part of The Watches of Switzerland Group Ltb. It operates from retail outlets and has an internet postal repair service too. It employs highly skilled Technicians and Watchmakers based from a high specification modern Workshop. The business began in 2000, expanded to 23 retail outlets in major shopping centres. They offer a range of services from watch battery & reseal, to bracelet repairs, dial restoration, service and vintage watch restoration. The WATCH Lab’s Head Office Workshop is an Authorised Service Centre for numerous Swiss brands including Omega, Longines, Rado & Tissot. The company also sells pre-owned refurbished quality Swiss brands in certain stores plus retails some new fashion watches.
In common with all watch repair businesses The Watch Lab gives repair estimates and not quotations. This information is printed on all receipts and displayed in the branches. When dealing with almost every brand in the marketplace and watches of all ages, it is impossible to accurately quote for every repair scenario presented to us especially with component prices changing as much as they do these days. The vast majority of estimates given by The Watch Lab however do not change and become final prices. When a re-estimate does happen however, it is more often than not an obscure brand or an older type requiring high cost components or sourcing of materials considered ‘obsolete’. Should a repair be re-estimated, we contact the customer as a priority by telephone and offer the choice to continue or not. If a re-estimate is declined’ any pre-paid monies relating to that job are refunded in full.
What is The Watch Lab policy on water resistance following repairs?
The Watch Lab does not guarantee water resistance on older timepieces, gold watches or indeed any watch that has either not been tested for water resistance or has been tested but failed. We will inform our customers at point of sale when a watch repair is collected or returned to its owner. Click here for further information on water resistance.
What does the guarantee mean with service and overhaul work?
The Watch Lab fully guarantees its quality of Workmanship. Regrettably however, we are unable to guarantee modern day and accurate timekeeping to service and overhaul work on older mechanical watches. On these occasions we may advise ‘timekeeping is best possible’. The guarantee that comes with a quartz service is for the movement and the battery for a period of 12 months. Watches serviced by The Watch Lab however rarely need any further attention for many years after.
What happens to old watch parts?
The Watch Lab discards old damaged & defective parts during repair. With the exception of batteries which get recycled, old bits are considered scrap and disposed of.
What is The WATCH Lab’s guarantee period for battery installation?
The Watch Lab uses the highest quality Swiss batteries and guarantees them for a period of 12 months. Normal battery life however when fitted and resealed ‘our way’, is usually 2-3 years, but this does depend on the age and condition of the watch.
What if a quartz watch stops in the guarantee period after a new battery is fitted?
In the unlikely event of a battery not lasting at least a year, The Watch Lab will fit a new one and reseal the watch case where appropriate at no cost to our customer. Should the watch develop a secondary fault during the period of guarantee, we will always endeavor to resolve the problem. Should it however require service and overhaul of the movement, The Watch Lab would normally reduce the further charge by the original battery and reseal cost.
If I have had a watch bracelet repaired by TWL and it breaks again, what will you do?
In the unlikely event that a watch bracelet needs further repairs after work being carried out by TWL, we will repair the bracelet at no further cost to the customer assuming the repair is in the same place and that it is within a reasonable time scale.
Do you valet watches?
Yes! Unlike virtually all other repairers, The Watch Lab has the tools, skills and equipment to clean polish and valet most watches to a very high standard. The Watch Lab valets all watches (steel, gold, or steel and gold construction) to the best possible condition when the service cost figure is £250 or higher. Please enquire at a branch or by email for further details.
How long does your watch repairs take?
Most jobs are undertaken the same day in branch. If not the same day, estimated and likely time-frames are given. These however are ‘approximate’ and ‘subject to the availability of parts’. The Watch Lab is a ‘middleman’ in a service industry and is unfortunately reliant on the watch brands and component companies to supply specialist necessary parts. Our own stocks of materials are huge however being able to stock all parts for the millions of watches sold over the past 100 years is impossible. It is for these reasons that we give approximate completion times only and contact our customers direct when the watch is ready. We are quick but unfortunately sourcing certain parts or having them hand-made is not.
Our commitment about watch repair completion times is to:
1. Promise not ever to ‘sit-on’ watch repairs
2. Act as quickly as we are able to with all watches
3. Move repairs through our system as quickly as is possible (it is in The WATCH Lab’s interest as well as our customers to have watches repaired and away as soon as is possible).
In return for the above, we politely ask our customers to:
1. Be patient – PLEASE! We do sometimes go over estimated completion times when manufacturers don’t have the correct parts, the components we need are obsolete, or special order parts from brands in Switzerland or the Far East have their own production delays.
2. Try to understand that in a specialist service business like ours, occasional delays are inevitable, unavoidable and almost always out of our direct control.
3. Allow us to do our job. Chasing overdue repairs does not make completion quicker. Unless faced with an extremely long and challenging repair, our system does not allow us to do courtesy ‘update’ telephone calls on a ‘just to let you know’ basis. Our team deals with thousands of repairs every week through 23 branches nationally. Trying to get mid-repair-updates is too time consuming and will not speed up completion either.
At completion, we promise to without fail, telephone our customers to advise of collection. Please wait for that telephone call – it will come.
Do you carry out all watch servicing in-house?
The Watch Lab has a full team of excellent watchmakers and technicians however not all repairs are undertaken in-house. It is often either more cost effective for our customers, speedier or technically more sensible to use one of our selective high quality outwork partners, or indeed the manufacturers themselves through our trade accounts. Either way, all repairs are first rate, quality controlled by TWL watchmakers and are of course fully guaranteed.
What do I need to know about automatic watches?
Automatic mechanical watches are charged by movement of the wrist. They do not have batteries. At full charge automatic watches can have up to 38 hours of power reserve. If however they have not been worn for a while and have stopped, they need to be manually wound i.e. the crown / winder needs to be physically turned 10 to 20 times in a clockwise direction. Please note there is one exception to this rule and that is a SEIKO 5 model – speak to the branch staff about these watches. If manually winding of a stopped automatic watch is not carried out, it will run slowly, not keep time and may even stop. Also, please note that changing the date and/or time on automatic watches should be done during the day or early evening. This should not be carried out between 10pm and 2’oclock in the morning. Finally, please be advised that all mechanical movements’ watches can lose or gain time slightly throughout the day. The variance of time depends upon the brand, quality of the movement and its age.
Do you service the expensive watches in your retail outlets?
All intricate or specialist work is carried out in our Service Centre based in Preston.
On the question of your postal repair service why do you use a PO Box address?
The answer is of course for reasons of security of our customers watches. The Watch Lab takes this issue very seriously.
Will my watch be safe if I post it to you?
The Watch Lab recommends the use of Special Delivery from Royal Mail. This is the preferred carriage way for the whole of the jewellery trade and is found to be extremely safe, very reliable and insured.
How do I know that The Watch Lab will carry out a good repair to my watch?
Our marketing strap-line is Quality Watch Repairs. Unlike the competition. The Watch Lab employs the services of both hugely experienced and Rolex Accredited Watchmakers. We also have the most highly trained Technicians in our industry. Having traded for 16 years and operating from 23 UK key population sites, the company has a huge database of satisfied and loyal customers.
Tell me about the quality of The WATCH Lab’s leather watch straps?
TWL sells our own brand of watch straps, which are anti allergic and also manufacturer’s straps. Should any of our own leather watch straps be deemed unfit within a reasonable time period, e.g. 12 months, we will replace the strap free of charge. This is our No Quibble Watch Strap policy.
Where can I purchase a watch?
New watches can be purchased from many of our retail outlets or alternatively go to our branded watch website called www.watchshop.com
What is your policy regarding unused / unwanted new watch purchases?
Customers will be offered a full refund or exchange on all new watches, if returned within 14 days of the date of purchase. The watch must be in perfect condition, unused and unworn and with all original packaging material with warranty and instruction booklets. We do not accept any watch with any indication that it has been worn or used in any manner, these include scratches, smudges, chips or any other signs of use. Please note watches bought from our Pre-owned or clearance discounted collections are excluded from this policy.
**At Christmas this policy is extended and purchases made during December can be returned for refund or exchange up to and including December 31st.
What guarantee comes with new watch purchases?
All new watches purchased from The Watch Lab come with their manufacturers guarantee. This usually covers the watch movement only, and not the bracelet, case, glass, strap or battery. The Watch Lab however additionally guarantees the battery for 12 months from day of purchase.
Complaints, queries or frustrations
As a service business working with all brands of watches from every era, The Watch Lab has occasionally not satisfactorily communicated certain issues as well as we would like to have done. Customers can rightly feel frustrated or annoyed without access to all the facts. Certain watches are on occasion required to be returned for corrective attention post completion. This is not common but does happen with all watch repairers, and especially with old mechanical watches which are often in a much worn state. Known as a return-job, the watch is treated as high priority and completed just as soon as possible. After corrective attention and extensive testing, watches are returned to the branch where the customer is called again to advise of collection. Return Jobs are unfortunate but reasonably common for all repairers working with vintage and obsolete movement timepieces.
The above are matters we take very seriously. The Watch Lab always endeavors to explain in detail issues such as water resistance, timekeeping, ongoing watch maintenance, expected performance or performance limitations (older watches), do’s and don’ts etc. We fully understand the importance of our customers both happy with WATCH Lab repairs but also understanding what has been carried out and why.
Should there be a problem where you not feel that matters are not being explained properly or you feel the watch has not been repaired to your expectation, then in the first instance we request you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Please quote the service job number, your postcode then bullet-point the details of the issues experienced. The Watch Lab will look into the job and respond accordingly within 2-3 working days
The Watch Lab is not licensed to and does not give valuations of watches. We are a specialist watch repair business. If asked about the value of a watch we make it clear that it is not our field but may refer customers to auction house websites, eBay etc., as points of reference. Sites like these can give an indication as the likely value of a second hand similar watch. We also refer valuation enquires to high street retail jewelers who are licensed to give valuations, plus have similar levels of brands and new watches which may indicate costs of new like-for-like replacement watches.
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