News that luxury watchmaking master Patek Philippe has opened its own watch school in New York City should excite pre-owned luxury watch enthusiasts and those devoted to the new and extraordinary alike. Why? Because the real value of a Patek Philippe, as with many luxury timekeeping brands, lies in the rich art of the complication. As the years go by, the risk is that the skill of not just making but repairing these unique and complex timepieces will be lost. Without those skills, the history and identity of the watchmaking community will be eroded – and anyone who keeps timekeeping close to their heart would naturally consider that a tragedy,
Make no mistake: this is a question that every vintage luxury watch owner should pay attention to right from the start. Especially when dealing with pre-owned pieces, maintenance and repair must be at the forefront of the purchase-making decision. It’s going to be a crucial consideration to ensure that your love affair with your timepiece stays passionate. So what should you be thinking about maintenance-wise when you’re choosing a pre-owned luxury model?
When you first take possession of a pre-owned model, you naturally want to know that it’s in prime condition right from day one – both to protect its performance and to minimise future repair bills. It’s vital to ensure that the model has been fully serviced and comes to you with the relevant paperwork and guarantees to prove it. If you haven’t given this consideration you’re risking serious disappointment and unexpected costs should the timepiece falter.
Of course, when dealing with a vintage piece it’s not just about making sure the condition is up to standard when you make the purchase. Any pre-owned luxury watch enthusiast who’s in the know will fully expect to commission a service every 3 to 5 years – possibly more for older models. What’s crucial here is to entrust this intricate task to a craftsman who can guarantee that their work and, indeed, the parts they use, are completed to the manufacturer’s exacting standards. To do anything else is to risk the future value and integrity of the timepiece. Not only is that a shame in aesthetic and performance terms, it could also financially devalue your model. So look for service centre that’s approved by one of the major watchmakers, such as a Rolex service centre, to conduct your servicing.
Your pre-owned luxury watch is a precious and deeply personal possession. The last thing you want to do is to hand it over to somebody who doesn’t understand that. This is one area of your life where you should expect – and demand – personal, one-to-one service. The clever watch enthusiast builds a relationship with a single repair provider who applies their skill, time and understanding to making sure that every watch you ever hand to them remains safe, protected and in the best possible condition. Having that peace of mind is priceless, so when you’re choosing your repair provider don’t be afraid to have conversations and ask questions before you commit. What’s their repair pedigree? Are they accredited members of an appropriate horological organisation? What steps do they take to ensure your watch’s security whilst in their possession? Will they keep you in close contact with the progress of their work? Most of all, are they passionate about what they do? Because if they are, then they’ll understand your passion and make it their mission to treat your prized model as if it were their own.
Based in the heart of Mayfair, David Duggan is an approved Rolex service centre with 150 years’ combined experience in the repair and servicing of pre-owned luxury watches. We’re members of the British Horological Society and associate members of Sotheby’s, giving you complete peace of mind. Your timepiece will never leave our premises, and we can complete most commissions within 6 to 8 weeks. If you would like to discuss your repair or servicing needs, just contact us online, call us on 0207 491 1675, or drop into our Mayfair showroom and we’ll be delighted to discuss your individual needs.