Saturday, January 29, 2005

Omega Speedmaster Service Screwed up by Swatch!

Don't know why I ever bought this, and now it's gone! Who cares. I've got a Lemania 5100 now in the shape of the Sinn 157.

I have now accumulated more than ten years of experience of servicing my Seamaster and Speedmaster at Swatch UK, Eastleigh. Over the years my watches have been returned from the Swatch UK service department sometimes perfect and sometimes as follows: not running; with gouges in the back by the tooling; without requested work being done. After returns and rework, we have usually got there in the end, but the latest experience is just unbelievable and the sort of story of which ‘Watchdog’ episodes are made.

The tale of the Speedmaster Service:

After 5 years of running like clockwork, I decided I had better send my Speedmaster (Valjoux 7750 day date) in for routine service and deposited it with my dealer on May 22 2003. Not only did this take longer than estimated, the watch required multiple re-works outlined below, and only finally returned working fine after I had insisted it went back home to Bienne.

When the watch first came back (about a month late against the estimate) it had been gouged by the tooling and was sent back for polishing but after rework it came back with a new gouge! This, to save time, was polished out in a couple of days by a local watch repairer kindly arranged by my dealer to alleviate my frustration at this stage. I received my watch back on 10 Oct 2003 (2 months later than the original estimate). This was short lived however, as within about 2 days the lower chrono button was loose and hanging off. It was returned once again for rework.

I picked up my Speedmaster on 5 November 2003, nearly 6 months after originally dropping it off for service. Ironically, I also picked up my (perfectly) repaired Seamaster on the same date. The Speedmaster was apparently working fine gaining ~6 secs/day. However, in February 2004, I noticed that not only was the watch apparently letting water in (splashed from hand washing) the chronograph second sweep hand now resets around +2secs.

I returned my watch again, but now have no faith in the ability of Swatch UK to repair it and insisted it be sent back to Bienne for repair under the warranty. I finally got my watch back in perfect shape running –1 to 0s per day in May 2005.

In the end it had to go because of the bad taste in the mouth left by this saga.


Speedmaster said...

Wow, that's not good at all. There have been a bunch of similar reports from Omega owners regarding Swatch USA service in the last few years, though I haven't paid much attention recently. Perhaps (hopefully),l it's improved.

I guess the lesson there is take your chances or send it to Switzerland.


Velociphile said...

I received this e-mail which I thought made a good counterpoint:

"Your Omega problem is only the tip of the iceberg with servicing watches. Dont forget the sevice centers are not what they used to be, today they have to turn the repairs around faster than ever (no matter how long it takes), things like scratched cases are lack of attention under pressure and of course there are simply not enough properly trained repairers especially for the complicated watches like your chrono.

Its interesting that when I worked for Omega we occasionaly had a problem watch (they do exist) which the owner wanted sent to the factory. We always advised against it, as in those days, (1970's), the factory was really an assembly plant and the did not have todays focus on repair work. The watches nearly always came back worse than they were before.

My job there was the Chronometers and chronographs and any other problem watch belonging to a particularly demanding customer.
I was paid very well for this job although by the time it got to me there was little gratitude left in the owner, something I can understand."