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David Geller

David Geller: Left Behind




David Geller: Left Behind

How to handle watch repairs and those not picked up.


Published in the July 2013 issue.

In January, I wrote about how to handle abandoned jewelry repairs. Now, let’s chat about watches that have been left behind. The poor watchmaker. He has to open up the watch to see what’s wrong. That takes time. Sometimes he has to actually clean the watch to see what’s wrong before he can give a quote. That takes time. In some instances he must order a part to find out the cost and return it if your customer doesn’t want it repaired. That takes time.

We haven’t even mentioned how many phone calls you make to the customer to give him information.


When taking in a watch for an estimate to repair, ask for a $20 deposit. Apply it to the repair or return it if the customer picks up a non-repaired watch.

After a year if you’ve done your due diligence with certified mailings and contacting the customer and he still hasn’t picked up the watch let’s now talk about what you can do:


Buy two small picture frames and foam from a craft store.
Take apart a mechanical watch and a battery-operated watch and spread the guts out nicely on the foam and put them into the frames. It’s important to show all parts separate. Lots of them.
Include a metal watch bracelet with some disassembled links to show worn rivets and maybe a worn clasp.
Use these to show a customer why it costs what it does to fix a watch: “Look at how many parts have to come apart!”


If you have some repaired watches that no one ever picked up loan them out to customers who leave their watches for repair. “Do you need a loaner watch while we get an estimate on yours? We have several.” (Note on the envelope that you loaned them a watch.)

Some stores give away batteries for free. If that’s your plan, fine, but be sure to book any invoices for batteries to advertising expenses.

Why not try charging, though?


We charged $8 for a battery that we would guarantee for one year and $15 for a battery we would guarantee for five years. The difference in the batteries? $7. We didn’t guarantee that battery would last; we guaranteed if it didn’t we’d give you another battery.

What happened?

Our average battery sale went from $5 to $12! Almost a 2.5 times increase in battery income.

Sixty-three percent of customers chose the five-year $15 battery over the one-year $8 battery, and no one walked because batteries started at $8.

Although we replaced batteries that didn’t last the five years, we were still way ahead of the game. Try it and you’ll be surprised. And don’t tell me, “Heck, the battery only cost 35 cents!” You’re dead wrong. You have to pay someone to install it. Our jewelers got paid $2.08 to install a 35-cent battery.

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