In this episode, our Head of Watch Buying Mark Toulson sits down with John Burns, Head of Aftercare to discuss the relevance and importance of the Aftercare process, how to keep your timepiece in working order and more about At Your Service.
Q: Tell us about yourself John Burns
A: I left school at a young age and back then apprenticeships were hard to come by. Luckily, there was a job being advertised for a watch maker locally near me. I applied for the job and was fortunate to get an apprenticeship with the company that kick started my career as a watchmaker. The job gave me great experience working with a broad range of watches. My apprenticeship continued for 5 years studying horology. Back in those days official watch making courses did not exist, so it was a fantastic start before I joined Watches of Switzerland in Manchester for 20 years. I am privileged to have worked with a vast ray of brands and the business has provided me huge amounts of training, especially with Rolex, which is a brand I have come to admire.
Q: Do you have a favourite watch brand?
A: Even though there are a lot of brands out there, I adore the Rolex brand. I trained with the brand at an early age and have learnt much about their watches, history and heritage. They also provide an incredible amount of support when it comes to servicing their watches.
Q: Why is aftercare so important?
A: A luxury timepiece can be an investment piece or a gift from someone special. You want to keep your watch looking new so maintaining your watch is important to keep it in top condition. Mechanical watches are made up of hundreds of small moving component parts. Over time, the lubricants that prevent friction and damage to the components break down and will need replacing.
Q: How often do automatic watches need to be looked at?
A: 3-5 years is recommended for servicing. However, you can come into Watches of Switzerland annually to re-check for wear and tear. If your watch is water resistance, we can check to ensure it can still withstand the recommended water depth, especially if you are going on holiday.
Q: What is involved in servicing a quartz and mechanical watch?
Quartz watches require a maintenance service every 2-3 years. It involves the complete stripping down of the case, testing the movement, ensuring it is functioning correctly, as well as changing the battery and replacing the seals.
With mechanical watches, the most common concerns are timing issues, where a watch loses a few minutes or the watch stops working. This means that it is time for a service to correct the fault. It again involves the complete strip down of the movement and the case, the dismantling of the bracelet, and removing the movement from the watch. We also remove the hand and dials, pre-clean the movement, re-oil and re-seal, as well as inspecting the piece to ensure it works correctly.
Don’t forget that polishing has also developed over the years and it is as important as the actual service of the watch. It’s the final product that aesthetically the customer sees.
Q: Are there any particular type of watches that are more difficult to service?
A: Chronographs and more complex movements can be challenging and requires more time to repair. However, we can repair these watches in our workshop.
Q: Is magnetism having a big effect on watches?
A: Manufacturers are improving the anti-magnetism of their watches. We are in the modern world and magnetism is everywhere. People don’t realise that if you put your watch in your bag for example, the magnet on the bag can affect the movement of your watch, especially quartz watches as it can stop the piece from ticking. It is about educating and making people aware of the effects of magnetism and how to care for your watch. You can read about how to look after your watch here.
Q: Tell us about the new watch service centre opening in Manchester
A: We have a new national watch service centre opening in Manchester in early September. There are plans for 15 staff members to be based there, which is a good number of watchmakers. This is the way forward to really maximise productivity, utilising our technical expertise and providing an overall positive experience for our customers. The centre is the perfect opportunity for our existing and new watchmakers to join the workshop, and making great use of their unique skills.
In Manchester, there is a school of watchmaking where we train our staff as well as working with our brand partners to develop their skills. Our watchmakers have access to the best equipment to ensure the work carried out is of the highest of quality.
Q: Where can customers service their watch?
A: We at The Watches of Switzerland Group have invested heavily in training our staff and we have more accredited watchmakers than any other retailer. We are also a brand-accredited agent of Rolex, OMEGA, Breitling and TAG Heuer. Our watchmakers where available, are able to meet and greet our customers personally and will be able to talk though your luxury timepiece.
To find your nearest showroom, click here.