General Cleaning and Adjusting - $450. Includes complete disassembly, cleaning, and
lubrication of the movement. Watches are timed electronically in all positions to
achieve accurate and reliable timekeeping. With my state of the art timing machine,
I am able to look at balance amplitude and beat errors, parameters which most watchmakers
ignore. These additional diagnostics help increase overall reliability and accuracy.
Cases are cleaned and polished. The price shown is for standard movements - high
jewel pocketwatches, calendars, automatics, etc. are more expensive.
I specialize in vintage Rolex repair, which is normally $1000 and up. Repairs on
later Rolex watches include a new crystal, crown, tube, and back gasket so that the
case seals properly. I have access to many hard-to-find and obsolete parts for older
Rolex models, including bubblebacks. I am not affiliated with Rolex, although I do
use genuine Rolex parts.
Chronograph repair costs vary according to the condition, grade, and movement. Lower-grade
2 register chronos run about $600, and high-grade three register models (such as
Breitling) are in the $800 range.
The above prices do not include parts. A good ballpark figure for an average parts
requirement is about $75. Early Rolex automatics, such as bubblebacks and transitional
(1950's) bubblebacks, sometimes require parts in excess of $250.
Railroad grade pocket watches are about $450.
I generally don’t like to do partial repairs (for example, just replacing a crystal),
as it makes warranty issues difficult. Say, for example, you just need a crown replaced.
Imagine, after I replace the crown, that the watch doesn’t run properly, or doesn’t
set properly, or the hands bind, etc. This leaves me in a bad position. Furthermore,
if one of these problems comes up 1 month after I replace the crown, I can’t give
you a warranty on something that I didn’t fix (and didn’t charge you for, either).
So, partial repairs don’t come with a meaningful warranty, other than specifically
to the part that I replaced.
Dial Refinishing - $200. This is for most standard re-dials. Two-tone dials, chronographs,
and luxury brands are more expensive.
Dials really can't be 'cleaned' or touched up in any way. Dials generally have a
clear coat of lacquer to protect them, and over time this lacquer can turn yellow
or crack, allowing moisture to oxidize the metal underneath. The yellow color can't
be cleaned away without removing the lacquer and print entirely.
In essence, dial refinishing is kind of like stripping and repainting a car. The
dial is stripped down to the bare brass, and then either painted or plated for the
background color, and then printed. Many dials also have 'raised figures' where
the numbers or markers sit above the dial (like the chronograph shown above). These
figures can either be 'applied' (which are separate little pieces that are pinned
to the dial), or simply 'raised' which are stamped and are permanently attached to
After the dials have been stripped and the background color applied, the rest of
the markings are printed. This is done with a stamping process, so sometimes a specific
font style won't be reproduced exactly. This can be one of the compromises in dial
Understand that dial refinishing is a good option for dials in poor condition. However,
you should have realistic expectations - even an excellent redial can usually be
distinguished from an original dial (especially by someone who is experienced). It
can be a good solution, and generally people are very satisfied with the results.
If your original dial has some small imperfection or scratch, it is almost always
better to leave it alone rather to have it refinished. Be sure to check out the
'restoration photos' section for some before/after photos of dials that were refinished.
Crystals - Crystals for vintage watches were generally plastic or glass. Usually,
round crystals were plastic, and are a friction/compression-type fit. Non-round
(‘fancy’ shaped) crystals were either plastic or glass, and are usually glued in.
I generally use glass for all fancy shapes due to its clarity. I prefer plastic
for round watches, though, as that is what most of them were designed to take. I
can also supply round glass crystals when appropriate (mostly for open-faced pocket
watches and some dress wristwatches). Here's a comparison of plastic vs. glass on
a fancy-shaped crystal. You can see the distortion of the print at the edges of
the plastic crystal. (Click on image to enlarge).
Payment is due when the work is complete. I generally do not require any deposit
up-front. You can pay using PayPal, or you can pay directly with a Visa or MasterCard
(not American Express). You can also pay by check or money order.
There is an $85 minimum for any work done. However, this figure does not apply to
Inquire for pricing on other repair services including repivoting, staff making and
Turnaround time is generally 2-3 months, but this varies considerably depending on
what needs to be done and my current workload.
For a good selection of some of the nicest watchstraps available, check out Bob Davis'
I do not repair any watch that uses a battery (quartz, Accutrons, Hamilton Electrics,
etc) , I only repair mechanical timepieces.
If you have questions or require services not listed, please call or e-mail with
There will be a 2% finance charge per month on all jobs that are not paid for within
30 days (this applies to the date your watch is completed, not the date it is sent
All work comes with a 1 year warranty. This covers most problems, but water-resistance
and/or abuse is not guaranteed. There is more information on water-resistance under
My goal is to provide the highest-quality repair work available anywhere. I know
that my prices are higher than some of my competitors, but I feel that my extra service
and quality warrants the extra expense. This idea is reinforced by my customers through
their numerous compliments and repeat business. I take great pride in my work, and
continue to strive for higher standards. This tactic of continuous improvement allows
me to regularly exceed my customer’s expectations.
A significant portion of my business consists of repairing watches where others have
failed. Even if you have been told that a watch cannot be fixed due to lack of parts
(or any other reason), I encourage you to contact me with your problem. The successful
repair of these types of watches is fairly common for me.
Cleaning a watch is probably the most common procedure a watchmaker performs. However,
not all cleanings are alike. The best watchmakers agree that the only way to properly
clean a watch is to completely disassemble it. If it is not disassembled, dirt and
old oil can remain in the jewels, and worn pivots cannot be detected. Some watchmakers
cut corners and save time by not doing so, and therefore can charge lower prices
for their services. However, the quality of the work, the reliability, and the timekeeping
all suffer accordingly. I feel that it is better to spend $800 wisely on a quality
job than to waste $200 on something that you are not happy with, and then have to
spend an additional $800 to make it right. Truth is, I run into this situation quite
Tom Gref - PO Box 69151 - Tucson, AZ - 85737 - 520.818.3382