So... Why can rep repair take so darn long?

The truth is, repairing replica watches doesn't always take that long. In fact, many watches that come in for repair are flipped in just a couple of weeks. If, however, you are one of those unfortunate souls who is on the 4 month, 6 month or longer waiting list, it may feel like an eternity.

First, let me preface this with the fact that we here at RWR do not want your watch here any longer than it has to be. We want to repair and bill you as quickly as possible. Think about it... A watch that comes in needing, lets say a part that isn't stocked, requires us to store, keep track of, update the customer on, etc, etc, that watch until such time as the part arrives, is installed, qc'd and ready to ship. If we had say 5 packages sitting here, that wouldn't be a big deal. At any given time there are about 300 packages here!

So what gives? Well, a few things actually:

  • Replica watches are typically more difficult to repair than their genuine counterparts...
    For starters, there seems to be a major misconception that a rep is just as easy to repair as a gen. If our repair pricing was the indicator of this assumption, given that we are typically 1/4 -1/2 of what a comparable genuine watch would be for the same repair, it may seem that way. While in some cases this is true (though I greatly disagree with the notion that ANY watch, rep or gen is "easy" to repair), in most cases reps are more difficult to repair than their gen counterparts. In many cases much more difficult. Why? Because they are cheaply manufactured copies, in many cases manufactured using crude technologies, with the cheapest materials, a major lack of tolerance control, with no original design or R&D, and a near complete lack of QC. To touch on this a bit further, cheap materials is by far the #1 issue we run into, followed by tolerance. Nearly every 7750 break down is due to a rep maker produced add-on-module constructed of the absolute cheapest materials, crudely put together, with extremely sloppy tolerances, and dirty as can be. I could keep going but suffice it to say, dissecting nearly any rep movement, even reps that contain gen movements (which often are actually Chinese Frankenstein's, constructed of both gen and rep parts) and you will find dirt and debris, lack of lubrication, loose and misfitting parts, and/or a lack of proper tolerance between two or more parts.

  • Replica watch parts are harder to come by and typically ship from China...
    Couple the above with the fact that rep parts are, in large, more difficult to obtain than genuine parts. Sometimes nearly impossible. In fact, it happens quit often that donors need to be obtained to find a specific part to complete a repair. Add to that the fact that most of the donors, parts, movements, etc, are obtained from China, which adds a combination of communication challenges and shipping delays to the mix. The one saving grave to all this is that there are often times where a gen part fits a replica. In these cases, times are greatly reduced but not always. There still my be fitment or modification issues that need to be addressed. Not to mention that adding a gen part to a rep might lead to further issues, like fitness of engaged parts in association to the gen part.

  • Your 10 year old submariner replica is not the same watch today...
    This effects us all the time. Simply put, that replica submariner you bought in 2007 isn't the same today. The rep industry changes ALL THE TIME! Another aspect of lack of parts are parts made by the rep maker. A lot of people do not realize this but makers do not actually "make" every aspect of a rep watch. Though there are exceptions to this rule, a majority of the time items like the movement are obtained from reputable companies who manufacture specific parts or items. The maker will then add to, take away from, or alter said part (or culmination of parts like a movement) to get the desired effect. It may be something like engraving a bridge to better replicate the branding of the gen counterpart or something more complicated like building an add-on module (complication... sort of) to emulate a feature the gen counterpart has, like a specific sub dial position. While obtaining the parts that make up the original item, like the movement previously mentioned, trying to get something specific to a certain maker can be extremely challenging. In many cases we end up making the part ourselves, or modifying the watch/movement to accommodate an otherwise "non-stock" part.

Did You Know: The Chinese actually build many "genuine" movements. It isn't until they are altered with branded markings that they become a "rep"...

How this affects you and your watch repair at RWR...

What the above amounts to is a longer work in process timetable. Between waiting for your shipment to arrive, to waiting in queue for inspection, right on to waiting for parts to arrive from China, and then installation and QC of parts and finally, return shipping times, it all adds up. Have one of those steps go wrong and on and on it goes.

Food For Thought: It typically takes 2-4 weeks for us to receive a parts or movement shipment ordered from China...

So how do we manage? Simple, we:

1Start by keeping a good deal of donor parts and movements in-stock. This aids us in hastening the turn around time tremendously.

2We have many years of experience in the watch repair and modification field. I'd say we've seen it all but I'd be lying; I am still to this very day amazed at what we find under the case back of reps.

3We have established a network of reliable suppliers who have proven to offer quality and speed.

4We source from the USA as much as possible. While the watch parts supply market is slim pickings, there are a handful of US suppliers that aid us in keeping turn around times down. Unfortunately, due to changes in policy with several Swiss movement/parts manufacturers, it is becoming harder and more costly to obtain parts. This however is a topic for another discussion.

5Finally, we know what we are doing. I have been involved in the watch business for 22 years. Artur is a Swiss national and a Swiss trained watchsmith for over 25 years. If there is a solution to your watches problem, we'll figure it out. I know our answers are not always what you want to hear but part of the rep game is knowing when to cut your losses. The good news is that our success rate far beats our toss rate, to a scale of about 95%, so rest assured we will always do our best to repair your watch.

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