I sent an email to Swiss Watchmakers in Cambridge, this morning, but think the message applies to a great many things and is worth sharing.
I gave my son, Jack, a Glycine Airman Base 22 Purist for Christmas. I’m a watch collector, and I hoped that my son would share my love and appreciation of mechanical watches. When he saw the Glycine, his eyes lit up. I had given him a few watches before, but this time I really captured his interest. I was thrilled.
A few days later, he told me that the hands didn’t align properly. The hour hand was about 15 minutes off proper alignment. No problem, I told him. I called your shop and was told that you could handle it. I was told it would take a day or two, and that it would be no big deal to properly align the hands.
My son brought his watch to you on January 5th. He was told, as I was, that it would be done in a day or two, and he would be called to come get it. A few days later, he still hadn’t heard anything so he called (at my urging) and was told it was being worked on. So much for a day or two.
A week later, he still hadn’t heard, so he called again. He was told that they didn’t know why anyone would say a day or two, as it usually took two weeks to do a repair. That may be, but both he and I were told a day or two. Why we were told that really isn’t a question for us, and doesn’t change the fact that we were told that. You were given the watch to repair based on what we were told. Doing what you say you’re going to do is a matter of business integrity. As we were told that, we expected you to keep your word.
He finally came to pick up his watch yesterday. The hands were still misaligned. Not only had he waited almost two weeks to get his “day or two” watch repair completed, but after that time, the Glycine still had the problem he came in with. Why would you give a watch back when the problem for which it was given you remains unrepaired?
But the problem that most concerns me isn’t the delay, or the failure to repair, but that you have taken something that was meant to be a joy for my son and turned it into a misery. Now the Glycine Airman is a burden, a problem, another hassle that he would rather live without. He was thrilled to get it, and now he wishes he hadn’t.
Please realize the harm that is happening. If you can’t get this fairly simple repair done right away, then get it back to him and I will have it repaired by my watchmaker, but please do not do more harm in the process. Please don’t make my son hate watches.
If you have any issue with this, feel free to call me.
Maybe this will remind us of the unintentional harm we can do when we forget how the things we do, and fail to do, affect others.
Update: An unnamed person at Swiss Watchmakers non-responsively replied to me, whereupon I told them that my son would pick up the watch the next day. He did.
He then asked me what he should do with it. I told him to wear it, enjoy it, and that I would take care of it next time he was home. I apologized that he was put through this hassle.
He called me back the next day to tell me that he spent some time fiddling with it, spinning the hands backwards, and it appears to have corrected the alignment by itself. I told him that was great. And if, for some reason, things went south again, not to worry. We’d deal with it.