Fantastic Urwerk Service Experience

Mar 06, 2020,06:14 AM

Good service experiences are rare.  After sales service is one of the weakest points of the watch ownership experience.  Here's some good news for Urwerk owners and prospective owners. 


Over a year ago, a friend of mine was a little down one day, so I asked him what was wrong. 


The Urwerk AMC carriage clock that winds and regulates the balance of the watch. This extraordinary piece sold recently for nearly $3 Million US Dollars.  Photo credit: Urwerk

Turns out, it was “my fault” because there was something wrong with a watch he acquired based on my recommendation.  His beautiful Urwerk had a tiny bubble (could hardly see it) in the glue that held the crystal onto the case.  Minor problem in my book, over time these things do happen (I’ve seen it happen on other watches), especially on larger, unusually shaped, or highly domed crystals.  And this crystal was a combination of all three, plus the watch was a decade old. 


Since it was “my fault” and I was going to be attending SIHH 2019 where I knew Urwerk was displaying their novelties, I offered to bring the watch to Geneva on his behalf.  My friend was very distraught, he assumed he’d be relegated to wearing his alternative “boring smart-watch” for many months (the only other timepiece he owned besides the Urwerk) while his watch was having the crystal repaired. 


While I was at SIHH 2019, I brought the watch to a team member at Urwerk without an appointment.  This team member astounded me, she immediately took ownership of the problem and brought out another colleague who was the Aftersales Service Manager.  The two Urwerk colleagues were extremely professional, introduced themselves formally, presented me their business cards, took detailed notes about the condition of the watch, recorded my relayed description of the problem, presented me with copies of all the paperwork acknowledging the condition and that they had received the watch.  No excuses to the problem was given, just that it shouldn’t happen, and that they would rectify the problem.  Carefully handling the watch with gloved hands, they wrapped the watch in plastic film and had a special “padded service box” to store the watch.  Keep in mind, this is at SIHH Convention (not at a boutique or an office), vendors are expecting to speak with retailers at SIHH, not take in watches for service. 


The team at Urwerk really took an unusual amount of pride in their work.  Something not commonly seen anymore, even in the luxury space.  It reminded me of how things are in Japan; thorough, efficient, and trustworthy.  I dislike valet parking my car even at the finest establishments in the USA.  But I would have no problem valet parking my car in Japan as I witnessed extreme care exercised in such scenarios in the past. 


It wouldn't be prudent of me to post a photo of my friend's actual watch, but here's a stock photo of a related model.  Photo credit: Urwerk

I left truly impressed.  I’m the one who finds fault in everything; the two lights in my bathroom at the Four Seasons were different color (they were side by side and one was more yellow than the other), a 3-Michelin star restaurant in Napa made me eat caviar with a metal spoon (instead of horn or mother of pearl so you don't get a metallic taste)!  This experience at Urwerk was faultless.  I’ve had watches serviced before and it’s always the weakest point of any brand.  I don’t want to name any names, but service time is when the mistakes happen the most often, even among the top tier brands!  I told one brand “don’t polish” and the watch I got back was so over-polished that the ridges on the bezel were completely worn down!  I've seen scars caused by tools on cases and screwdriver scars on movements.  Sometimes you can see the servicer used a screwdriver one size too small as the act leaves impressions in the slot of the screw. 


Email communication from Urwerk was regular and thorough.  Not to mention extremely personal.  As someone who is more technical, I had a few questions and I received great answers that showed how transparent and thorough Urwerk was.  The watch was serviced, the crystal replaced, and even the strap was very unexpectedly gratuitously changed as a thank you to my friend for enduring the trouble for the minor crystal repair.  Fortunately for my friend, the service was completed sooner than expected. 


In conclusion, the service experience at Urwerk was absolutely first class.  I cannot stress enough how important service is when owning a fine timepiece.  It’s often the weakest link in the entire ownership cycle of a watch.  It’s also often the weakest link in many other aspects of ownership, like car ownership.  The watch was recently picked up in Switzerland and everything was perfect, not to mention beautifully packaged.  I’d like to thank the team, I’d like to congratulate the team at Urwerk for a superlative service experience!  It was a pleasure for me to experience!  If only every brand had such a great service experience! 

Special thanks to Agnes, Yacine, and Felix; the amazing people I've met and worked with at Urwerk!

My personal favorite modern Urwerk, the 105 model.  Photo Credit: Urwerk




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I'm glad to read about this good experience.

 By: VMM : March 6th, 2020-06:59
Sometimes, bad after sales service is a flaw within the watch industry that can ruin the whole experience. Vte

It frequently does!

 By: patrick_y : March 6th, 2020-08:30
We're all held hostage by the aftersales experience. I was once driving a particular brand of car (big brand, not a small boutique brand) and the car was slightly troublesome, the dealers weren't very knowledgeable, and all I could do was either bite the ... 

True, alas. [nt]

 By: amanico : March 6th, 2020-08:31

Glad it wasn’t that AMC winder...😅

 By: myles721 : March 6th, 2020-08:18
Guessing that takes a while to repair…

Nice to hear Patrick. And not surprising to me.

 By: Jay (Eire) : March 6th, 2020-09:12
I’ve had interactions with both Agnes and Yacine and happily back up your experience with mine (although mine did not involve a service).

They are lovely to work with!

 By: patrick_y : March 6th, 2020-09:31
I'm not worried for your beautiful 105! I'm sure it will be well taken care of! Thanks for reading and posting Jay!

I was so surprised...

 By: patrick_y : March 6th, 2020-09:35
I was so surprised with that metal spoon. Nobody at the table complained about it (there were seven of us). But I was so curious as to why they served the caviar course with a metal spoon that I asked the Captain why they used it and if anyone else had me... 

Do it! [nt]

 By: hewitgar : March 6th, 2020-18:42

It's a big deciding factor for me too!

 By: patrick_y : March 7th, 2020-00:13
Come to think of it, the small independents might have an advantage. Everyone knows all the clients. It's all a big family.

This give me confidence that my watch will be...

 By: Ronald Held : March 7th, 2020-12:29
Repaired correctly and in a timely fashion.

I'm willing to bet it will be.

 By: patrick_y : March 8th, 2020-07:37
Give precise instructions. In bullet point form. Double check that there are no double entendres. And ask them to go over your instructions because there was a different meaning in one of my words from American English to European English which created so... 

I really dislike making assumptions...

 By: patrick_y : March 8th, 2020-12:36
I am very comfortable with American English, but when I was reading a very legal and technical European English paper, I had to admit that I was confused with their terminology and I was put in a very uncomfortable position of making assumptions of what t... 

Will have to have multiple correspondences to be certain all parties...

 By: Ronald Held : March 9th, 2020-09:18
Understand what needs/will be done.

Good advice! (nt)

 By: Ronald Held : March 10th, 2020-13:11