Disappointing Patek Service Experience

Jan 09, 2020,21:49 PM

Friends, I have posted images of my well worn Patek 5196P on this forum. Last month, I sent my watch for a full service to PP including case refurbishing as my beloved watch has lived a life in the real world and not a safe.

Can you believe my horror when PP told my AD that they will service this watch, but will not refinish the case as it would be difficult for them to meet their 2 year service warranty if they did so? What kind of BS is this? Other manufactures have laser filled my platinum cases when needed.

Is this the best they can do? I suppose their marketing slogan should be “You never really own a Patek Philippe, only only store it in the safe for the next generation.”

Absolute garbage. I’m upset beyond belief as I thought they were above this nonsense.

So the real learning is that PP watches are disposable goods after all, if one wears them like any watch is supposed to be worn. This particular manufacture is seemingly incapable of restoration, even of their modern pieces.

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Here’s a pic I posted on this forum a few weeks back.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-22:19
I feel stupid for speaking glowingly of this brand. I suppose that is common until one has been “had.” My case for sticking to an Apple Watch is stronger than ever as PP do not have case restoration skills after all, even for this routine daily wear exper...  

Very strange...

 By: FlyingSnoopy : January 9th, 2020-22:16
A boutique told that or an AD? Cheers

An Ad. And they confirmed that with PP after I pushed them and told them this was ridiculous.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-22:20
For now, all I can say is, buyer beware!

I should add, my AD has been beyond reproach.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-22:25
They did not charge me for shipping the watch to PP and returning it to me as PP do not have the skills to refinish the case. The issue is entirely with PP.


 By: FlyingSnoopy : January 10th, 2020-08:31
I would ask PP to put this in writing... Good luck Cheers

What does it mean?

 By: CastorKrieg : January 9th, 2020-22:28
You mention PP saying it ‘would be difficult for them to meet their 2 year service warranty’ - what do they mean by that?

I have no idea.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-22:46
I can only interpret it to mean a water resistance guarantee after case refinishing of a relatively slim watch. In any case, the wear was hardly “brutal.” It is not like I was shielding myself against a fall on concrete after jumping out of a plane with m... 

I agree amanico.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-23:12
Hence my outrage.

Thanks for the suggestion.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-23:31
I’ll call them to see if they can help. I am in the US, but I assume they can still assist me.

Oh, sad.

 By: Reuven Malter : January 9th, 2020-22:37
I can absolutely understand your feelings and think many companys like ALS would do it just as you supposed. How bad were these scratches actually? I remember pictures but not that your watch was THAT scratched. Regards Edit: havent seen the second post s... 

Nothing out of the ordinary.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-22:41
And even if it were, aren’t they blasting us with all their nonsense about how their watches are heirlooms? The least one can do in this instance is to make an effort.

With all due respect, how on earth am I supposed to know what they mean?

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 9th, 2020-22:38
I purchased a watch, not a cipher to some medieval Swiss communication medium. This is their communication back to their customer via their AD. I’m as much in the dark as you.

I am sorry about your terrible experience

 By: jim_94104 : January 10th, 2020-00:57
I was considering adding an entry level PP to complete my collection but after reading about yours and another forum reader's experience with them today. Perhaps I should keep my money and spare myself any aggrevation.

How about asking them to quote on replacing the part in question?

 By: nwk00 : January 10th, 2020-01:12
Maybe they didn't want to as it can be expensive. But I imagine part replacement would still have lower margin than when buying new.

I'm not sure what went on with your AD, but this is a very unusual story. If you are in the US, give a call to HSWA, or as other friends suggested, get in touch directly with Geneva.

 By: FabR : January 10th, 2020-01:48
Whatever you're being told, it's simply inconceivable that Patek won't work on a 5196P case -- they routinely (and successfully) take up much bigger challenges, even on watches long discontinued and in far worse shape than what we can see from your pictur... 

Yes, this isn’t cutting edge work when you look at my watch.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-07:18
What’s wrong here is a brand that doesn’t appear to have consistency across its network in its communication and customer care.

I have a similar experience

 By: w220 : January 10th, 2020-04:52
My Aquanaut, which I've been using hard for everything, was sent in for service sometime in the fall of 2019. HSWA could service the movement, but the case and bracelet was apparently so beat up they would not service it since they could not guarantee it ... 

Too many times in service...

 By: jmpTT : January 10th, 2020-06:44
The of transparency suggests they felt the “why” would infuriate you further, so they are withheld details in an attempt to avoid blowback. Right thing to do is to tell you why, give you options and, if you jump to their conclusion, at least you’re on the... 

I agree wholeheartedly. [nt]

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-07:10

Interesting experience with your Aquanaut.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-07:16
Let me ask for a split service. The communication channels are really poor here. They make you work too hard to get simple answers after collecting your money. Is there a way to contact Patek directly and not through a courier pigeon?

That is heartening.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-07:26
I’ll call HSWA. I’m still miffed as they shouldn’t be putting their customer through this nonsense. I suppose the issue is with the service center in the US and their poor communication. This is as simple a case as they come. I only shudder to imagine wha... 

I’ll contact HSWA directly as some have suggested and then Geneva after that.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-07:28
They should let me decide if I want to pay whatever it takes to restore the case to top condition and not make assumptions on my behalf.

Agreed. [nt]

 By: amanico : January 10th, 2020-07:29

A quick update.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-07:51
My AD asked if the service center can send the watch to Geneva for some options and they said this type of case restoration can’t be done in Geneva either. This appears highly unlikely. They said polishing a thin case can compromise case integrity for the... 

Thanks for the update, this sounds more reasonable. Once Patek finally receives your watch, they will no doubt offer you some viable options.

 By: FabR : January 10th, 2020-08:22
Of course, you should only expect a solution consistent with the highest standards, but you WILL be offered one. Watches are meant to be worn, and Patek knows that very well ;-) I'm ready to bet quite a lot that while the final result will probably be exp... 

And that goes to my question

 By: watch-er : January 12th, 2020-06:16
of TP polishing. Why is your cast thin? Wear and tear did not make it thin. Polishing seems the culprit.

Something doesn’t sound right...

 By: blownhippie : January 10th, 2020-08:16
Patek can refurb anything they have ever made. May charge you for a new case but it can be done. I would, as others have said, speak with HSWA directly. Are you sure your AD sent the watch to Patek and aren’t trying to service it themselves?

Clearly they can put a new case on

 By: watch-er : January 12th, 2020-06:17
but then its not an original piece. Its a "franken" watch from a historical prospective.

I would disagree.

 By: blownhippie : January 13th, 2020-14:52
A manufacture is replacing the damaged case of a current collection timepiece is completely different. You aren’t changing out a dial/hands/movement from a different watch. As long as they engrave the original case serial number in the new case, you are g... 

I did not know they would engrave

 By: watch-er : January 15th, 2020-13:47
the original case number of the case.

Another quick update

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-08:38
I contacted HSWA and this was a great experience. They were patient, polite and explained their rationale. They told me that job #1 for them is the functioning of the movement and the integrity of the case. My watch bezel has a lot of dings, not just a pa... 

If Geneva gets this watch, they'll surely do whatever is needed but at a good cost. It's okay for a watch like 5196P to get the best of treatment.

 By: Pun : January 10th, 2020-18:41
Thought it'll be a long wait before you get your watch back after sending it to Patek Philippe Genève.

You answered the polishing question.

 By: watch-er : January 12th, 2020-06:18
Good luck with this. On an older piece, I always deal directly with Stern as they are top rate and very cooperative.

refinishing the case is not covered by the warranty service...

 By: Fricks : January 10th, 2020-08:57
.. they can do it, but you have to pay it, like every other brand by the way.

This is not a warranty service.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-09:00
The issue at hand is that they may not be able to assure their 2year post-service warranty if they can’t assure case integrity. PP offer a 2 year warranty when you service your watch through them.

Another update

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-14:24
HSWA have decided they can refurbish the case after all and it was a very reasonable estimate for this service. The communication was excellent once they got involved. I’d like to thank those who recommended I get in touch with HSWA directly, as they reso... 


 By: rishad771 : January 10th, 2020-21:03
And thanks for sharing with us. Rishad

I feel HSWA did a great job without overpromising.

 By: Horo_Traveler : January 10th, 2020-21:18
As always, it is all about communication. I will admit I have been in PP’s situation when I have used intermediaries for my own business, such as international dealers. Everyone means well, but it isn’t unusual for us to often resolve issues directly with... 

Good to hear that all's well, and we look forward to you getting your watch back in great shape.

 By: Rhyzen : January 11th, 2020-18:24
What is dreadful is the thought that there are other clients out there who did not know the right party to reach out to. The initial responses to you were simply unprofessional.

Was your watch ever refinished

 By: watch-er : January 12th, 2020-06:12
by a third party? If so, PP policy is not touch the case.

Can you back that statement up?

 By: VintageCollector : January 12th, 2020-12:45
I have never heard (or experinced) that that should be a policy.