Manhattan Time Service, a family business specializing in Breitling, Longines, and Rolex watch repair, is educating consumers about the ETA SA Swiss Watch Manufacturer's decision to stop selling its movement to many of the market's biggest names in 2012. Available at http://www.WatchRepairNY.com, the repair service is forecasting some major ramifications from this industry change, including possible market-wide price increases for both consumers and major manufacturers.
"ETA has long served as the primary watch movement supplier for big names like Bulgari, Breitling, Ebel, Hublot, and Movado, and there are arguments on both sides as to whether or not cutting outside sales is a fair decision. But regardless of the fairness, the pending market change is going to make a significant impact on Breitling, Bulgari, and TAG Heuer watch repair procedures and listing prices," said Mitchell Lodowski, a Master Watchmaker who founded Manhattan Time Service in 1978.
The Swatch Group owner of ETA began restricting its movements on Jan. 1, 2012, with the implication of continued cutbacks throughout the coming year. The decision has been on the table for several years, Lodowski noted, affording major watch companies the chance to prepare for a cutoff in supplies. Different brands have employed different techniques: some are in a process of developing their own in-house movements, stocking up on ETA movements, and forming relationships with alternative Swiss manufacturers, among other strategies. For many manufacturers, the industry consensus is that the stockpiled ETA movements will eventually run out, with some serious potential consequences for major watch distributors including TAG Heuer and Breitling watches, among other prominent brands.
Before the scarcity of the Swiss-made ETA movements became a concern, the most common and cost-effective repair technique for companies was to simply to swap out movements that were defective or in need of repair. During this procedure, the technician must open up the watch, separate the stem and crown, and unscrew the movement ring in order to separate the movement from the case. Next, the technician will carefully remove the hands and separate the dial from the movement. After this, the defective mechanism can be swapped with a brand new ETA movement and the watch can be reassembled. Although not a simple procedure, this method of repair only obligates the technician to posses limited skills.
Lodowski speculates that this practice will change as the conservation of movements runs out; for major companies it will be less profitable and more time consuming to disassemble, clean, and re-lubricate the movements, putting more weight on after-sales service in companies dealing with Breitling, Bulgari, and TAG Heuer watch repair on an everyday basis. To address the upcoming challenges, in particular the more complicated watch service procedures, Lodowski predicts, companies will be compelled to either hire more highly skilled watchmakers or outsource their repairs to specialized repair services.
"The bottom line is that there is a difficult road ahead for watch manufacturers outside of the Swatch Group that rely on the ETA movement. Services with decades of experience in ETA-brand repair — including Longines and Omega watch repair — are likely to serve an important role in the industry's recovery from this drastic change," Lodowski noted.
Manhattan Time Service is well-versed in ETA repairs, having been in operation since 1978 and worked primarily on timepieces with ETA movements. Focusing on Breitling watch repair and the past service provider for TAG Heuer, among other prominent brands, WatchRepairNY.com offers a one-year warranty on its services. Led by Lodowski, the skilled watchmakers receive regular training from the Swatch Group to keep up-to-date with changes and updates in regard to lubrication standards and repair procedures; Lodowski was re-certified as recently as 2011 in co-axial escapement repair, and updated on bracelet and case refinishing, CD/extranet navigation, and water resistance testing, in addition to brand-specific bracelet and case construction.
To learn more about Manhattan Time Service and the company's expertise in Bulgari, Breitling, and TAG Heuer watch repair, visit http://www.WatchRepairNY.com or dial 866-969-9069. The company promotes its services through social media as well, with profiles at http://www.facebook.com/WatchRepairNY and http://twitter.com/ProWatchRepair.