The wrist watch might be an anachronism in this age of smartphones, but there are still people who cling to the comfort of slender hands pointing to numbers spaced around a dial under which an astonishingly intricate mechanism beats as delicately as a hummingbird’s heart. These aficionados often seek repair shops that specialize in vintage watches, such as Dimitrie Vicovanu’s meticulously arranged booth on West 47th Street in Manhattan’s diamond district. Mr. Vicovanu, 73, who learned antique watch repairs as a profession at the behest of the autocratic Romanian government that sent him to Lausanne, Switzerland, is a master at his craft. His customers, who include photographers and the founder of a watch-news site called Hodinkee, come to him because repairs by a manufacturer can take months.
He charges $175 for a simple cleaning, while very complicated repairs that require dismantling the mechanism can cost up to $2,000. Most of the actual work is done in his workshop in Queens, where more than 20,000 parts are organized and labeled in special file cabinets with scores of small drawers.
At this little mom-and-pop shop, Yelpers rave about candid, direct service. Owners JWATCH are quick to determine whether a watch is worth repairing and charge a fair price for their work, they say. They’re especially good at engraving wedding rings and restoring old clocks, according to some reviews.
Located on the border of Park Slope and Prospect Heights, this jewelry store has a strong reputation for speedy, inexpensive watch repairs. Several Yelpers say they can swap out batteries or resize a watch band in minutes flat and usually for $7 or less.
This Manhattan jeweler’s customers are usually in a hurry, but the cluttered shop has charm. Founded in 1939, it was once the exclusive supplier of Seiko’s precision movement. It’s still the place to go for repairs on luxury brands like Rolexes and Patek Philippes.
Managing director Henry Ly emails his customers photos of their watches with highlighted notes explaining what needs to be fixed or replaced. When a customer brought in a 1980s Rolex Day Date with a cracked calendar wheel, he emailed her a photo of the broken piece with suggestions on replacing it. He says he does this to help owners keep their watches in working condition. wrist watch repair shop near me