Oooops! The watch went in the washer


A close friend of our family recently explained he forgot to check
his pockets and his Girard Perregaux men’s wrist watch tumbled for
the complete cycle in the washer, and, tumbled for the complete
medium heat cycle in the dryer. The watch is 18K and still in its
original shape, the crystal is not damaged but it no longer keeps
time. He took it to his local jeweler in Indiana and was told the
watch could not be repaired.

I am a great believer in asking again and again when I am told
something cannot be done. Surely there is someone on Orchid who
knows how to repair this or can provide a recommendation of a well
known genius in the field of watch repair. Perhaps some parts must be
replaced but most of the watch is salvageable. It was new in 1956
and was a graduation gift from his dad. It has a leather strap, a
second hand, no date box, arabic numbers, diameter is 1.5 inches,
thickness is 3/8 inches. I think our friend would fly to Switzerland
for repairs if necessary because of the sentimental value.

Looking forward to hearing from every positive thinking, high quality
watch repairer in our marvelous Orchid organization.

Many thanks in advance,
Mary A.

I hate to give away my secrets, but these folks can fix any watch.
They’re amazing!

I collect antique wristwatches and some of the ones I buy are in
terrible shape. Heritage makes them run like new and, if I’m willing
to pay, will make them look like new too. They’re not cheap but
they’re well worth the money, and you can feel comfortable keystoning
with that one year warrantee they give.

The watch is 18K and still in its original shape, the crystal is
not damaged but it no longer keeps time. He took it to his local
jeweler in Indiana and was told the watch could not be repaired. 

Send it to the company! What watchmaker meant is that he cannot
repair it.

I had original Rado. My wife decided that she wanted one of the new
ceramic ones. I took her to very large and reputable Rado dealer on
Madison, in New York. Salesman offered my to clean my watch as well,
which I allowed them to do. They absolutely screwed it up. After
their cleaning it stopped. They accepted responsibility and tried to
repair it unsuccessfully. Eventually it had to be sent to the
factory. Not every watchmaker can be trusted with fine watch.

Leonid Surpin

Not every watchmaker can be trusted with fine watch. 

chuckle. And not every jewelry sales person can be trusted with ANY
watch. I remember back when I first worked for a mall jewelry store
(1976) One of the young sales guys, a really nice guy who tried
really hard to help his customers and us, the jewelers, helped a
customer who was having her rings cleaned. We’d showed him how to
clean rings in the ultrasonic and steam them off, check for loose
stones, etc. And of course we’d warned him about some of the things
he had to be more careful with when cleaning. But we apparently
weren’t complete in the list. He apparently didn’t connect all the
dots, because he also offered to clean her wristwatch for her, if she
wanted. He did the same, ultrasonic, steam, etc, to her watch. Not
surprisingly, it didn’t like that treatment. It was one of those red
LED electronic digital watches that were newly popular for a
mercifully short time back then. It never lit another LED, and we
had to replace the thing. Fortunately, it wasn’t one of the more
costly ones…


More than likely the movement is rusted beyond salvage, assuming
parts can even be had, which on something like that is not a
certainty. Even if the movement is overhauled its still likely to
have ongoing problems, for which the watchmaker would get the
headaches so I don’t blame the jeweler for declining it.

A competent watchmaker can retrofit a new movement into the case,
your friend would have the option of converting to quartz. Even
though the xtl may still look good its advisable to replace it along
with a new stem and crown and maybe the tube. You’d want to minimize
further intrusion of moisture. Experience in this situation says do
the whole job or don’t do anything at all.

All I can suggest is a very knowledgeable watchmaker in my town of
San Diego if you don’t find other answers. It’s “A Gunalp Horologist
Watch & Clock Shop”, Tel: 619-296-3638. He’s probably not a visitor
or member of Ganoksin so would never see your post. He is, however,
a miracle worked when it comes to old watches/clocks.

Mary Young