Where are you based?
For security reasons I don't reveal the exact location of my workshop online. It's based in Brentford in London. Once orders are confirmed I will share the address with you.
For legal and admin purposes, my company registered address is based at my home in Twickenham.
Margolis Watch Company Ltd
Flat 7, 211 St Margarets Road
No watches are kept at this location.
Margolis Watch Company Ltd is registered in England. Company number 11798905. VAT Number: 314491907
Why do watches need to be serviced?
Quite simply, because of friction. All mechanical things slowly destroy themselves over time. Parts rub against parts and slowly wear out. My job is to make that process take as long as possible. And I do that mostly through careful cleaning and correct lubrication. The problem with lubricants, especially if you don’t service your watch for long periods, is that over the years tiny particles of the movement erode and mix with the oil turning it into grinding paste. This runaway erosion effect makes the situation worse and can be detrimental to the precision and longevity of the watch. And it can also lead to very expensive repairs further down the line.
People often invest in expensive watches not thinking about the maintenance costs. It’s really important to take this into consideration when buying a watch. You will need to look after it forever if you want it to last and stay precise.
How often should I service my mechanical watch?
Every 3 to 5 years.
How often should I service my quartz watch?
Every 8 to 10 years. Sometimes they can't be serviced but the movement can be replaced.
How much will it cost to service my watch?
It depends a lot on what it is and how many complications it has. As a very rough guide, you should budget £200 for a simple watch that just tells the time, £250 for an automatic and £350 for a chronograph. But this can vary quite a bit. I might need parts and there may be repairs to do.
How much will it cost to repair my watch?
It’s impossible to say without doing an inspection first. An inspection costs £50. But I will deduct this from the final repair bill if you decide to go ahead with it.
What does a service involve?
During a service the watch is completely taken apart. Every single piece is dissembled, turning it into a kit of parts. Every screw, every spring, every wheel. At this point I’ll probably take a picture and send it to you. It’s fun seeing your watch in tiny pieces. (And maybe I take perverse pleasure in terrifying my customers!)
All the parts are put in an ultrasonic cleaner and meticulously cleaned using a couple of different chemicals. We will often use things like fixodrop on escape wheels and pallet stones to prevent oil migrating from them. Precision parts like the hairspring and balance jewels will need extra cleaning in degreasing fluids. Often jewels will be “pegged out” to get rid of hardened oil deposits. Or balance staffs, often on vintage watches, will be polished and pallet forks burnished. The mainspring will usually be replaced. I do a lot of things other watchmakers don’t always bother with. I’m a major perfectionist.
Then everything is put back together and oiled using sometimes as many as five or six different types of lubricant depending on what the manufacturer recommends. Oiling is a real art form. You have to get the amounts exactly right. Too much and it migrates and the watch will need servicing again. Too little and the watch won’t run well. I’m always amazed when I service watches how they are often so poorly oiled!
When everything is back together the movement will be electronically regulated to make sure the balance is swinging with a good amplitude and the watch is keeping good time in all positions.
The case is given a good clean and a gentle buff. If requested I can do other restoration work at this stage like polishing, re-plating and re-luming hands. I can also restore certain kinds of dials and re-paint enamel paint on bezels. And all the usual odd jobs such as replacing straps, putting in a new crystal and replacing spring bars.
Finally all the gaskets are checked and replaced if necessary. And a pressure test is performed to make sure the watch is waterproof. Please note that vintage watches often can not be made waterproof.
The process takes half a day to a day depending on the complexity of the watch. But there is usually a queue of a week or two depending on how busy I am.
Do you use original parts and where do they come from?
Yes, all parts are original. I source parts from many different places. I have lots in stock. I use suppliers such as Cousins. I share parts with other watchmakers, some items come from other countries in Europe and sometimes from the US, Canada and Australia. You have to be well connected to be a watchmaker!
From time to time there will be parts I can't find. And in this case I may be able to make it for you.
Is my watch safe when it's with you?
Yes. I take a huge amount of care with watches and everything is kept in a secure premises. I am also protected by professional indemnity insurance and goods in trust insurance. However, I recommend you check with your insurance policy to make sure your watch is covered whilst being repaired. And if you are posting watches to me, please always make sure you buy insurance.
How do I pay you?
Once I complete the work I will send you an invoice with payment instructions. I use bank transfer or PayPal if you prefer.
Is there a warranty on your repairs and servicing?
The service will insure your watch runs well for at least three years. If it doesn’t, I will inspect it for you. Providing it’s not been damaged, for instance due to impact, I will amend the issue free of charge. Also, if there is a part failure for a part I’ve provided within 3 years, I will replace it free of charge, so long as it's not failed due to being damaged from impact or negligence. From time to time the warranty may differ on certain parts, but I will discuss this with you before purchasing the part.
What if I just need a battery change?
I offer a battery change, inspection, gasket check and pressure test service for high-end quartz watches. It costs £75 including VAT.
Can you remove a link from my strap?
These kinds of “odd jobs” are difficult for me to fit in unless it’s part of a full service. Otherwise, high-street jewellers can often help.
Can you fix my digital watch or smart watch?
Sorry, not my thing :)
Are you looking for an apprentice?
Sorry, not at the moment. I prefer to work alone.
Can you value my watch?
Sorry, I’m just a repair guy!
Do you buy or sell watches?
I’m afraid not.
Do you offer discounts for collectors and regular customers?
Absolutely happy to talk about a “volume deal”. Please contact me to discuss.