A Cheap (But Costly) Repair Job

A customer brought me a beautiful E. N. Welch walnut kitchen clock he had just purchased at an auction. It had a fantastic original painted dial, a great looking nickel plated bezel, and a pretty case that just needed cleaning. I examined the movement and said that it needed to be overhauled because one of the clicks in the winding mechanism was very loose and needed a new rivet installed. If the click had been left as is, it could come off, letting the winding key spin backwards, possibly damaging the customer’s hand. I quoted my usual price of the time (late 1990’s), $175 – $275 with a two year warranty. The customer didn’t want to pay that much, so he took the clock and left.

A month later, he returned with the clock. He had complained to the auctioneer about the clock not working, so the auctioneer sent him to “X” who would fix it for $35.

It didn’t look like the same clock. The beautiful, original painted dial had been replaced with a new paper dial, the nice nickeled bezel had been polished so much that the brass was showing through, the clock didn’t run well, and the click was still loose. The movement apparently had been “cleaned” but no repair had been done. I quoted the same repair price as before, and the customer said he would think about it.

Seeing repair work like this makes me sad. 😥 A beautiful clock in nice original condition, that would have looked fantastic with a little TLC to the case, became just another old clock, although it still had a pretty case.

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One comment

  1. WD-40 seems to be a “choice” lubricant for many “bargain basement” clock repairmen, as well!
    Dials, paint, rubber parts and non-optical grade plastics will usually melt, warp, or cause the subject clock to incur massive amounts of cleaning before correct repair work is even an issue.

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