How to get a 1960s wristwatch repaired

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How to get a 1960s wristwatch repaired

Post by koimaster » January 3rd 2022, 1:11pm

By Jeanne Huber
May 9, 2016

Q: In 1968, my parents, who are now deceased, gave me a Bulova Ambassador watch for my graduation from law school. The watch has much sentimental value (as well as practical utility). The automatic movement stopped working. I gave the watch to a jeweler, who replaced the automatic movement with a quartz movement that didn’t really fit, particularly the opening for the date. I sent the watch to a Bulova repair center in New York, but they couldn’t help. And I haven’t been able to find the correct Bulova watch movement on eBay. I still have the original movement (in pieces). On the back, in three lines, it reads, “AV SEMAG/SWISS/1 ONE JEWEL.” Do you know who can get my watch back to its original condition?

Rockville

A: Voskan Galooshian, owner of Midiya Jewelry Design & Repair Shop in Bethesda (301-951-8895; midiyajewelersbethes damd.com), said he should be able to help. But he’d need to see the watch to give even a ballpark estimate of the price. “It could be hundreds, it could be thousands,” he said.


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How to get a 1960s wristwatch repaired

The automatic movement in a reader’s cherished Bulova Ambassador watch stopped working. (Reader photo)
By Jeanne Huber
May 9, 2016

Q: In 1968, my parents, who are now deceased, gave me a Bulova Ambassador watch for my graduation from law school. The watch has much sentimental value (as well as practical utility). The automatic movement stopped working. I gave the watch to a jeweler, who replaced the automatic movement with a quartz movement that didn’t really fit, particularly the opening for the date. I sent the watch to a Bulova repair center in New York, but they couldn’t help. And I haven’t been able to find the correct Bulova watch movement on eBay. I still have the original movement (in pieces). On the back, in three lines, it reads, “AV SEMAG/SWISS/1 ONE JEWEL.” Do you know who can get my watch back to its original condition?

Rockville

A: Voskan Galooshian, owner of Midiya Jewelry Design & Repair Shop in Bethesda (301-951-8895; midiyajewelersbethes damd.com), said he should be able to help. But he’d need to see the watch to give even a ballpark estimate of the price. “It could be hundreds, it could be thousands,” he said.


If that doesn’t work, you have other options. The Bulova Service Center in New York recommends using Watchophilia (watchophilia.com) as a source for leads. (The service center does not work on watches from the 1960s, only newer ones.) One possibility gleaned from Watchophilia is Darlor Watch Restorations in Ontario, Canada (289-868-9699; [email protected]). Owner Darryl Lesser, a certified watchmaker for 23 years, said he’s sure he can help. “Throw all the parts into an envelope and send them to me,” he said.

If he can use the old mechanism, Lesser estimated the repair would cost about $75. If he needs to install a different but still authentic mechanism, figure on about $150. Finding the necessary part shouldn’t be a problem. “I have over 2,500 vintage Bulova movements in stock,” Lesser said during a phone call. Then, after looking at the picture and details you sent, he followed up with an email: “100 percent I can restore this piece. It is a 11AHAC series Bulova automatic caliber, and I have a few in stock.” Only “garbage jewelers” take out old Bulova mechanisms and replace them with modern movements, he said, because that undercuts the watch’s value.


A third approach is to look for repair shops listed on the website of the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors (nawcc.org). One company listed there is GCA La Precision (703-255-0055; viennawatchandclockrepair.com), a company in Vienna, Va., with an interest in repairing multi-function, complicated watches. The master watchmaker, Guido Calvetti Alave, is Rolex-trained and certified. The company has a large inventory of parts and also manufactures parts when necessary.

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