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Swatch Group / Hamilton Watch / Repair rip-off scheme

1 Secaucus, NJ, United States Review updated:


I sent my Hamilton Khaki quartz watch back to the Swatch Group for replacement of a broken crystal in early January, 2009. The watch was purchased new in the late 1990s, and was off the 5 year warranty, but I wanted to have the watch properly re-sealed and the vacuum restored inside the case. After speaking to them on the phone, I was told to send the watch for a repair estimate. I sent it, in its original box, with the original warranty and dealer purchase information. Mistake! I got an estimate back by email, and then by regular mail, stating that they couldn't repair the watch because they no longer have the correct parts and would not repair it unless it could be returned to its original specs. They would keep the watch until I either authorized its return, so I could get it fixed on my own (they'd direct me to a list of "qualified" watch repair people.) OR, I could purchase a brand new watch from them at a generous 30% off retail. Woo-hoo! You can buy a new Hamilton from Ashford, or many other online retailers for a lot less that that. I was pissed, and told them I only needed them to replace a very common round crystal, the was probably exactly the same as on some of their new watches, but no dice. They just wanted me to buy a new watch at a substantial profit to them, and then keep my still running, still good watch, that only needed a crystal.

So told them to send it back to me. When it arrived it came without the case. When called about that, they said they'd look for it, but they don't keep them because there was no room to store them. I told them the watch was collectible with the case, and wanted the original one back. They first insisted they had no record of having received the case, and that they photographed each watch as it was received. Wrong! It WAS sent in the case. They said they'd look for it and get back to me by the next day. I don't know if they did the former; they definitely never did the later. When I called them back again a week later, they said they'd look again. Then I was told they'd found the case and would send it. I asked for confirmation that it was the original. Was told it was. But what they sent me was a huge modern case in a hideous orange color. It has just kept going on, they insisting I never sent the box, and that they wouldn't fix the watch when. I told them to just send me a similar, inexpensive (relatively) new Quartz Khaki, they said they could, but I'd have to send mine back. (Ok...) And buy the new watch on their "exchange program" for 30% off retail. This has been going on for three months since I received the “sorry” non-estimate. Now we're pretty much right back where we started. I've still got a nice watch with a broken crystal…and now I don’t have the original box. They’ve got me madder than hell about being jerked around and getting ripped off by a scheme to simply sell customers new watches at a very nice profit.

Can you say, "rip-off", boys and girls? Don’t send your watch back to Swatch. Don’t buy one of their overpriced, brands either. Based on my experience, they certainly don’t support them.

(data removed)

Date : 12/22/2009
Customer No: 979999
ENGEL JOE 955.122 9859 NA
> Upon completion of our evaluation, we have determined that the necessary spare parts are
no longer available to repair your watch.
> which consists of a 30% discount off the retail cost of a new watch.
> We would like to extend to you the opportunity to participate in our Replacement Program
> Your current watch will not be returned if the replacement option is chosen.
> Once you have chosen a model, we do not offer returns or exchanges.
TOTAL... 0.00

55 Metro Way, Suite 1, Secaucus, NJ 07094. Tel [protected]. Fax [protected].
Email :

We have received your watch for repair. Based on the purchase date or
specific repair issue, your watch is covered under warranty and no payment is
required. Please retain this acknowledgement for reference when inquiring about your
repair. Thank you.

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  • Lt
      27th of Apr, 2011
    +1 Votes

    This letter is one example of why there are so few watchmakers today. You state "I was pissed, and told them I only needed them to replace a very common round crystal, the was probably exactly the same as on some of their new watches, but no dice." What qualifies YOU to make such a statement? obviously nothing or you'd be repairing the watch yourself. When a crystal cracks the smallest piece can fall into the watch movement and stop the train gear. This certainly may be the case in your situation. The watchmaker now has to Overhaul the movement of your watch. To assume that parts will always be available for every watch ever manufactured (or your 10 year old watch that may be a lot older if the Jeweler had it in stock for a long time) is just plain stupid especially if your watch is not "high end" or a popular model. I think it was very generous for Swatch Service to offer you a discount on a new watch. They could have just sent it back to you. Also, Its a DISPLAY BOX. Its not for shipping and has NOTHING to do with the repair. Keep it at home as the Swatch website instructs you to do. They receive thousands of repairs and your DISPLAY BOX dosent stay with the watch when its processed through a shop as the watchmaker simply dosent need it. Also, its not safe to ship a watch in a DISPLAY box. Some shops throw them away or charge extra to ship back.
    While I think Swatch Service Center in Secaucus, NJ has the worst customer service around, I think they did right by you. Maybe there is hope for them. As for you, show a little respect for the dyeing ART of watchmaking. If you cant, then don't wear a nice watch.

  • Nu
      11th of May, 2011
    0 Votes

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