My dad passed away a few months ago and I got his watch. It's an old Breitling Navitimer. I want to get it cleaned, oiled and fixed, but I hate to send it in the mail. What local watch repair place does anyone recommend for vintage watches?
Try Butterfield's or Beauchamp jewelers.
Mati Jewelers at Coronado sells and services Breitling. However, I believe they send it out for most work, especially if it needs repairs. I had them send out my 1968 Navitimer for repairs to the chrono sweep hand, new crystal, new band, cleaning, etc. It ain't cheap. They sent it to Horological Services in Boyertown, PA.
Yeah, I am most likely going to send it out to a Breitling specialist, either the folks in PA or a guy I found about about in Oregon. I stopped by a big local jeweler today and right away, the "watch expert" there started winding it and doing other things that shouldn't be done to a watch that hasn't been oiled in decades. He also said he hadn't worked on a Breitling, but that "they are all the same." Hm.
It's going to be very expensive, but this is a very valuable watch and - more importantly - a sentimental heirloom to me.
Try Noble House Jewelers on Menaul/Pennsylvania. I've had several items cleaned/fixed there and they've always done great work. Plus, they're local.
Clocks & More in the Hoffmantown Shopping Center on Menaul/Wyoming is pretty knowledgeable. If they don't do watches I bet they know who does. Also Gold and Silver Exchange on the north side of Menaul just east of San Pedro does a LOT of repair work on vintage jewelry and watches. Make sure and tell Dave Castle I sent you!
I looked into your suggestions; thanks all. I decided to send the watch to a Breitling specialist vintage watch repairman in Oregon. Others locally may have the expertise to work on vintage watches, but he also has experience with this particular watch and has the parts.
Shelton Jewelers @ Montgomery and San Pedro did an excellent job at a reasonable price repairing a pocket watch I had inherited from my paternal grandfather. I don't know about a Breitling specialist, but I am sure they would be able to refer you to one, perhaps locally, if that is your preference.
I am glad to know there are expert watch repair shops in Albuquerque. None of them have the Breitling experience and the actual Breitling parts for my watch.
Just a note; there are several notes here, encouraging shopping locally. Shopping locally is a value of mine. But it is only one component of my buying decision. All else being equal, or almost equal, I will shop locally. If a store doesn't have an item in that I want, I might have them order it for me and wait a few days and even pay a little more for it; to support local business.
But at some point, there is a tipping point. If I go to a local store and the price is double what it would cost me on the internet, if the shopkeeper gives me wrong information or is rude, if there isn't much choice/selection available in the local store, if I have to drive a great distance locally to an inconvenient location, if a repair person doesn't have the experience or expertise to do a specific kind of job ... a certain combination of these components eliminates any guilt I have for shopping on the internet or at a big box chain store. As a consumer, I shouldn't have to have to feel like I am supporting a charity when I'm shopping.
Sometimes it's really sad when a local business fails. Other times, I think they didn't do what they could have done to earn or keep my business, and I'm sorry, but that's nobody's fault but their own. There was a local bookstore I used to patronise. I asked for a specific book once and the guy at the counter said, "We don't carry that popular trash (or some similar word) here." So I felt kind of insulted. Also, he was smoking a pipe, so I didn't want to stay long and smell that. I gave them another chance, and ordered a book for my daughter's birthday. They said they'd call me, but they never did. When I asked a week later, they said it wasn't in yet, so I didn't get it in time. The next time I went in, another clerk found it and said it had been there all along. When they went out of business, everybody blamed Barnes and Noble.
Anyway, thanks for listening to my rant. I continue to start with local sources first, but it is not always the only consideration for me.