Experience of VC branch on Old Bond Street.

 

Some years ago, I acquired a 453 / 2c (possibly 458 though), 34 mm 18k gold manual winding VC wristwatch, which was made in 1944. Case, back and movement are all signed and numbered. The hands may have been reset at some stage, the strap is new, but the buckle is probably original. Nothing remarkable, as it goes, but lovely to me.

 

This afternoon I dropped into the VC branch in Old Bond Street, with a view to having my watch serviced, obtaining a certificate of authenticity, and possibly a different strap.

 

What transpired was, umm… odd.

 

The three members of staff whom I dealt with did not appear to grasp that I was presenting a vintage watch. To my eyes, she is unmistakably so. Consequently it was a little confusing to have to state her age three times.

 

They did manage to explain, with some degree of clarity, questions about the servicing process.

 

As for the rest? Hard sell. The kind of hard sell that relies on flustering the customer until they relent. In part this was in regard to leaving the watch with them today, though I was adamantly against this, but mostly it was about flogging a strap. 

 

Put bluntly, it felt like scam central.

 

I would be keen to hear your thoughts about this, and any advice on where to leave my watch for servicing, etc..

 

Many thanks,

 

Irène.

I wish I could offer better advice, but...
09/04/2014 - 22:26

First, I am surprised. I've never been to that boutique, but the ones I've been to have never braved that way.  I would probably personally ship it to Geneva for servicing, especially since "she" is a vintage piece.  (I love that you use that pronoun to describe "her") .

Second, we would love to see a picture of your watch. I am sure it is, as you clearly feel, a beautiful piece. A wristshot would be well-received, I am sure. 

Re: I wish I could offer better advice, but...
09/05/2014 - 19:34

Mm, am thinking it would be a good excuse for a trip to Geneva. I do not currently live in London, and popping to Switzerland is just as easy.

Here are some (rather unflattering) images, taken some  time ago. 

 

TESSSTTESSSTTESSST

 

Shall see if I can get a good wrist shot in the next day or so.

Thanks you, she is very beautiful. Wear in good health. (nt)
09/06/2014 - 11:52
Please excuse the appalling quality...
09/07/2014 - 22:33

Away from home, and a decent camera, but here goes.

 

 

 

TESSSTTESSST

 

Delightful. A beautiful piece indeed.
09/08/2014 - 02:31

Thank you for sharing. Looks lovely on your arm - a perfect compliment. 

love the 2 tone dial
09/08/2014 - 09:14

.

Re:
09/21/2014 - 22:52

Thank you, both. You are too kind.

The dial picks up all manner of light, in wonderful ways.

 

 

Re: Experience of VC branch on Old Bond Street.
09/05/2014 - 04:26

I'm sorry to read that you had a disappointing experience at the boutique. They should have enough experience with taking in vintage watches that they could quickly and clearly run you through the process as far as having it serviced by the brand itself, whether or not you were ready to leave the watch with them. 

For both the servicing and the issuing of a COA, the watch will have to go to VC's facility in Geneva. I like to start the process at a local AD or boutique so that someone else handles the shipping and insurance, though you can certainly manage it yourself if you are so inclined. They might not have told you that service on a vintage watch takes A REALLY LONG TIME! My watch from 1950 took about a year from drop off to return. The service and COA cost about as much as a nice new Omega, and it was worth it. FWIW, I had them put on a new strap with the service.

i hope this helps.

Bill

Re: Re: Experience of VC branch on Old Bond Street.
09/05/2014 - 19:54

Gracious, that is a long time, but suspect that your watch is more complicated than mine.

Though I gather that it is recommended to get delicate instruments serviced every few years or so, am somewhat wary of meddling unless a problem has arisen. Perhaps that is foolish?

Something to ponder.

Really sorry to hear this. However for vintage watches the servicing is done in Geneva that is
09/05/2014 - 11:08

why the asked you to leave the watch with them

Re: Really sorry to hear this. However for vintage watches the servicing is done in Geneva that is
09/05/2014 - 19:50

It is ok, these things happen.

They did let me know that she would have to go to Geneva, which is absolutely fine, but I did not appreciate their push to take custody of the watch on the spot. I had to be firm and I had to reiterate my position more than once.

I possibly overstated things when posting last night. Am confident that there was no ill intent, but the experience did not inspire any confidence.

Wishing you all a glorious weekend,

Irène.

It is a shame that you didn't not enjoy you visite to the Boutique
09/08/2014 - 18:52

for what it is worth I can only say good things about the London team, every time that I have gone in the Boutique the service has been excellent and I have been treated like a king...

 

Hopefully your next visit will be a different and more enjoyable experience!

 

Francois

Re: Experience of VC branch on Old Bond Street in 2014, with updates.
03/25/2017 - 00:48

The years elapse, and the plot thickens...

 

Five days after making my last post on this thread in 2014, I received an unsolicted email from a member of staff at Client Marketing in VC London. 

This was surprising. I had obtained correct advice on this thread, and had stated my intention to take my watch to Geneva myself. 

It was also confusing to get an email pressing me to leave my watch in London, given that I had expressed dismay at being pressed to leave my watch in London.

And the email was deeply unwelcome. If I had wished to raise my concerns with VC, I would have done so. Instead I came here to seek reassurance from other, more experienced VC owners. Whilst it is not a bad thing that The Hour Lounge relays comments back to relevant departments, I feel it is inappropriate to hand over the contact details of forum members. I trust that this will not happen again.

I thanked the member of staff for their email, and stated that I would take my watch to Geneva myself, as it is as easy for me to get to as London. I did not voice any of my views about being emailed, as I did not wish to put them in the position of having to reply further, nor to have to hear from them again.

 

 

Two years later, the strap caught on my sleeve, the case opened a little, the glass dropped out, and the back of the mechanism was possibly stuck to the back of her case. Luckily it was a small fall, the floor was clean and smooth and I had a piece of silk and a box handy to gently protect her and prevent things jiggling around. There was no cosmetic damage detectable under good light and a magnifier, but I was worried about the mechanism and did not dare to try to put the glass back in myself. I was in London but had no desire to return to VC, so instead went to the authorised dealer from whom I had acquired her. The member of staff I dealt with there was fantastic. He examined her, took photographs, explained the process of getting a repair and service estimate via VC with time frames and all of that. Great. They obtained the estimate from VC in due course and passed it onto me, I approved the necessary work (complete service, new crown and case repair), but declined optional work (polish best possible, hands set, small seconds hand set, new glass). Last week I was informed that she was ready for collection. Hurrah. 

I collected her on Tuesday. First thing I noticed is how shiny she looked. Then I spottted a largeish scratch on the glass over the second repeater, and also some little ones in a bunch on the side. I raised this with the staff member I was dealing with, and she explained that the scratches were on the bevel. I demonstrated that this was not the case and she said that the glass had been scratched when I brought her in. Well, yes it had, but in other locations. The scratches which had been on the glass at handover were not as long, deep or prominent, and are now no longer visible. These new scratches can be felt through a microfibre cloth. I was calm and reassured her that I would still pay in full as I had no way to prove that these scratches had occured after hand over. She relaxed considerably at that point. The photos which had been taken by her colleague were of no use to either of us, as the resolution was too low. She said that she could return the watch to VC in Geneva, but I did not wish to risk that, so I just asked her to feedback to anyone handling watches to check their systems are not awry in some way. That was all great, we had a bit of social chat, shook hands and off I went.

Then I noticed a few other cosmetic things that seemed amiss. The lugs looked different but I couldn't put my finger on why. The numbers had always been wonky, but now they were wonky in different ways. There was a rather unappealing VC cross on the crown (but it was a new crown so fair enough). The "Swiss" inscribed below 6 o'clock was not as visible as previously. The glass felt like it had a different angle to before, but I attributed that to the polishing process (though I can't imagine how deep scratches would need to be to make it detectable to the touch). The strap (fortunately not a good one) looked a bit chomped in places where it had not been before. I tried to push these thoughts out of my head and told myself I was imagining things. 

But the thoughts did not dissipate, so I had a look at some images I have of her to verify that I was being silly. The clearest thing, which you can see in the images in this thread, is the little holes in the lugs on the crown side which give access to the strap pins. The holes had vanished. Perhaps they were never supposed to be there? The angle of the lugs is also ever so slightly different, they are fractionally longer, and the way in which they merge with the grooves on the side of the watch is not as refined. Strange. The numbers are indeed wonky in different ways. At this point I got a little frantic, so I opened her up. She looks GLORIOUS inside, whirring away, and lubricated and just heaven, all markings and numbers intact and the gems gleaming.... mmmm.

So honestly, I don't massively care about the scratches or the rest. It is just.. disconcerting, but it isn't as if anyone can restore those things after the fact. She's not valuable as things go, just, yeh. Meantime I realised from emails that I had not approved of a polish at all or been charged for it, in which case why are the scratches that HAD been there no longer there? If this is part of a complete service, why was it offered as optional work? And why has the glass changed angle? Ho hum. The hands look better though, even though I had not approved or paid for that either. Curiouser and curiouser. There are an array of other issues but I have waffled on more than enough already.

 

Am not sure what I want from this post. I definitely do NOT want to be contacted directly by anyone from VC, though they are welcome to comment on this thread. I suppose I ought to write a letter to head office, but I have no desire to get into a discussion with them, and I am not seeking compensation. I think I just feel a bit confused and would like a bit of sympathy? Or a slap?

 

Thank you for reading, if you have got this far.

 

Photos may follow in the morning. I want to use the same camera as the images already posted, just for the sake of continuity.