I know it may be hard to believe, but even a business that’s been here for nearly 25 years hears ‘That’s Outrageous’ from time to time. Infrequently as it’s heard around here, it’s usually in regard to a repair or other jewelry modification. Today I heard it as it related to the cost associated with shortening a watch band.
I was asked if we shortened watch bands and if it could be done ‘while I wait’. The answer to both of these questions was yes, and then I mentioned that the cost would be between 10 to 15 dollars, depending on the band. “That’s outrageous”, the voice over the phone replied. I said, ‘have a nice day’, and hung up. A call like this makes me wonder what people are thinking. We are a jewelry store, with actual jewelers, not a few kids in a garage playing with dad’s tools. We provide many services, and these services are performed by skilled, competent people.
As it turns out, we don’t just pull these prices out of thin air. With any service, there is a standard that the cost is based on, and other factors that are considered when deciding what to charge a customer. There is also competition, as consumers are savvy and will price-shop to be able to save a few dollars…so prices have to be reasonable, and there must be a perceived value for the services rendered.
With regard to most jewelry repair or modifications, our baseline is the industry standard known as Geller’s Blue Book, and it should be noted that we use the 2006 version, which saves our customers money right off the bat. So what does Geller’s have to say about that watch band? Well, if the band is the typical push-pin design, Geller’s recommended charge is $8.00 if the band is left with the jeweler for adjustment, or $12.00 if it is done while the customer waits. I should now tell you that Geller’s cites this 8 and 12 dollar charge PER SIDE. So, if you need two links removed while you wait, and want one link from each side taken out so that the band is balanced, we should charge $24.00.
As you can see, we charge a fair price that is well below the industry standard. Still have an issue with the cost, even though you’re spending money on something that you’ll wear for years and years? Most people don’t blink an eye at a $5 dollar Starbucks drink that’s gone in 5 minutes, but when it comes to jewelry or accoutrements we’re all too keen to spend the least amount possible for some reason…and that’s understandable I guess, because it cuts into our coffee budget, but there’s also an 'unknown' for us to consider: our experiences with shortening watch bands is that it can often be a pain in the butt…
If you had bought your watch from us, we wouldn’t charge to shorten the band in the first place, and would also be happy to do it because we sell quality watches with quality bands, which are a breeze to adjust. The watches that most people bring in here for adjustment, however, are not quality timepieces. They are purchased online, from middle to lower-end department stores, at auction, or a flea market and often have bands that are problematic and sometimes time-consuming as a result. I have actually refused to work on some of these bands because I knew that I would wind up breaking it just by trying to remove a pin. Of course, you can always take it back where you bought it…they may have the tools and experience to get the job done. Or you can look around and find a better deal. I will guarantee you, however, that if you choose us to adjust your watch, it will be done correctly and will fit exactly how you want it to. We’re not getting rich by performing these types of services…we’re doing well through repeat business, because we do it right the first time.