Jess Gendron is a seventh generation watchmaker, having learned by his father Dan Gendron’s side since childhood. He can be reached at talktothewatchguy@gmail.com.
Happy New Year, and welcome to “Ask the Watch Guy,” a new column for National Jeweler authored by a seventh generation watchmaker.

Each month in this column, we will be responding to your comments and questions, so please feel free to send any watch related questions to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Here are some comments from previous watch articles by Dan Gendron published on NationalJeweler.com.

Sandra Severt, from the June column “Upping Your Game, and Profits, with Watch Repairs”
“I applaud the care with which you handle the watches. Bravo. However, it seems you do so not because you care about the consumer but because you can then charge said consumer $25 for a watch battery. Twenty- five dollars is not a lot to most people, but to those living on a fixed income, those who are most likely to own a $15 or $100 biohazard watch, it is a lot.”

The amount we are paid is not the real issue. The issue is doing a truly professional job. I have had students in our seminars who would tell us that they do watch batteries for free and why should they put that much effort in to it?

The old maxim is beginning to play in the back of the minds of craftsmen everywhere reading this--“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well!” Professionalism is our best advertisement. If the work you do is like everyone else in town who considers doing watch batteries a chore and not an opportunity, that gives you neither a good reputation nor better profits.

Better profits come from the service we offer and how it is performed. If you choose to charge a modest price, the effect on profits will be the same if you perform the service with high quality.

I recently got a large trade account who tried to talk us out of cleaning the watch cases and giving them a ride on the Selvet cloth when we change batteries for them. Her reason was “Nobody does it.” We told her that was the reason we do it. She then understood the value of simply giving a watch a shine before returning it to the customer.

As to the “biohazard” comment, consider this: if it was a diamond ring that someone has been wearing for 25-plus years, would you be as squeamish?

Truth is, some people treat their watches with more regard than they do their diamonds. So when I clean all the “fromage” off the case and band and give it ride on the Selvet cloth before I hand it back to them, they almost always ask me what the cloth was that I rubbed it with to make it shine. I have sold a lot of rouge cloths that way.

But beyond that, they see with their own eyes that I cared enough to do a job as good as I would do for someone I love. Treating the customer with this much care goes a long way. It’s a natural consequence of offering quality unparalleled service that money follows close behind.

Over the years, we have had students who have adopted these techniques tell us that their customers notice the improved services and that the effect was very positive.

Now for the other side of the coin.

Jeff Cody, from the August column “Changing Watch Batteries, A Visual Guide”
“I am thankful for each and every jeweler who has decided watch batteries are not worth their time. Last year, we sold just under 17,000 batteries. All by themselves, batteries make up a huge part of our annual profits, not to mention the add-on sales of bands and repairs (another thing most jewelers don’t want to be bothered with), and then of course there are the big-item sales we make because someone just stopped by for a battery and saw something on our shelves that they just had to have.”

I must admit that I can’t find much to comment on here. He seems to say it all. I have to say that he really has got it together and also has a commanding dominance in the market. The effect is caused by actions they choose. This store knows its market.

Faith Popcorn wrote a book in the ‘90s called The Popcorn Report in which she said that the more society becomes high tech, the more there will be a corresponding demand for high-touch products, meaning products that are personalized and/or are accompanied by a high level of service.

In the last 40 years, there has never been a more accurate prediction of future events. For example, look at Starbucks, shopper services, etc. The jewelers who are doing well are those who are exploiting that desire in their customers. Money is secondary. The service we offer is what should make us shine. Offer unparalleled service in today’s market and the world will cut a path to your door.

If you have questions on watches, watch repair, selling repairs or anything watch related, please forward them to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can all learn from our collective mind.

Jess Gendron is a seventh generation watchmaker, having learned by his father Dan Gendron’s side since childhood. Jess Gendron is now the owner of Colorado Timeworks, a watch repair service center in Colorado Springs. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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