By Michelle Graff

I took a tour of the new Tourneau repair and distribution facility in Long Island City yesterday morning. It's amazing to see firsthand the way the world's biggest watch retailer keeps track of the hundreds of watches that pour into the site each week.

Just as interesting is an on-site safe that houses thousands (no exaggeration) of watches that customers dropped off for repairs and never picked up. The oldest one there has been sitting in the Tourneau facilities since the 1960s!

After customers fail to pick up their repaired watches, the store sends several registered letters to remind them to claim the timepieces. Then the stores just hold onto them for a few years before forwarding them to the safe.

Tourneau Vice President of Customer Service Andy Arluck says that every once in awhile, the company will receive a claim ticket for a watch that's gone unclaimed for decades. When that happens, the company sorts through the watches in the unclaimed bins and returns the timepiece to its rightful owner.

TAGS:   Watches
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