By Jess Gendron
Jess Gendron is a seventh generation watchmaker, having learned by his father Dan Gendron’s side since childhood. He can be reached at
Welcome to another edition of “Ask the Watch Guy.” In this particular column, I will respond to your questions and comments regarding past articles.

Hi Jess,
I enjoyed your article in National Jeweler about proper care of kinetic and solar watches.

I was curious of two things: One, if you charge (money) to recharge a capacitor and two, if you have a suggested amount of time that someone does not keep the watch stored away to prevent this problem.

Allison Leitzel Williams – G.G. A.J.P (GIA)

Thanks for your question.

As to what to charge, that depends on what your service model is (more on this in a future article). For some, the fact that the customer came to you and that you get to use this situation to cement your position as the local authority in the community is enough. I have gotten great feedback from customers online for giving them an education about their watch--education that should have been done at the point of sale. Most people who own these watches know nothing about how the watch works. If you are a mid- to upper-level retailer, I would look at it as a public service that has many benefits and charge nothing.

However, if you are a discount jeweler or you make the majority of retail sales from repairs-- for example, if you do 50 or more batteries per week--you could offer everything the upper level jewelers do and charge a nominal fee of, say, $25 for recharging.

Now, to answer the second part of your question: It depends on how old the capacitor is. Older watches with an old capacitor will need light on a daily basis, but with a newer watch getting a good charge once a week will suffice. The storage capacitor is like any other rechargeable battery; if the storage cap is not fully charged on a very regular basis, the capacitor will develop memory and the cap will not be able to take a full charge. So, in the case of solar or Eco-Drive-type watches, my advice is to give a full charge in bright light once a week.  

When it comes to kinetic-type watches, the same advice applies. If the customer does not wear the watch enough to keep it charged, they should consider using a watch winder.

Hi, it's Sam at Berman's Jewelers in Ellicott City, MD. On your advice to reflash (reset the time) the solar watches after charging: If the watch has sweep second hand you must reset the time even if it is correct.

Thank you,  

That’s why I love that fact that watch repairers read these articles!  Thanks for the tip.


I saw your article. I just wanted to say hello to you and your family. In 2006, I was in your home in New Mexico. I flew from New Jersey and have never regretted that decision. Your mother and father taught me the watch repair business and your father had you show me how to clean and polish a case.

I hope they are well. Please give them my best, let them know my business is thriving and that my oldest son is now in the business.

Steve Skinner
Skinners Watch Repair

Hi Steve. I do remember you and it’s great to hear from you!  My parents are doing well, retired now.  Awesome that your son is in the business now too.  

Thanks for letting me know how you are doing.  If you need help with anything, please don’t hesitate to ask.

In closing, I just wanted to let all my readers know that we are pleased to announce that the free watch battery video as well as the free e-book “The Jewelers Guide to Profitable Watch Repairs” is now available on our website, Enjoy!

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., and his website is

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