Repair Job Scam?


New User
Mar 25, 2008
I have a technical question I’d like some advice on from someone who understands watch repair.

I have a 6 yr old Montblanc stainless steel watch.

Last June, I had problems with the crown (which was stuck and not able to be wound) and brought it to the store where I purchased it for servicing. At that time they sent it to Montblanc and said that they’d repair the crown and a damaged tube (related to the crown as well).

Rather than just repair the crown and tube (mid 100’s price tag), they recommended a “complete overhaul” ($320, which included an 18 month limited service warranty on their work) that entailed taking all the moving parts out and then reassembling the watch. I opted for the “complete overhaul”, seeing as I’ve had the watch for several years now and wanted to ensure it stays in working order.

By the end of September I finally got the watch back and things appeared to be fine.

Three weeks ago (approx. 5 months after the complete overhaul) I noticed the face of the watch was loose and turning (i.e. the 12 numeral on the watch face rotated to 3, then 4 etc.). I brought it back to the store to have it fixed.

The store shipped it off to Europe again and called me yesterday to say that the watch now needs a new face ($300+) and another “overhaul” ($120). They tell me that Montblanc said that the legs that support the face are dented/broken. They believe the watch had some kind of impact or “trauma” after the complete overhaul.

Accordingly, as the service warranty is limited to the “movement” and nothing beyond standard wear and tear by the watch owner, they say the warranty is not in effect for this alleged impact.

I have worn this watch since September every day and there has been NO IMPACT or dropping of the watch etc.

They are rejecting any responsibility for the recent watch malfunction, so it’s come down to my word against theirs.

Here’s the question(s):

1) Is it possible the repair person didn’t put the watch together correctly during the complete overhaul, which might have resulted in the loose face and associated problems (“broken/dented legs”)? No one else has touched the inside of that watch besides them.

2) Is there any other viable explanation for the rotating face problems besides “trauma/impact” (again, I haven’t dropped the watch or banged it into anything)?

Thanks in advance for any guidance...


NAWCC Member
Feb 1, 2007
Rolling Hills Estates, CA
The dial feet (the proper term) are normally bits of relatively soft copper or brass wire soldered to the dial. I would expect that any trauma/impact that managed to break both off (there are typically two on most watches) would cause other damage to the movement. It is certainly possible that they were broken in the course of the initial overhaul but that certainly would have been noticed.

The only other explanation that I can think of would be if the original solder holding the legs in place was poorly done and they broke with only a minimum of force.

Rick Alhadeff

Registered User
Feb 11, 2004
I think it's difficult for a repairer to second guess another repairers' estimate without actually examining the watch, but this is one of those situations that cause my teeth to grind flat.

I'm not an expert on Montblanc watches so these are just thoughts that have come up after reading your post and the assumption that you "haven't dropped the watch or banged it into anything".

I first thought maybe they use a snap-on dial for your model, but Montblanc says the dial feet were damaged by an impact/trauma of some sort. It seems to me that an impact/trauma that would sheer the dial feet off a dial while cased up would cause huge damage to the case as well as the movement and it would certainly be obvious to you.

Maybe they use a cement instead of solder for the dial feet that corrupts after so many years, or maybe the feet weren't soldered well enough to begin with. Still, even if that's the case, that it should happen within 6 months of a factory overhaul, I don't know, the timing just seems bad.

It would be interesting to hear from other owners of Montblanc watches to see if this is just the odd case.

Please let us know the outcome. Aloha, Rick :cool:


Registered User
Sep 20, 2006
North Andover, MA USA
>> this is one of those situations that cause my teeth to grind flat.


There is a story about a man driving his Rolls Royce in Afghanistan. While negotiating an unpaved, rough and exceptionally steep mountain pass, the rear axle breaks. He hikes to the nearest village and contacts Rolls Royce. They fly in a rear axle with a helicopter and repair it on site. When the man gets home he writes a long, complimentary letter thanking Rolls Royce for their exemplary service and inquires what the cost was. The reply was one line: "Sir, Rolls Royce rear axles do not break."

It seems to me that this should be the case here. "Sir, Mont Blanc dial feet do not break." Mont Blanc missed a chance to acquire a devoted client.

Sorry to hear about your problems.



Registered User
Feb 12, 2007
Exeter Devon UK
In answer to your questions
1) I don't think the repairer could have done/not done anything that would cause this problem.

2) And I don't beleive there is any other rational explanation as to how the dial feet were broken off other than the watch being dropped.

I have been in the Horological trade as a repairer and teacher for the last 47 yrs, I have seen this problem quite a few times on watches that have been returned but also when students have dropped a watch in training when not working over the bench! on many watches the dial feet are undercut at the base (where they meet the dial) making them very weak at this point, I suspect this is done so that the dial sits down nicely on the movement.

I think the real scam is the exorbitant prices charged by the large watch houses to do repairs and the fact that they will not let independant repairers have spare parts so they can do the job.


Registered User
Apr 25, 2006
flynwill said:
The dial feet (the proper term) are normally bits of relatively soft copper or brass wire soldered to the dial. I would expect that any trauma/impact that managed to break both off (there are typically two on most watches) would cause other damage to the movement.
I agree. The cause of breakage could be determined by an independent watchmaker armed with a good microscope. A sheared piece of metal looks completely different to a snapped off by bending. Snapped off = Montblanc IMHO, sheared means dropped by someone (bot necessarily the owner).

It wouldn't surprise this cynic if double-sided sticky tape was found under the dial!



Scott Cerullo

Registered User
Mar 4, 2007
Here is some sound advice. Do not go back to the jewelry store that "sent your watch to Europe." Mont Blanc has its very own service center in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. If the jewelry store sent the watch to an actual service center, there will be a record of the repair. I will give Mont Blanc the benefit of the doubt on your watch and take a wild guess that the store you bought it from never sent the watch out to a qualified watch maker. Please contact Mont Blanc directly at 1-800-995-4810 and give them a detailed account of your experience. I hope you post again to let everyone know what transpires.

Kevin W.

NAWCC Member
Apr 11, 2002
Nepean, Ontario, Canada
Hi Scott, long time no see how are you doing?
I would suspect too the watch was not returned to Mont Blanc.


Registered User
Jun 29, 2007
I had this happen this week..

I put a battery in a gents Tissot 1853 dress watch with a stainless steel case. basically, clip the back off, lift the battery cap off, shange the battery, and put the bits back onto the watch.

the movement in these is screwed in place, with a plastic retainer ring to locate it centrally.
I set the time and gave it back to the customer, all happy.

next day the customer drops off the watch with the date apeture pointing at about 8 o'clock, watch still running. I then cliped the back off, removend the stem , undid the two screws, turned the watch over, removed the hands, and the dial fell off. both copper dial feet broken.

now there was no way I could have damaged that by replacing the battery. but unfortunately it happened the day after I had the back off.

luckily, I could explain this, and the customer was happy to pay for the repair. (new dial) however, how many repairs do we do because it could potentially be our fault as a repairperson? It irks me a little that the big companies dont seem to put themselves out to cover these situations.

so I have no idea what breaks dial feet, but aparently it happens sometimes.

good luck with montbanc, the service centre certainly seems the way to follow it up.

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