At the center, customers and retailers can drop off or send in pieces. Within 24 hours, the center will give an estimate — from $50 for maintenance on a basic quartz watch to $745 for a mechanical, complicated watch. If the customer approves, the turnaround goal is 10 days, said André Theurillat, technical coordinator and area manager, who is in charge of the Miami workshop and the Caribbean and South American markets.
“It’s like a car,” Theurillat said. “You have to bring a car into a service center every two or three years.”
The work is tightly organized, from disassembly to cleaning to re-assembly, with jobs divided between the outside casing and the inside movements of a watch. On Wednesday morning, a watchmaker in training was adjusting a timepiece’s hands, while a seasoned watchmaker was overhauling a watch’s 200-piece movement.
Nearby, a room is dedicated to polishing, and a cleaning lab is equipped with high-powered machines. Another room has $700,000 worth of parts, and yet another contains a huge vault and a table where incoming and outgoing boxes are unpacked and packed, with cameras overhead that can be viewed in Geneva.
Down the hall, in the jewelry room, pieces are fixed or laser-welded, diamonds are set, and rings are sized. In two months, the center will be the only Chopard facility outside Geneva to be able to engrave. It also trains watchmakers from Latin America and the Caribbean.
“As a family company,” Scheufele said, “we can afford the luxury to give this service for a long, long time, which we believe is just as important as a beautiful diamond and a beautiful watch.”