Join us as we talk to Harman Wadhwa, Watchmaker & Founder of India’s independent watch repair & service centre – The Repair Hub.
Buying a luxury timepiece is one thing. But you should be prepared to maintain these works of art. A mechanical watch, if well maintained, has the validity of a lifetime. They are pieces of art that will outlive you and many of your future generations. But to ensure that each of your luxury timepieces fulfils the destiny it was made for; you need to make sure that it is always in tip-top condition. How can you do that? By taking it to a watch repair & service centre regularly.
Also Read: MW Watch Guide: 5 Points To Keep In Mind Before Buying Your First Luxury Watch
Join us in conversation with Harman Wadhwa, Watchmaker & Founder of India’s independent watch repair and service centre – The Repair Hub. Excerpts below.
MW: Can you tell us about your journey into the world of watches?
HW: Not many people are aware of this, but I come from the Horology industry. My father was working as a distributor for Seiko & ESprit watches, and my mother takes care of Time & Style – a watch retail store located in Greater Kailash-1, New Delhi. Since a very young age, I have always been interested in fixing things. Whenever there was a need to fix something in the house or at my neighbours, I was the person people called upon. By the age of eight or nine, I fixed various objects like remote controls in the house. As I got older, I joined the family business and started helping my father with the distribution side of the company. Eventually, around 2013, I moved to retail. But I quickly realised the limitations of a retail business. I understood that there was a vacuum in providing top-notch servicing facilities for watches. That is when I started The Repair Hub. We began by partnering with fashion brands like GC, Guess, and other watches brands.
MW: How did you move from repairing and servicing fashion watch brands like GC and Guess to working on high-end luxury watch brands like Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Breguet?
HW: As The Repair Hub started running, we began working on fashion watch brands, especially quartz watches. With time, we started getting a lot of customers who wanted to get their high-end luxury watches fixed and serviced. That was when I realised that despite my experience, I did not have the necessary skills and tools to work on watches from brands like Breguet, Breitling and Rolex. I realised that if I was going to make a career out of this, I would need to equip myself better. So I started looking for a watchmaking course, which was challenging. After many months of research and talking to everyone in the watch industry, I finally found an independent watchmaking school (K&H Watchmaking Competence Centre) in Le Locle, Switzerland. I spent a total of 9 months learning the art of watchmaking, the processes involved in making different parts of a watch and the details of high-end quality after-sales work.
MW: What has been the most significant difference in watchmaking you have learned before and after you finished school?
HW: It’s like night and day! When fixing a watch, one needs to understand that the Swiss and Japanese watch industries are very efficient about the watches they create. So much so that with just a little tinkering, anyone can get it running. That’s how good they are. But half of the time, the person fixing your watch has no idea what they are doing. Assembling and disassembling a watch is the easy part. The hard part comes when you need to figure out the problem and fix it without damaging the other parts of the watch. Only a very few of the service centres in India have the tools or equipment required to understand or analyse the actual problem with a watch.
MW: What are some of the services you offer at The Repair Hub?
HW: We provide services for all kinds of watches except for smartwatches. From crystal repair to strap change to movement service & polishing, we are equipped to deal with all sorts of requirements and provide a one-year warranty on movement overhaul.
MW: How would you describe the repair process at The Repair Hub?
HW: When it comes to the process, the idea is simple. When a customer comes to us with a watch, we give it a quick overview and record all the details of the watch before we book it. Once it is in our custody, we take a few days to analyse the problem. When we figure out the problem, we then send an estimate to the client based on the observations that we have made. We make sure that we are honest and transparent in all our communication with the client during this entire process. It builds trust and ensures proper communications between the two parties.
MW: What challenges do you face while fixing a timepiece?
HW: There aren’t many challenges per se when repairing the watches. We sometimes face the problem of sourcing certain parts required to fix a particular timepiece.
MW: What is the future of The Repair Hub?
HW: The future, I think, is authorisation. We are currently the authorised service centre for Seiko watches, Victorinox & premium fashion brand watches and we hope to get more watchmaking brands in the future. Additionally, I believe we are doing good work. We have a good customer base of collectors and watch lovers who keep returning to get their watches fixed and serviced. I think that is a good sign.
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