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Q: I scored an amazing antique watch for Christmas. The case and crystal are flawless, but it keeps stopping. Where should I get it repaired?

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A: One of the great things about New York is the presence of a number of watchmakers' service centers right here in town. Rolex, Piaget, Patek Philippe, Breitling, and others all have offices in Manhattan that provide direct links to their Swiss factories, thereby putting you in touch with the absolute best technicians and parts. As your watch will have to travel to and from the Old Country, expect a sizable wait (one to three months) before you see your beloved timepiece again, but it's well worth it, particularly when you have a rare, valuable antique on your hands.

If, on the other hand, your "amazing" timepiece is not exactly heirloom-quality (what, you couldn't find a New York outpost of its chic East St. Louis factory?), consider one of the more established names in watch repair, including Aaron Faber Gallery (666 Fifth Avenue, at 52nd Street; 586-8411), Wempe (700 Fifth Avenue, at 55th Street; 397-9000), and that temporal temple Tourneau (avoid the epcot-like "Time Machine" location on 57th Street, and head to the more buttoned-down store at 52nd and Madison; 758-6098). Keep in mind that on occasion, these retailers will also send your watch back to the factory, depending on the level of work needed or the requirements of the manufacturer. Seiko, for example, demands that all maintenance be done at its factories.


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