The Customer Service Centre in Milan, Via Washington 70, is one of just two such centres in Europe. Only in Milan and Barcelona can the owner of a Swatch Group brand watch go directly to the Service Centre for maintenance and repair services. The brands concerned are Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, Jaquet Droz, Harry Winston, Léon Hatot, Omega, Longines, Rado, Union Glashütte, Tissot, Balmain, Certina, Mido, Hamilton, Calvin Klein watches, Swatch, and Flik Flak.
The reception of the Milan Customer Service Centre has a window through which you can see two or three watch experts at work, but this is just the first part of an enormous facility. For minor operations, such as battery replacements and bracelet adjustments, the watch is registered and the work is performed in this first laboratory. For more extensive maintenance involving disassembly or repair, the procedure is much longer.
The first operation is photography. A picture of the watch is taken, which will then be included in the identity card of the watch that is compiled for every piece and consigned to the customer at the end of the work. Then the watch undergoes a diagnostic examination, measuring essential parameters such as timekeeping accuracy, magnetism, water-resistance, and power reserve, and the work that has to be performed is determined. The customer receives an estimate within 24 hours.
Once the customer has approved the estimate, the watch moves on to the main laboratory, where the movement is separated from the case and strap. Security systems ensure that the identity and location of all parts of the watch are recorded at all times. The laboratory is divided into islands, one for the top-end brands Breguet, Blancpain, Glashütte Original and Jaquet Droz, one for Omega (because of the large number of Omega watches), and two for brands such as Longines, Balmain, Certina and Hamilton. The laboratory is at positive pressure, so that any dust is continuously expelled. Another, separate room is dedicated to work on case and bracelet finish. An important part of any maintenance operation is ‘purification,’ the removal of all traces of existing lubricant, and the application of new lubricant. The Centre has an efficiently-organized spare parts facility, specially designed with drawers of various heights according to part size and frequency of use.
The whole process takes about three or four weeks, after which the customer receives the watch complete with identity card and 2-year guarantee. For mechanical watches, a periodical service is recommended every four years. Considering that a watch runs constantly, like the human heart, four years is an exceptionally long time. If you used the watch like your car, say an hour a day, its first programmed service would be, if it were a car, only after 64 years!
Swatch Customer Service Centre
The Swatch Group (Italia) S.p.A.
Via Washington 70
20146 Milano - Italy
Tel. +39 02 575 971
The Swatch Group
Rambla de Catalunya, 38 4a Pl.
8007 Barcelona - Spain