Watch Repair

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Family heirloom watch needs to have the face cleaned

March 2006

I am looking for a watch repair in the East Bay. I have a family heirloom watch that needs to have the face cleaned. Can anyone recommend a good place to go? Thanks. anon

Try Bill's Trading Post (jewelry store in Elmwood neighborhood of Berkeley). They sell watches and do watch/jewelry repair.

Watch engraving for anniversary gift

Sept 2005

We are buying a pair of watches for my in-laws' 50th wedding anniversary and we'd like to engrave the back of each. Is there a place that does this in the East Bay? dennisandjennie

LIve Oak Jewelers on Solano Avenue in Berkeley fixes watches adn clocks. I'm thinking they may do engraving too. Worth a phone call. It's a small family run business. They are extremeley nice people and the prices are reasonable. anon
Re Live Oak Jewelers: a few years ago I asked them to engrave the back of a watch and it was very unprofessionally done, just etched in freehand. So I have learned my lesson: to request to see the type face that will be used, so that I can see what to expect when the job is done. jennifer
Many many years ago, I received a nice watch as a graduation gift. It came from Morrisons Jewelers and was beautifully engraved on the back. They're now in Orinda, but it's the same family business, and I'm sure they'd do a wonderful job. Store is at 35 Moraga Way almost directly across the street from the Orinda Theater. Phone is (925)253-9227. You can check them out at

Take links out of expensive watch/watchband

Aug 2004

Can anyone recommend a jewelery store/jeweler in the Berkeley area who can take links out of an expensive watch/watchband. I am concerned about the band (or watch/watch face) being scratched or injured when being worked on. Thank you. Fussy watch owner

Doug Green on the Colusa Circle in Kensington 510-527-4489. Soreya
Oaks Jewelers on Solano (between Ensenada and Colusa) is your place. $5 to add or remove. I've entrusted my mom's Rolex and my Swiss Army chronograph to them without fear (and without any damage). It's an old family business and I highly recommend them.

Repairing an expensive watch for a good price

April 2003

I have an eight year old movado watch which was $1200. at that time. Its screw outside isn't working and I took it to a shop on Solano to get it fixed. The shop owner wants $250. or $300. to fix it. Does anyone know a good place where they fix watches for a better price?

I have used the jeweler on Solano (near Starbucks, probably the one that you referred to in your post) for several years for help with my watches. I've thought that they were great, and reasonable, although mine are not expensive watches. I've also sent watches to The Watch Doctor,, and have had good experiences with them. carren
I don't know where you went on Solana, but the Oaks Jewelers on Solano fixed my Movado for $40. My husband had taken it into the city and had been given a quote of $150-$200. I took my Movado to the Oaks several times as it didn't stop working all at once. They cleaned the movements several times for free and when it finally died replaced the movement for $40. It has been keeping perfect time ever since. I find the jewelers at the Oaks very honest and their prices are wonderful. If that is who quoted you the price of $250 then I would bet that it's a fair price. Good luck. kristi
About ten years ago I was puttering through the hills on my way to Santa Cruz and stopped at one of the small towns for lunch. I had my 1907 Waltham with me, broken. I'd had quotes of $50 to $100 to fix it and saw a small shop. The guy said to leave it and go have lunch. I came back and asked for the estimate, he said that it was fixed. I was a bit taken back, but asked how much. He said ''nothing, you were missing a screw, and I just put it in....'' I MADE him take $5 as he refused to take more. He is second of three generations of watch specialists. Not sure of Mike's phone number, but you can find him at jon
I owned a Movado watch for years, and I now own an Ebel. (someone at the downtown berkeley Y now has my Movado!). JD Watchworks in San Francisco has replaced batteries, watchbands and done general cleaning for both my Movado and my Ebel watches. The owner is Jules, I think, and his rates are very reasonable. I don't have a phone number but he is located on Post Street (200 Post?) in the Union Square area. Andrea

Reliable and reasonable watch repair

Jan 2003

I am looking for a reliable and reasonable watch repair person in the Berkeley area. The previous recommendations on the website are from 1999 and several of the places have closed. Thanks for the help! Seth

I highly recommend Oaks Jewelers on Solano in Berkeley. It is a family run business that has been around for decades and they are great with watches. -Gen
For minor repairs, I recently discovered a watch repair place right in the Longs Drug Store on San Pablo near Moeser (El Cerrito). I don't know how complex a repair you need, or how complex a repair they do, but they were very quick and reasonably priced. R.K.

Watch cleaning and tune-up

Aug 1999

I have a couple watches that need a good cleaning and tune-up. Does anyone have a watchmaker to recommend in the environs of Berkeley, Oakland or Walnut Creek? Thanks. Wendy

re watch repair: I like the man who has his shop in the interior of the Rite Aid at 51st and Broadway in Oakland. He's not part of Rite Aid, as far as I can tell. Just rents from them. This is NOT the key shop that's in the entry/lobby of the store. Inside, near cameras, at the front. Linda
I suggest trying Lee Frank's Jewelers on Shattuck @ Alston Way. We bought my watches there so figured they may as well maintain them. They always check the watch when the battery is changed, and so far (7+ years) the watches haven't needed cleaning. Maybe electronic watches are lower maintenance. Fran
I heartily recommend V.G. White at El Cerrito Plaza. He just relocated to the side of the mall facing Brighton St., the border of Albany. It's around the corner from Chubby's. I've been using him for cleaning of my diamond ring since he created the setting for it about 18 years ago. I've been back to him through the years and he's just a really nice guy. He is very reasonable albeit, not cheap. He does excellent work, will give you a fair estimate on the work needed, will let you know if the work is not necessary, and completes the work in the time estimated. The only drawback is that he smokes and the shop reeks of cigarette smoke. So if you don't mind it while you're in there I think he's worth it. Margo
Vortman Jewelry and Watch Repair is great. 2432 Telegraph Avenue (near Mario's La Fiesta, as I recall) 848-9048. Dawn