Company Review: ABC WatchWerks

ABC WatchWerks are a watch servicing and restoration company based in downtown Los Angeles. I first came across them as a recommendation from a collector who raved about their work, he had a 1960's Submariner he wanted the hands re-lumed on to match the indexes and having seen the 'before' and 'after', can see why he thinks of them so highly. ABC also pride themselves on being able to re-cut a vintage sport Rolex case, removing only a fraction of material to bring the chamfer back to life and give it that 'unpolished' look.

1971 Rolex Submariner Ref.5513 'before'

Above is a 1971 Rolex Submariner Ref.5513 I gave to my wife when we fist met, she wore it daily for a while including holidays, swimming, the beach, everywhere. Alas as it hadn't been serviced for a few years prior to taking a dip in the pool and stopped working shortly after. As my wife loves her vintage to look like new and it wasn't going to be sold anytime soon, I decided to give it to ABC to see what they could do with the case. Below is the result.

Picture showing the reworked shoulders

They managed to replace the crystal with an original version (it had a service replacement on it prior that sits slightly higher at the edge) and, although it remains untested in the real world, they assure me is waterproof. The case edges are once again sharp and although the width of the chamfer is larger than the original would have been, they did a great job considering what they had to work with.  Personally, I prefer the slightly aged look of a vintage Rolex and don't mind some wear, I have owned unpolished examples before but it is a word that today gets used all too frequently and usually unjustifiably by sellers, it also means you really can't wear the watch daily as it's heartbreaking to put dents into the case. 

Beware of sellers advertising unpolished cases that have actually been re-cut, although very good, the chamfer shown above is too wide for a factory finish on a 5513.

Of course there will always be those unscrupulous people that will take a worn case, have it re-cut and sell to an unsuspecting buyer as unpolished. Hopefully the pictures here showing what can be done to a case to bring it back to life will serve as an example of a re-cut case.

ABC aren't just restricted to vintage, they do great work on modern watches including Rolex as well as the highly complex Audemars Piguet Royal Oak cases. Below is the before and after picture of an AP they did for me that had a dent in the shoulder.

AP prior to visiting ABC with dent to the lower right shoulder clearly visible

The same watch post ABC WatchWerks. The dent has been completely removed without any loss of definition.

ABC apparently undertake work for clients internationally and, although they certainly aren't cheap, they are very professional and will discuss the project with you prior to determine what you want done. For those that visit in person you might be in for a surprise, all the guys are very young, fit and very unlike almost every watchmaker I know. I couldn't help but smile when one of them, Edvi, kindly dropped off a watch to me at Urth Cafe in Hollywood and pulled up in a bright blue Porsche 911. Not your average watchmakers set of wheels. Or is it?