Total Disappointment with Cartier (Richemont) Watch Service

hunghung

New Member
Jul 20, 2009
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#1
An amazing, but true story

I am having a very bad experience (not the first one) with Cartier watch service, run by Richemont. On top of substandard repair, I was lied to again and again (see story below). My impression is that Richemont, in an attempt to cut corners, lacks qualified technicians in its service facility (which also services Vacheron Constantin, Baume & Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Lange & Söhne, IWC, Piaget, Roger Dubuis, and Panerai). I won’t be surprised if watches are outsourced to people who have inadequate knowledge about a specific watch and/or lack proper tools.

I have snail mailed my complaint to both Cartier Internaional and Richemont International, but I haven’t heard from them. My feeling is that they are using the ignore strategy.

I don’t think I would buy another luxury watch again, knowing that getting it serviced can be so troublesome (and costly), particularly when brands are cutting corners at the back operation. Richmemont has impressive storefront, but the service facility here is located in a dingy industrial area (Richemont staff refused to tell me the location and I had to find it out myself).

Here is a brief version of the story:

The back of the middle case of my Basculante was scractched during Cartier service and I asked for a free case back replacement. The service people of Richemont kept saying the part was no longer available and asked me to settle for polishing. Luckily, I found out from other sources the part is in fact available, though expensive (and that's why they lied). I presented them this fact and they changed their tune to say that they were able to find a new part and agreed to a free replacement, but the part from Switzerland would take 10-12 weeks to arrive.

I waited for two months. When I went to collect the watch, I felt that the case back is too shinny and smooth and it doesn't feel like the one I was used to. It dawned on me that they might have merely polished the case back to deceive me into believing that I am receiving a new part! So I didn't collect the watch and I asked them to show me the old (replaced) case back.

A few days later, I went to look at the old (replaced) middle case front and case back (the case part consists of both case front and case back). They look brand new and the back is flawless (it actually looks more authentic than the more shinny back on the watch). However, the old case back should have some 4-5 scratches and those scratches were why I asked for a case back replacement. I was puzzled and I didn't collect the watch.

Later, a Cartier customer relations staff called to tell me that the middle case on the watch is indeed new and the old part I saw is indeed the old part taken from my watch. I pointed out that the old case back should have scratches and also that, on the day I discovered the scratches, two Boutique staffs saw the scratches and the Boutique took two photos showing the scratches.

To my amazement, she kept insisting that the old part I saw was taken from my watch even though this is evidently false (how can the case back with scratches miraculously become flawless?). It was clear to me that she was covering one lie with a more blatant lie. However, she offered to put the old part back to the watch if I choose.

My conjecture is that they did procure a new part [the old (replaced) part shown to me is in fact the new part]. However, they eventually decided to simply polish the case back to the save money on the part (the new part would be returned to Switzerland for a refund once I have collected the watch). This would explain the shininess on the case back which is now on the watch and the inability to show me the old (scratched) case back.

My watch is still in the Boutique. I feel very mistreated by being lied to and, had I been less cautious, I would have been tricked. I appreciate suggestions on how to settle this matter.

(This isn't the first time Cartier service here has scratcded the Basculante middle case back. In 2006, it made over 20 scratches (!) on the case back and I was furious. Since it swiftly replaced the case back with a new one, I didn’t pursue the matter further.)

Hunghung
 

AlanMead

New Member
Nov 22, 2012
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#2
The same thing happened to me twice!
My Cartier watch, which has been in my family for 17 years, was in almost perfect condition until it was hideously scratched during 2 services.
This first happened in 2008, I pointed it out to the assistant and it was polished and looked great.
During this year’s service my watch was what I can only describe as mutilated on the back plate. I am hoping that it can be polished out, I will find out on Saturday when I collect it.
I do not understand how, the professional watch repairers that work for CARTIER, can be so unprofessional on both occasions I have used them.
The problem with the automatic watches is that they have to be serviced every 4 years otherwise the time keeping will be off, but I dread taking my watch to them.
In simple terms every 4 years I take an almost perfect watch to Cartier, they improve the time keeping, scratch it in at least 4 places and then charge me £290.
 

hunghung

New Member
Jul 20, 2009
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#3
I guess Cartier's technicians lack proper training or some repairs are outsourced (to save cost at customer's expense!!!)

After my posting, I wrote to Cartier HQ in Paris. It agreed to replace the scratched back with a new one and that had been done.

You should write to its HQ to reflect its poor service quality. (The one there who contacted me was Mr. Alain Bernard.)

Next time when you have to replace batteries, try to find a Cartier shop that can perform the job in front of you. Perhaps, buying a mechanical one and letting the existing one sit forever is a better alternative, considering you have to spend some 300 pounds and lots of worry every 3-4 years.
 

hunghung

New Member
Jul 20, 2009
3
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#4
Read my postings on a watch forum: watchandclockforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=4695&p=20794#p20794

Alain is the username of Alain Bernard in that forum. You can sign up on that forum and send him a private message regarding your bad service experience.
 

SwissBrit

New Member
Oct 6, 2017
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#5
I have had very bad experiences with UK workshops for Omega, Jaeger LeCoultre and even Patek Philippe. My advice is to insist the watch goes back to the manufacture in Switzerland. I have never had a problem with a service that has taken place in Switzerland. To be honest British engineers are better suited to work involving heavy tools; like panel-beating, house demolition and road drilling.