Servicing an 844 Monnin in Canada: Any recommendations?

  1. Biggles

    Biggles Jan 27, 2019

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    Hello. I’m a very small-time watch collector in Montreal, Canada. I’ve presently got a a few old user-grade 1960s Rolex, a brakeman’s handful of other, weirder stuff... and my only Heuer, an 844 Monnin that fell out of the sky into my hands on the wings of a ridiculous backstory. (67xx serial, FE 4611A, cathedrals, what appears to be the correct bezel insert.)

    I wear just about all of them regularly except the Monnin, because it’s not running well. I think its autowinder’s sick, I’m not convinced it’s handwinding at all, it runs miserably slowly when I do get it to run, and setting the hands requires applying pulling pressure to the crown.

    My impression of this movement is that it’s a bit... agricultural. And that maybe its design’s not something younger watchmakers are used to. From Ranfft:

    Remarks
    strange: train and hand gear separately driven by the barrel (cf. MSR T43)
    This design allows low profile and gives space for a big balance, but it requires high precision and shake-free gears, because so many wheels are involved in the coupling between second- and minute hand.


    When Ranfft says something is strange, I pour myself another glass of rye and re-read. I’m betting my seconds and minute hands are full of imprecise gear-shake and are thus uncoupled. Which may be part of the time-setting problem.

    Last I read, FE 4611A parts were still available from normal sources. That’s great, but I can barely operate a can-opener, never mind overhaul a watch movement. What my city seems to lack is watchmakers who can work on older stuff competently- they’ve all either died or retired. (The last local watchmaker I showed this thing to insisted that it should have an ETA caliber in it. He’d never heard of Monnin or France Ébauches.)

    I know of a couple of people in the US and the UK who I’d trust, by reputation, to have the imagination and skill to obtain parts and fix this old conker, but mailing it over an international border and back gives me the heebie-jeebies. So. Has anyone in Canada who’s reading this ever had a Monnin succesfully overhauled in Canada by someone who’s still in business and who accepts mail-in work?

    I know it’s a long shot.

    And... Would sending it to the TAG Heuer mother ship in Toronto be a theoretical option at all? I have no idea how they react to vintage, and short-run non-Swiss vintage at that.

    Any insights will be appreciated. Thank you for reading.
     
  2. Gambba

    Gambba Feb 9, 2019

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    Can’t help you with local dealers as I’m not local..... what I would say though is sending it back to Tag Heuer in Toronto will most likely mean they’ll then forward it on to the Vintage Department at Tag Heuer in Switzerland. A long and costly process.

    Shipping over borders is never normally an issue and I’ve bought and sent watches around the world. I understand your apprehension though.

    I’m sure you must be able to find a watchmaker capable in Canada though that works on vintage.
     
  3. Biggles

    Biggles Feb 10, 2019

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    Thank you. Wasn’t aware they had a vintage department, but friends’ experiences with old Omegas and Jaegers forwarded to Switzerland by their respective North American service centers make me want to avoid that. I’ll keep looking for someone within Canada.
     
  4. Gambba

    Gambba Feb 11, 2019

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    The vintage department at Tag Heuer was set up in recent years and I know of people sending their watches there and being very happy with the results. Not a cheap or quick service but great results, although for a relatively simple movement repair I still think local (Canada) is the best option.