Manuel Yazijian, CMW21 (Certified Master Watchmaker, 21st Century)

Watchmaking Instructor serving the After Sales Service market
Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

Q1. What does "AWCI " stand for?
A.  AWCI is an abbreviation for the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, the only Industry recognized professional organization in the USA representing the watchmaking and clockmaking professions. For more information you may visit

Q2. What does CW, CMW, CW21 and CMW21 stand for?
A. CW and CMW are an abbreviation for Certified Watchmaker and Certified Master Watchmaker. The suffix 21 has been added to indicate the person is a holder of the newer twenty first century certificate - hence the "21".

Q3. What are the differences between the titles CW, CMW, CW21 and CMW21?
A. In the year 2005, the AWCI with cooperation of the Swiss Watchmaking industry in the USA created a new series of certifications with high and stringent standards aimed at determining if a watchmaker possesses the skills and knowledge of servicing watches with the highest degree applicable in the watch industry. In order to differentiate between new (post 2005) and old certifications, the number 21 was added to the CW and CMW designations, therefore CW21 and CMW21.

Q4. What can a CW21 and CMW21 do?
A1. In order to successfully complete the CW21 exam, a candidate must be able to show proficiency in accomplishing the following.
  1. Answer a written test involving watch gear calculations; theory in general as it applies to the watchmaking profession.
  2. Repair a modern Swiss made automatic watch with all the pertinent adjustments.
  3. Repair a modern Swiss made chronograph watch with all the pertinent adjustments.
  4. Repair a modern Swiss made quartz watch with all the pertinent electronic adjustments.
  5. Use of the watchmaker's lathe to perform hand-held graver turning operations.
A2. In order to successfully complete the CMW21 exam, a candidate must, in addition to accomplishing the CW21 exam above, must be able to show proficiency in accomplishing the following.
  1. Answer a written test.
  2. Manufacture various components of a mechanical watch of modern production to exact factory parameters. 
  3. Various other projects as determined by the AWCI Board of Examiners. 
For more detailed information, you may read the Official Standards and Practices for Watchmakers by clicking the following link Watch S&P. (PDF document) 

Q5. My watchmaker says he is certified, what does that mean?
A. Only those who have passed the new CW21 or CMW21 exams by the AWCI can claim such title(s). The titles CW, CMW, CW21 and CMW21 are trademarks of the AWCI. You may contact the AWCI at to verify credentials of the watchmaker in question, or you may visit the referral directory of the AWCI website. Any title other than the above mentioned are not recognized nor endorsed by the AWCI and Watch Industry in the USA for the purposes of watch repair.  Furthermore, if you were to ask the person handling your watch if their watchmaker is certified and the response is "uhuh, yep" or a nod; ask further proof if their watchmaker holds the AWCI CW21 or CMW21 certificate. Failure to produce solid proof is an indication there is a very good chance your watch will be worked on by a non-qualified individual.

Q6. My watchmaker says he holds an AWCI certificate.
A. This may be true, however, many persons also attend refresher and specialization courses in various disciplines of watch and clock repair at the AWCI and upon completion of such course(s) are normally given a letter, usually printed on certificate paper, as proof of attendance. This does not imply they have sat for, nor passed the highly accredited CW21 or CMW21 exams. You may contact the AWCI at to verify the credentials of the person in question, or simply visit the referral directory of the AWCI website.

Q7. How do I know my watch will be well repaired?
A. There are many non-certified but competent watchmakers in the world whom you may trust your prized watch with. However, there are also an exponential number of non-certified persons whose work ethics and standard of workmanship are of questionable quality. Holding a CW21 and CMW21 certification becomes a solid criteria for a customer when judging the watchmaker's competencies. In the following link (Omega Watch Repair), you will find a sample of the steps taken to service your watch. 

Q8. There are many websites on the web advertising watch repair, how do I trust them?
A1.  It's always good to know who your watchmaker is, just like you would  know your dentist.   
Your watchmaker's full first and last names goes a long way. It helps if they identify themselves on their website rather than some obscure company with no way of knowing who will be working on your prized watch. A professional watchmaker will always identify themselves using their legal name and therefore stand fully behind their work.  

A2. Also, a quick check with the AWCI's referral directory will reveal if the company or person is registered with the AWCI and a search (usually by ZIP code) will reveal their certification as well as their membership status with the AWCI. 

Q9. Why do you Charge an "Estimate Decline Fee"?

A.  True and proper estimates involve a thorough and careful inspection of your watch.  This can only be done after complete disassembly with initial cleaning - this is particularly necessary for older and vintage watches as well as watches with show considerable abuse, moisture damage etc.   Necessary repairs, and required parts availability or cost of fabrication of parts for vintage timepieces must be evaluated.  If the proposed repairs or Antique Watch Repair services are declined the watch must be reassembled and returned.
We charge a fee for this service if the watch is not repaired at the time.  If the work is approved there is no charge for the estimate, provided the watch has not already been reassembled.  No work is done without approval. The cost of estimates can vary considerably depending on the nature of the watch.  Please consult the price guide for an idea of what to expect.  When your watch is received, a thorough examination is conducted and you will be contacted with an estimate of exactly how much the repair/restoration will cost and approximate time-frame of completion. You can then make an intelligent decision on how to proceed.

Q10. Do I have to pay a deposit once approved?

 A. When the work is approved and an anticipated completion date is scheduled the cost of the restoration must be prepaid.    

     This is especially applicable for larger and complex jobs where various parts have to be machined or specially ordered, with the watchmaker's approval, a deposit of a minimum of one half of the cost of repair is required before work can begin.  The time required to complete the work depends on many variables and must be anticipated based on each situation.  Modern watches are much easier to manage and require less time to repair when replacement parts are readily available.


Q11. What about Shipping?
The total cost of postage and insurance plus $6.95 dollars for handling is charged when the watch is returned to you.  If you send us a watch without prior approval we charge an additional $25.00 when no work is done.   We only accept watches sent to our P.O. Box as this is the most secure and convenient method.  It is preferable your valuable item remains locked in a safe until retrieval rather than being subjected to vibrations while in the delivery truck. It is preferable to send valuables via the United States Postal Service Registered Insured Mail.  (They must be packaged a certain way. You may verify with the Post Master)   There is an insurance limit on domestic Registered Insured Mail of $25,000.00.  Items Valued at more than $25,000.00 should be insured privately. Sentimental items cannot be insured for their sentimental value. This makes high security very important for us.  Should you prefer your watch to be returned another method; every effort will be made in trying to oblige you.  It is preferable not to use UPS or FedEx etc to ship your package to our P.O. Box address as this will not be accepted.

Q12. What's the best way of sealing the cardboard box?

A. Always tape the opening of your box and reinforce all seams with a stampable reinforced packing tape or paper tape that is designed for shipping; your friendly Post Office associate can be of assistance in this matter. Do not use masking or cellophane tape, cord, string or twine. Various office supply outlets (in addition to Post Offices) carry Post Office-approved packaging materials.

Q13. When do I make payment?

A.  When the repairs are completed we will inform you that we are ready to send your watch.  When we receive payment we will ship your watch to the designated address.

What is your warranty period?

A.  All the work performed and parts replaced are completely guaranteed.  If a watch is returned with any defect that is the result of the manner in which we repaired it, the situation will be corrected immediately.  The watch will be returned to the customer at no charge.  Generally we consider the warranty period to be one year unless otherwise noted.  We want all our customers to be satisfied.   If for some reason a defect is discovered after the one year period we will do the right thing in good faith.

     If you choose to use an antique watch regularly, you should understand it will require more maintenance and extra care than a modern watch.  There are some exceptions to the rule but not many.  We have become accustomed to the performance of modern machinery. (Driving your Model A Ford 40,000 miles a year or at 70 mph on the interstate will not yield the same results and performance as recent model Honda.)
Guarantee on modern watches and to some extent on vintage watches includes the installation of parts, not previously replaced, that fail during the warranty period.  There would be a charge for the part only. This is done because we may have failed to detect a defective part during the initial service; although some part failures are virtually impossible to anticipate. This does not include parts that may fail as a result of rust or wear and tear, such as, a broken balance staff or broken crystal.   The owner must accept responsibility for his/her part.  This is especially true when it comes to water.

The following are limitations and exclusions (i.e. what is not covered) in our warranty period. 
  • Damage from neglect, abuse, modification, shock or moisture/water/fluid damage of any kind. 
  • All external components, such as bands/bracelets, crowns and or stems, pushers, bezels, crystals. External components cannot be guaranteed by us.  
  • Repairs or open-case inspection and/or tampering performed on the watch other than Manuel Yazijian, CMW21. This will automatically void our warranty and falls under the "modification" category. 
  • Repair warranties are applicable to the owner of the watch to whom the invoice was originally made out to. In the event of a transfer from one owner to another, while still under the warranty period (i.e. as in the example of a sale), the watch is still covered under the remaining warranty with the provision the watch is not opened for verification, repair, adjustment etc. The new owner of the watch may contact us for previous repair information. There may be a small fee involved for this service. 
  • Some examples of 'ABUSE, MODIFICATION, SHOCK and/or WATER/MOISTURE/FLUID DAMAGE' (aka things NEVER to do with your watch):                                                                         

    • Expose the watch to oil or solvents of any kind (such as cleaning your gun or changing the oil in your car with your watch on).
      • Exposing the watch to hot, soapy, high pressure water (such as in the shower, sauna or hot tub).
        • Expose the watch to chemicals (such as those found in hair tonics, after shave, perfumes, etc).
          • Leave the watch in your pant's pocket, and wash your pants in the washing machine.
            • Drop the watch from a height of 4-5 feet or more onto a hard surface, such as tile or cement.
              • Run over the watch with your car.
                • Fail to close the screw-down crown properly and then immerse the watch in a liquid substance.
                  • Take your '3 ATM' rated or '30 meter' water resistance rated watch swimming and expecting it to withstand underwater service.
                    • Attempt to operate chrono-pushers on a watch while underwater.
                      • Attempt to operate the crown of your watch while it is underwater or in the vicinity of water e.g. shower.
                        • Trying to set the date or adjust the calendar when the watch is about to change (at or near the end of the 24-hour or month cycle).  i.e. do not operate the date in quick-set mode when the hands are between 9pm and 3 am.  
                          • Have another "watchmaker" open the watch to "see" what was done or what is wrong.  Yes, we will know the case was opened.
                            • Fail to secure the watch bracelet clasp, or recognize that your clasp is worn out or your bracelet is worn out, and then the watch falls off.
                              • Attempt to work on the watch yourself to 'confirm'  or 'improve upon' our work.
                              • The above examples are NOT an all-inclusive list, and other scenarios constituting 'abuse, neglect, shock, water/moisture/fluid and/or modification' are possible.  

                                A fine watch is a precision instrument.  PLEASE TREAT IT LIKE ONE.

                              A. Water resistance is a complete subject of its own. This section will elaborate on some of the points above. We do not cover water damage to any watch unless that damage is the direct result of failure on our part. We are not a manufacturer who can replace a watch when something goes wrong and average it out as a cost of business.  Most water resistant watches cannot be relied upon to keep water out under all conditions, even when new.   Some manufacturers design watches to be swim proof i.e. divers watches and Rolex® Oyster watches.  These watches require that they be in good condition and that the crowns be properly secured before exposure to swimming, diving, hot showers, sauna etc.

                                   After repairing a water resistant watch we will test the watch statically the same as most manufacturers.  The results of this test will be clearly stated on the invoice/instruction letter and specifics on your particular watch model will also be supplied.  Should a water-resistant watch receive water inside; it will not dry out on its own.  Even a very small amount of moisture, once trapped inside, will cause damage.  If there is visible moisture, (that usually condenses on the crystal only when the watch is worn, due to the warmth of the wrist) it should be removed immediately. Failure to do so will lead to inevitable damage to the various components inside the watch. It would be our pleasure to assist you in the event moisture is present inside the watch.

                              Q16. You recently repaired my watch but I have a concern, can I just return it to you?

                              A.  As my main goal is to guarantee your complete satisfaction and thus make sure that all of your requests are met prior to returning your watch to you, it is highly recommended you contact me BEFORE you return your watch - it will be my pleasure to hear from you. Watches sent without prior approval may risk prolonged delays as I may not be present to retrieve it during my teaching weeks.

                              Q17. Are your repairs refundable?

                              A. Since painstaking efforts are taken to ensure complete satisfaction with the repair of your timepiece and unless there was any miscommunication, the cost of repairs are not refundable. All reasonable efforts will be made to ensure your complete satisfaction. 

                              Please treat your watch with the great care we do©