Swiss Watchmaker

When Philippe Medawar was a child, he began an invaluable apprenticeship at the elbow of his watchmaker father, Chakib Medawar. Today, he’s a Swiss watchmaker who expertly repairs, restores and executes maintenance on all watch brands. Philippe Medawar is committed to preserving his family legacy of unprecedented service in every area of horology.

Removing the back of a watch does not make one a watchmaker. The art of watchmaking is a specialized skill requiring patience, many years of extensive training, dedication, technical aptitude and experience. For over 40 years, Philippe Medawar has served a loyal, international clientele who entrust him with the care of their timepieces. Though many artisanal trades are disappearing in our disposable culture, Philippe Medawar is asked daily to rescue various kinds of watches by clients who beg him not to retire, as the man and his business are a rarity today.

Philippe Medawar Swiss Watchmaker
In-House Atelier in Grand Rapids, MI

In-House Atelier

Conveniently located in the village of Cascade, 10 minutes southeast of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, Philippe Medawar provides all expert watchmaking services at 5930 28th Street. New clients complain their watches have formerly been shipped cross-country or abroad for servicing that notoriously takes “forever;” whereas, Philippe Medawar clients enjoy the privilege of in-house Swiss watchmaking services completed in a timely manner, in a safe, secure environment.

Whether timepieces are in need of a new battery, cleaning or restoration services, Philippe Medawar utilizes state-of the-art equipment and techniques to ensure case gaskets are properly sealed and the movement has been thoroughly timed. Though walk-ins are welcome, appointments are encouraged for your convenience. 

Repair Services

Just like a car requires servicing to perform optimally, so does your watch

Cleaning, Oiling and Adjusting (COA)

Every three to five years – depending on the age, condition, whether waterproof or non-waterproof, watch type (quartz or mechanical) – a watch must be disassembled, cleaned, oiled and adjusted for proper timing. Dry oil combined with pollutants creates an abrasive that can damage delicate watch gears.

Water pressure test on a Rolex watch

Because replacing broken parts is costlier than regular maintenance, Philippe Medawar urges watch lovers to routinely have watches serviced for COA (Cleaning, Oiling and Adjusting).

During the COA process, Philippe Medawar determines if old or broken parts, like a mainspring, need replacing. Because various finishes, such as satin finish, have usually worn off over the years, it may be necessary to refinish the watch's case and band. At this juncture, the case and band are also buffed, polished and cleaned so your watch looks sparkling clean. The timepiece is carefully reassembled without any of the dust, dry oil and microscopic pollutants that could harm the fragile watch movement. When the case, crystal and back are reassembled, those requiring are waterproofed in a Bergeon water pressure tester.

Timing a watch

To ensure proper timing, the watch is first checked on a computerized timer and then rechecked after a minimum of 48 hours. Philippe Medawar provides clients with a one year warranty, excluding rust and broken parts, for the COA service.

This is a very general description of the extremely detailed, precise, time consuming COA process. Those with additional inquiries are welcome to either phone or visit the Philippe Medawar atelier on 28th Street in Grand Rapids, Michigan.


Watch Batteries

Many people incorrectly assume watch battery replacement is elementary. If that were true, we wouldn’t need watchmakers to replace batteries. 

Corroded watch movement from a battery leaking

Weekly, Philippe Medawar is asked to rescue quartz timepieces with broken and missing parts, scratched/dented backs and scraped circuit boards resulting from unqualified hands attempting to open a watch case with a knife to replace a battery without the proper training and equipment. To protect your investment and the well-being of your watch, Philippe Medawar advises you never allow a non-watchmaker to attempt battery replacement.

Various watch brands, the construction of distinct models within a brand and whether or not they are waterproof or water-resistant are all criteria that determine a watchmaker’s approach to changing watch batteries. Philippe Medawar advises batteries be replaced every two years maximum, regardless of the brand of watch or if the watch is still running. This precautionary care is vital and could prevent the battery from leaking, causing corrosion to the movement, circuit board and other delicate parts (see photo).

The time needed to replace a watch battery is unique to each watch. Watch battery replacement service fees vary depending on the amount of time needed by the watchmaker and this can only be determined after the watchmaker inspects your watch. Clients may request an appointment or stop by Philippe Medawar on 28th Street in Grand Rapids for a free estimate.


Resealing Gaskets

Rusted watch restored by Philippe Medawar

Philippe Medawar cautions to not neglect the health of your watch. Every time a watch is serviced or a watch battery is replaced at Philippe Medawar, an exacting service is performed to ensure the timepiece is properly sealed. The watch back and crown each have gaskets that must be in good condition and properly sealed or moisture may enter the watch case causing rust, corrosion and damage to the delicate parts (see photo). If a non-watchmaker carelessly closes the case back, the case gasket will get smashed between the metal case and the metal back compromising the protective seal. If a crown gasket is worn or cracked, rust will spread throughout the movement causing expensive, time-consuming repairs.

By properly maintaining your watch, you can prevent unnecessary expenses and keep your precious watch in optimum condition.


Watch Bands

So that clients can more comfortably wear their favorite watch, Philippe Medawar offers watch band adjustment services. Those needing a watch band fitted to their wrist may make an appointment or stop by the 28th Street atelier and a watchmaker will assist you. Please note that the person wishing to wear the watch must be present to properly size the bracelet for a perfect fit. Those clients needing a new metal band or a new leather strap may choose from a wide selection of styles available at Philippe Medawar.

The aforementioned Watch Repair Services are a small fraction of available watch services at Philippe Medawar. Those with additional needs may call at your convenience and expert staff will happily answer your inquiries.

Watch Restoration

Once in a while, amid our busy lives, we forget something important like filling up the fuel tank in our car or to fully screw in the crown of our watch; however, don’t despair – empty gas tanks can be re-fueled and rusted watches can be restored. Swiss watchmaker, Philippe Medawar, has over 40 years of experience restoring all brands of timepieces.

In our disposable culture, it’s a rarity to find a family-owned business that takes pride in restoring what others would throw away. Whether an everyday timepiece, one only worn for diving excursions or a special occasion watch inherited from one's grandparent, Philippe Medawar will lovingly restore the prized timepiece to proper working order.

Appointments for Philippe Medawar Watch Restoration Services are recommended, where the dedicated staff looks forward to serving you.

Rolex Restoration
"I want to thank you and express my gratitude for fixing my M&Co. watch. I am very appreciative for the kindness that you have showed to us and we will be forever grateful for your professionalism."
"Thank you for the kindness you showed my father and I when fixing my watch yesterday. I am so appreciative that you were able to fix something that means so much to me. It was a pleasure meeting you!"
"My father and I decided getting my grandfather’s watch appraised was long overdue. We made our first and only stop at this location. We were treated with such kindness that our visit made us feel like we've known Philippe for years. He spent quality time educating us on my heirloom and assessing my current and future needs. His fine line of jewelry is rivaled only by his equally impressive services. Thank you for making my father and I feel right at home. You, your daughter and your staff's hospitality is what separates you from the rest. I look forward to getting my watch serviced with you!"
"Thank you so very much for fixing my husband’s watch, and so quickly! It seems that you did extra work in order to save us the expense of another crown. We should pay you extra for the thorough work and fast service!!"
"I brought two Swiss Army watches for battery replacement. They did wonderful, prompt & professional work. I respect the integrity & honesty of their watch Master. I feel good about patronizing this store & would encourage you, dear review reader, to visit for yourself. I think you'll be pleased as well."
—C. Martin