Service of Steltman Watches

ic_query_builder_black_24px | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Frank Geelen | 2 minute read

Usually i post about nice watches, but today i want to share an experience i had when visiting Steltman Watches in The Hague.

Today a friend and me went looking for a watch for him. He was about to buying a new Panerai GMT (PAM88) which was on his wishlist for quite some time now.

pam88.jpg

After visiting a few great shops, who unfortunately didn’t have the desired watch, we went to the Panerai AD here in The Hague, Steltman Watches. While my friend asked for the PAM88 i told the sales person i’d like to see another Panerai that i just love, the PAM212.

pam212.jpg

The salesman was Andrew Brom, the son of the owner of Steltman Watches. He told me he had seen me in the shop before and asked if i had bought a watch there before. I said i didn’t. Than he asked me if he should invest his time in me, since I had never bought a watch there….

After i realised what he just told me i put the PAM212 down and told him to have a great day and we left. I’ve never been in a shop where i was treated this rude… let alone a high end juweler who also carries brands like Lange und Sohne, Patek Philippe, IWC and Breguet.

Later on i talked to my good friend Edwin who owns several Lange watches and he told me he had the  exact similar experience with Andrew Brom. And he even knew a few more watch enthousiast who had the same unpleasant experience with this young man.

I find it shocking to be treated this way. I love watches, i enjoy them a lot, but i’m not in the position to buy a watch every time i visit an AD. I always need to try a watch several times before i can spent a lot of money.

17 responses

  1. That’s an incredible story and they’ll never learn.
    It’s hard to please the Steltman staff;
    However most of their staff is very cool,
    it’s actually only that one person that does not know how to behave.

    My nephew, 18 years, brought his TagHeuer to Steltman for service.
    His parents had bought the watch there a couple of years ago.
    But the guy was sent away, since Steltman skipped TagHeuer from their collection,
    (like they did with F.P. Journe and Magallan).
    So when they don’t carry a brand anymore, they don’t seem to do the service anymore;
    Quite an attitude.

  2. wow, what a story. I think Steltman not realizes what happened here. It’s really concerning when a company threats there clients like this. This is not the first time I hear experiences like this and in my opinion it’s killing when a salesman don’t respect a customer.

    I wonder what the brandmanagers think of this situation. And another thing, I can’t understand either that they stopped aftersales of previous brands. They can make so much money in this bad economical times with after sales…unbelievable.

    thanks for sharing this Monochrome, I’ll buy my watches somewhere else!

    cheers, Wimster

  3. Phew! Incredible story, Frank, but it doesn’t come as a surprise to me!

    Mr. Andrew Brom treated me in a similar way a few years ago. I had visited the Steltman Watches store a few times since 2002 (in 2002 on invitation of someone from Amsterdam, later to buy a Lange & Söhne book and another time looking to trade my IWC BigPilot for a Lange & Söhne Langematik in white gold, another time to order a Lange custom strap and yet another time to buy a strap for a Lemania watch of mine).

    It was that latter visit that was memorable: I was looking for a custom made strap for my Lemania monopusher chronograph, and was assisted by one of the salesclerks (I think his name was Niels, a very nice gentleman btw.). After we had discussed the different materials and various colors of stitching-thread available, I ordered the strap and when I was done, I asked this salesclerk if I could have a quick look at the rosé gold Lange-1 Moonphase which sat in a display case close to the counter.

    I was wearing my Datograph during this visit and Mr. Brom was aware of that (as I had the Datograph laying in front of me on the countertop for everyone to see – he already made a remark as to which watch I was wearing) and I’m 99.9% positive that Mr. Brom knew I owned 3 Lange & Söhne watches at that time already.

    Well … here I was standing next to the counter holding the rosé gold Lange-1 in my hands and telling the salesclerk how much I admired that piece. Mr. Brom walked by and heard me say something about the Lange and he replied “”Well Mr. Heusinkveld, don’t you think it is time that we [Steltman Watches] are going to benefit from your love for Lange Uhren”” … I shook my head in disbelieve and he continued with “”you have visited us 6 times now and never ever purchased something from us””.

    Imagine someone telling you this aloud in a store, measuring perhaps 4 by 5 meters, crowded with people … I really felt humiliated and degraded for no apparent reason. He could have sold me that Langematik but during my visit (in 2003 or so) he (Mr. Brom) failed to quote me a price. And … we aren’t talking about buying a loaf of bread here, and before I would jump to my first non-white-metal watch I want to see and hold it a couple of times before I order it.

    Well, my blood started boiling and I managed to leave the jeweler store before I exploded (literally, but verbally as well) but I did thank the salesclerk for his effort helping me pick a strap. (btw., I met my wife outside and her first words to me where “”what happened???””; I guess she noticed my tomato-like head and the steam coming out of my ears).

    A couple of days after I received the strap by mail (a few weeks later) the salesclerk gave me a call asking whether I did receive the strap or not and if it was matching my expectations. During that phone call I told the salesclerk that I wanted an official apology by Mr. Andrew Brom, either by phone, e-mail or in a letter. I told the salesclerk that I had heard of similar stories from people also being treated this rude by Mr. Andrew Brom and the salesclerk, reluctantly, admitted to me that they [the staff at Steltman Watches] are aware of these issues.

    Well, to end my contribution to you blog, Frank, I have decided to never ever enter the Steltman store again, not until I receive an official apology by Mr. Andrew Brom. I seriously doubt I ever receive this apology.

    And … you know what, I don’t care anymore, as I much prefer to go to Leon Martens Jeweler in Maastricht. Although traveling to Maastricht takes twice the time it takes me to get to Den Haag, it is worth every minute of my time as the staff at Leon Martens [notably Mr. Luud Martens, Lex and Jean] are very warm, friendly, hospitable and highly qualified, and on each and every visit I felt welcome, whether I bought something or not.

    And, although it is all water under the bridge now, I seriously did think of purchasing my current rosé gold Lange-1 from Steltman…

    So my advice to the readers of your blog is to visit Martens jeweler in Maastricht instead of Steltman, or, if you do visit Steltman, request, no, demand, being assisted by anyone at Steltman other then mr. Rude himself.

    Edwin

    I fear that the chances of Mr. Rude leaving the Steltman jeweler store are slim at best as he is the son of the owner; these family businesses not necessarily employ the best qualified staff … Frank if you start a thread on kitchen stores horror stories I can contribute another 10 pages of my recent experiences ;-D

  4. Thank you very much for sharing your experience, Edwin! What a story…

    Also thanx to Geo and Wimster! This only shows that my experience was no incident.

    I do hope something will change at Steltman. This is not good for the customers and not good for the brands. Now they are being represented by a salesman that is just rude. And most of these brands are not available at every corner, even not in big cities like The Hague or Amsterdam.
    I think brands should take a look into this to make sure they are represented in the best possible way. It’s like you say, Edwin, not just buying a loaf of bread.

    Cheers,
    Frank

  5. The best and most important thing to do about this is to vote with your wallets – as in take your watch business elsewhere and do not reward such pathetic behavior!

    Kyle/Perpetuelle

  6. Hi Frank,

    I’m sad to learn this story about one of my colleagues, in the same street as we are.

    I think the Noordeinde in The Hague has the potential to become, or be, a nice watch alley with now six watch specialists and watch related shops on a row.

    However, this kind of experiences will not do our name any good.

    I hope Andrew just didn’t have his day, and will apologize the next time you’re there. If you will give him another chance of course.

    The thing is that their type of customers is not the type of people ‘we’ are. They mainly are not interested in watches the way ‘we’ are. They certainly don’t read watch blogs and visit watch forums. They like to be treated with a chair and a cup of coffee, and get the feeling to be important because they can afford an expensive watch. Which they bought with all ‘egards’ in a shop with staff in three piece suits.

    In this light people like us don’t fit quite well in the Steltman picture, and that might be why Andrew reacted in a way he did.

    Or he just doesn’t want to have people like ‘us’ in his shop and is quite clear about that. In that case it is his choice and he is free to make that choice. To be honest, there are people who I don’t like too much in my shop as well, and I’m not always extremely polite to them as well (never rude in my opinion however)… And in most cases I never see them back indeed 😉

  7. Hi all,

    What an amazing story. Most shocking probably is the fact that others can confirm it, and it’s not an incident. I already saw Monochrome’s post on Horomundi about this and was wondering what AD it would be, good to know that know.

    It is rather a stupid move by the salesman as he must know that this kind of business is about reputation, building relations, trust and treating your customers right, even more than in other lines of retail.

    You all are lucky people to own these kind of beautiful watches. I wish I could make the same statements. But, I’m looking to buy a JLC or Panerai or IWC. As I’m from Rotterdam Steltman would have been a good one to go. Now I’ll think a couple of times before going in there. Now Maastricht is a bit far away, does anyone have a good suggestion more in the neighbourhood?

    Word travels fast as they say, even more in the current internet age with blogs like these and forums like Horomundi. Good that you post your experiences here, I’m happy I read it. I really wonder whether the owner of Steltman gets to read this and what he thinks about it…

    Keep up your nice blog!

    Cheers!
    Rik

  8. Thank you for all your comments!! Like Kyle says, voting with our wallets is the way to honor a relationship with an AD.

    @ Gerard, good point about the beautiful shoppingstreet Noordeinde. This could be a major watch shopping street when you look at all the stores and brands they represent. But seen from the many other posts on Dutch forums and comments on this blog i’m afraid it was not just one bad day for the person mentioned. It seems this happens more often… unfortunately!

    @ Rik, I Rotterdam there’s an excellent AD wo caries JLC. It’s Salvatore Juwelers. The owner is a watch enthousiast who wears a JLC Master Compressor chronograph, which happens to be my favorite of the Compressor line. He takes his time, offers you a cup of coffee and than it’s time to talk about watches 🙂

  9. Hi Frank,

    I’ll have a look at Noordeinde soon. Sounds like a good place to go.

    Salvatore is a nice place indeed. Very friendly people with knowledge in a good atmosphere. I’ve been there before. They also have Cartier and some others. Schaap en Citroen also has JLC and IWC (and much more).
    Another nice juweler is Van Willegen at the Schiekade. They have a large collection of IWC. And, also very nice people helping you.

    Sadly non of these juwelers have very extended range of brands like Steltman, that’s my reason for asking. Thanks for the quick reply.

    Cheers!
    Rik

  10. An impressive line-up can be found at juweler Leon Martens in Maastricht. I know this is a long journey coming from Rotterdam, but i always find it worth the time 🙂

  11. Hello,

    I came to this blog by chance and i must say I am very sad to hear things like this about Andrew, who I actually know personally! Sure this – especially as it has been confirmed by other experiences – is a serious matter! Still I want to give you an idea of the other side.

    I am a watch dealer myself on a comparable basis as Steltman! And reading through all the answers I kind of get an idea what might be the matter!

    Within the last decade the market has changed tremendously. As back then a discount of more than 3 to 5 percent used to be an reward and sure nobody asked for that it has nowadays become the norm! People frequent our stores looking at the watches, trying them comparing them, taking the advisory of our sales personell and then go to buy the watch we have been selling, somewhere where there can get the biggest discount! Then after having bought the watch on the grey market they frequent our shop again to blame us for not having quoted on the price on the one hand and then again to use our service as we as an official dealer are obliged to do so!

    Obviously this is the extreme case and still the majority of customers behave polite and are willing to accept the fact that service costs money! Only those few exceptions are that frustrating that once in a while we might be misinterpreting a situation and then react like andrew did!

    And to be honest, in the case Edwin told earlier I would probably have reacted the same way! Edwin frequents the Steltman shop several times to make (sorry) minor purchases. On the other hand he owns several really expensive watches, which he all bought somewhere else! I wouldn’t be willing to offer my service endlessly to someone who only seems to take the advices to finally buy some! If he decides not to be a Steltman customer he should be consequent on that!

    We do an honourable job and we want to be treated like that! We do not want to be treated like servants!

  12. Watchdealer,

    You are talking shit.

    In the “Lange-category” people like to be well informed and usually won’t buy on the spot. Instead, they’ll return several times and try some watches on before finally deciding.

    Further, people with several high end watches will very probably have bought from multiple jewellers. There is no need to limit your business to just one dealer.

    In my opinion it isn’t up to mr. Blom to make remarks like he did. His behaviour is rude, impolite and, were I Edwin, would have made me inform Lange.

    There is NO EXCUSE whatsoever for being rude to customers, whether they are big spenders or can only afford a strap. Just stay polite!

    Watchdealers should always realise that they only have their business because people are willing to buy from THEM. They have to earn their business by offering good and correct service and information.

    Mr. Blom seems to be missing that point.

  13. @ “Watchtdealer”… of course you do an honorable job and shouldn’t be threated as servants. In my case i was not the one being inpolite… and that’s why i want to add that “not wanting to be threated like servants” does not mean be arrogant towards customers. One thing should be clear… a paying customer is the one that pays your bills 😉

    @ “an avid collector”… please keep the tone friendly. I agree with you that being nice to customers always pays of.

  14. I am totally shocked. What kind of a salesman does that?! Ask if he should bother to invest time in you. That is a totally respectless act. He should be fired immediately if you ask me. And I can say that from my true heart. I work everyday as a boss of several salesmen here in Norway.

    Doing this sort of stuff is NOT acceptable in any possible way. And this is probably a very expencive watch, although I don’t really have any clue about watches, really. But it seems so, and that tells me something more important about the salesman you met: He is filthy greedy. Period. – Ray J., Norway

  15. Thanx for your response. I like the idea to ‘return’ the question about investing time in someone. The watches where indeed expensive. Steltman is one of the high-end dealers where the prices start in the 4 digits.

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