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South metro

Mix-up with keepsake watch leads to painful loss

Sentimental piece from father switched out to customer at Highlands Ranch shop


A routine trip to a watch-service shop turned into a heart-rending ordeal when an employee handed Kathy Melchior a watch.

Problem is, it wasn't her watch — and by the time they had realized the mix-up, it was too late, and another customer had walked off with Melchior's watch. The missing watch is an old gift from her father, who died in 1991 at age 61 after a three-month fight with brain cancer. It's the only possession Melchior has left from her dad, aside from his wedding ring. Her grandson was to have the watch through her son, Melchior said.

“I was devastated, needless to say,” said Melchior, 67, who has lived at her house in Centennial for about 40 years.

Melchior and another woman waited in the showroom at Right Time International Watch Center at 7110 E. County Line Road for their watches to be serviced — an employee said the other woman was getting a new battery for her father's watch too — and Melchior saw what looked like her watch being given to the other customer.

“I thought, really, that's (weird),” because the band looked the same, Melchior said.

Two employees tried to walk outside and catch the other woman to correct the mix-up, but she had already pulled away, Melchior said. The store couldn't give Melchior her name or phone number because she had paid with a punch card that offers a reward system for repeat customers.

In the month since that incident, Melchior has tried to track down the watch, contacting local news outlets and asking the shop for a picture of the woman. She was told the store can't release an image of the woman because she didn't do anything wrong.

“And I completely agree with them,” Melchior said, noting that Right Time has been helpful and offered to give her a replacement watch. “They said they reviewed the films.”

The other customer didn't look down at the watch before she left, according to the footage, Melchior said.

The other woman's watch is a Citizen brand watch with “Nikolas” engraved on the back, Melchior said, while Melchior's missing watch is a two-toned Seiko that's rounder. The other woman's watch is at the shop, she added.

Monica Barrett, manager at Right Time, said she's confident the other customer will turn up again.

"She's definitely a return customer because (we) recognized she was in two weeks prior" to the mix-up, said Barrett, who has reached out to check in with Melchior periodically in the past weeks.

The shop posted on its Facebook page in hopes the customer would see, but no luck so far.

If she comes back to the store, everyone on staff might jump on her the moment she comes to the door, Barrett said with a laugh.

"I know it sucks — I feel so bad for Kathy," she added.

Melchior is hopeful that getting the word out will get the watch to turn up, and she still feels positive about the shop.

“I would go back,” Melchior said. “I just hope they change their policy, that they take names while people are waiting so that this doesn't happen again.”


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