Desperate for a bespoke suit in a week? Spill Cognac in your private jet? Has your grandfather’s watch stopped? Some conundrums can’t be handled by a tech startup or even your average skilled technician. Certain tasks still require highly specialized experts. Here, your guide to fixers in New York… just in case.
The Dry Cleaner Who Can Work Magic
While most Manhattan dry cleaners are probably capable of such quotidian chores as pressing a shirt or freshening up a winter coat, if you need someone to tend to silk brocade walls, upholstered Louis XVI chairs, couture gowns or wine spills on your jet’s interior, call Madame Paulette, favored by everyone from Beyoncé to Anna Wintour. For textile disasters, staff will come to your house (or, as the case may be, your personal hangar); they can also deconstruct, clean and reconstruct a favorite designer ensemble. “We do the mundane,” says general manager Johnny Xirouchakis. “But when people’s prized collections are damaged, it’s not about the insurance company replacing them. No amount of money can replace them. People just want them restored.” Prices start at $32 for standard dry cleaning of a shirt and $65 for a suit.
The Watch Man, Part 1: The Fixer
Just as there are only certain names you want on your wrist, so there should be even fewer names you trust to take apart what’s on your wrist. And one that keeps cropping up is watch repairer Dimitrie Vicovanu at the unassuming shop Master of Time, in midtown Manhattan. Known for his encyclopedic knowledge, deft hand and a workshop in Queens stuffed with an array of repair parts, Vicovanu has become not just the surgeon for ailing chronometers but also a vital resource to a new generation of watch repairers. He’s also been tapped by auction houses such as Sotheby’s to help fix antique models hitting the block. Cleanings start at $175; restoration can cost as much as $2,000.
The Watch Man, Part 2: The Finder
As the fourth generation in a family of watch retailers, Carl Cohen grew up steeped in the world of horology. He’s parlayed that knowledge and professional network into Veralet, a watch seller and advisory service that helps clients find their dream vintage timepieces. Veralet’s concierges work one-on-one with everyone from novice buyers to seasoned collectors to pinpoint their ideal watches, then source them in the best condition. Rare Rolexes are a particular specialty: A collector recently challenged Cohen to track down a Day-Date in 18-karat white gold with a factory lapis-lazuli dial, one of only a handful produced. Took a while, but Cohen found one. Prices start at around $1,000. (Contact email@example.com if you’re interested.)
The Best Bespoke and Off-the-Rack Denim
With more than 1,000 varieties, 3×1 offers the largest selection of selvedge denim in the world. And that’s only a fraction of the possibilities afforded by the made-to-measure and bespoke denim atelier. Every custom pair is individually measured, hand-cut and sewn on-site at the brand’s SoHo store, allowing a customer to choose fit, fabric, buttons and even belt loops—if you even decide to make jeans at all. We know of one client who commissioned a full denim tuxedo, while another ordered three sets of corduroys in every color available—one for each home. Made-to-measure denim starts at $525. Bespoke is $1,500 for the first pair, then made-to-measure rates apply for additional jeans that use the same pattern.
The Age-Busting Facial
Most men don’t start paying serious attention to their skin until the damage has been done, which means surgery— or moisturizer and a prayer. L. Raphael offers an alternative: high-tech face and body treatments that have more of an impact than standard spa fare but are nowhere near as invasive as cosmetic surgery. The secret weapon is L. Raphael’s signature oxygen jets, which are employed in various capacities for everything from reviving sullen complexions to producing healthier hair. For those who prefer to keep their upkeep quiet, L. Raphael will help you design a private spa—and will train local therapists—at your home, office or other clandestine locale. Prices start at $210 for a facial.
The Fix-It for Shoes and Other Leather Goods
With five locations in New York City and two on the way, including a Saks Fifth Avenue outpost, the Leather Spa cleans anything made from a hide, real or faux, be it a pair of sneakers or a five-figure handbag ($50K Hermès Birkins are not uncommon). Nothing fazes the experts here, not a 48-piece vinyl outdoor furniture set a Hamptons customer recently had cleaned nor a pair of leather underwear—they’ll even rebuild a pair of shoes to perfectly fit your wide or narrow foot. Plus, all services are done by hand. “We’ve been doing this for so long,” says vice president David Mesquita. Clients include Tommy Hilfiger and Andrew Cuomo. But no snobbery here: “Whether it’s a shoe from Nine West or Tom Ford,” Mesquita says, “we treat it the same.” Footwear cleaning starts at $50.
The Spot for Vintage Eyeglasses
The folks at the stylish, clubhouse-like SoHo shop Silver Lining Opticians can do some minor repair work for you, but the real draw is the vast array of vintage styles on offer, which attracts a discerning clientele looking for unique, hard-to-find frames. They’ll even help you track down a rare pair. The shop’s in-house line is a cool alternative. Prices start at $245.
The Tailor to Have on Speed Dial
When a certain high-wattage Hollywood director found himself in need of a suit just five days before his wedding, he rang New York–based J. Mueser. Working with Mueser’s LA ambassador, the director was measured, and the suit made from scratch at Mueser’s West Village atelier, then overnighted, fitted and perfected in time to walk down the aisle. That’s pretty sharp, personalized service. (Absent a similar sartorial crisis, expect your suit to take six weeks.) This modern-day haberdashery offers fully bespoke and made-to-measure tailoring, with more than 10,000 fabrics from mills across the world, as well as custom shirts and everything from socks to pocket squares—a one-stop shop that makes looking flawless truly effortless. Made-to-measure suits from $2,450; bespoke from $3,450.