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About

Summary

Summary

(Scroll down for opening hours + directions to office)

"If I recommend a product, I'm happy to use it myself.'' Raffi Katz.

QUICKTEST manufactures the QUICKTEST and TROYTEST brands of tester for gold and silver (and other white metals: platinum, Palladium, steel); they are used by every major chain of jewellers and pawnbrokers in the UK, over 650 stores. That is why these testers are regarded as the 'industry standard', they are even used for training at the Birmingham Assay Office.

Raffi is the owner of QUICKTEST, his straight-talking style tells you exactly why a product is good, and if it's not good he tells you that too! He has written the definitive guide, The Gold and Silver Buyer's Handbook (see the reviews); see his many information articles (magnifiers, scales, gem testers, UV lights, polishes, winders etc).

We consider ourselves the UK experts in testing equipment including diamond testers and gem testers, magnifiers and UV lights. We are the UK agents for the most reliable electronic gold tester.

Next Day Delivery service available. Visitors welcome by appointment.

Opening hours and next day delivery, September 2019

Opening hours and next day delivery, September 2019

UK, STANDARD DELIVERY ORDERS, 3 to 5 working days
Most orders delivered in 2 to 3 days (many arrive the next day!) but this is not a guaranteed service, please allow up to 5 working days.

UK, NEXT DAY ORDERS PLACED MON-THURS:
If you order by 3.30pm:
- Royal Mail delivery by 1pm (incl. Sat but not Sun / bank holidays)
- UPS delivery (chemicals and very heavy orders) by 5pm (Mon-Fri excl. bank holidays)
- Highlands and offshore addresses may take longer

UK, NEXT DAY ORDERS PLACED ON A FRIDAY:
If you order by 11am:
- Royal Mail delivery by 1pm Sat (excluding industrial areas that are closed on a Sat)
- UPS delivery (chemicals and very heavy orders) by 5pm (Mon-Fri excl. bank holidays)
- Highlands and offshore addresses may take longer

OFFICE HOURS

MONDAY TO THURSDAY
- open sometime between 7am and 8am
- close sometime between 5pm and 6pm

FRIDAY
- open sometime between 7am and 8am
- close sometime between 1pm and 2pm

SATURDAY
- closed

SUNDAY, usually open in the morning:
- open sometime between 8am and 9am
- close sometime between 1pm and 2pm
Visitors: essential information

Visitors: essential information

Please scroll down for directions.

Please make an appointment, so we can ensure that staff have time available to assist you. We operate from a unit on an industrial estate, not a shop, not even a showroom, so please let us know which items you would like to see and what time (to the nearest hour) you wish to call. You will be encouraged to open and check the items, to make sure that they are suitable for your needs.

Payment methods accepted:
- cash
- bank transfer using your own mobile device

Payment methods NOT accepted

- card (credit card, debit card, charge card, birthday card...any card)
- cheque (personal cheque, company cheque...any cheque)

BEST TIMES TO VISIT

If you know exactly what you want and just want it ready-and-waiting so that you can pay and go - then any time during office hours is fine.

If you wish to see a selection of items or require a demonstration of an expensive item, the best times are:
- Monday to Thursday 9am to 4pm
- Some Fridays, 9am to midday (but Friday is not a good day)
- Saturday, we are closed on Saturday
- Sundays 11am to 1pm

PARKING

See if you can park outside our door before hunting around for a parking space.

Parking restrictions apply Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. You will have ten minutes, then you are likely to get a £100.00 parking ticket. If you think you won't be able to check the goods and pay in ten minutes, go to the main reception at the front of the building and register your vehicle.

Please remember to make an appointment. If you turn up un-announced it will take (maybe) 5mns to discuss your requirements + 5mns to fetch your order from the warehouse + 5mns to process the payment + (maybe) 5mns for you to examine the items...and the result is a £100.00 parking fine.

There are no parking restrictions before 9am or on a Sunday. Out of hours, if Entrance 1 is locked please use Entrance 2.

SELLING

If you are selling second hand / antique items please bring identification.
Visitors: address, map, directions

Visitors: address, map, directions

We are at Park House (Flexspace), 15-19 Greenhill Crescent, Watford, WD18 8PH.

Please telephone first, 01923 220206.

CLICK HERE FOR MAP.

We have an "Information" page with a map and written directions (by car, by public transport, by foot or by bicycle) - click here.

Parking: see if you can park outside our door, or close to it. You will have ten minutes of free parking before getting a £100.00 parking ticket. The easiest option is to phone for an appointment, place your order so that we can have the items ready, bring the exact cash - then you can be in and out in 10mns. If there's a special reason to take longer than 10mns, please tell us in advance and we will get you a visitor's parking permit.
Visitors: sat nav directions

Visitors: sat nav directions

WD18 8PH, No.19 (will be on the left). Please telephone before visiting, 01923 220206.

Quicktest, Park House (Flexspace), 15-19 Greenhill Crescent, Watford Business Park, Watford, WD18 8PH

Park House will be on your LEFT, it is after Pennings but before Citroen (both on your right). It is the only three-storey office block in the street. From a distance you can see a big transmitting mast on top of the building (look to your left, look upwards). Outside is a green sign FLEXSPACE, TO LET. Above the main entrance is the word FLEXSPACE. RECEPTION. Fixed to the fence by the main entrance is a sign "Tony & Maria's Cafe". The nearest turning (opposite) is Caxton Way. Still can't see the building? Give up and go home.

Turn left by the café sign then right at the end. You are now in the back car park, driving along the back of the building.

We are near the end of the car park, 100 yards away

Drive slowly, past entrance C (we are now 50 yards away)

Sticking out into the car park is Unit 7 and above the '7' (look up) the sign QUICKTEST
- ignore the roller shutters unless you are delivering heavy goods
- ignore the next door unless you are collecting parcels
- the next door is the office, for visitors (QUICKTEST on the door)
If you get to the ramp you've gone too far.

Parking: see if you can park outside our door, or close to it. You will have ten minutes of free parking before getting a £100.00 parking ticket. The easiest option is to phone for an appointment, place your order, we will have it ready for you - then you should be in and out in 5mns. If there's a special reason to take longer than 10mns, go to to Reception at the front of the building and register your vehicle.
Mail order

Mail order


We have been selling by mail since 1986. We are small enough to be able to follow every order and to know about every product, but large enough to actually stock the items (97% of items are in stock at any one time).

Our standard service is "3 to 5 day delivery" (typcial UK postage £5.00); also next day (typical UK postage £9.60).

We also post to any country that has a postal system. I think that's every country.

Testing acids (UK mainland only) must go by a special chemical service, standard service £11.40, next day service £15.00 - delivery to remote areas costs more.

The Staff

The Staff


Here is a guide to the staff, and also a guide to who you might wish to speak to on the phone.

Raffi (that's me): founder of Quicktest, designer of this website, writer of articles and catalogues, I know most things about the products and most things-technical. I reluctantly answer the phone.

Sandra: administrator. In charge of orders from wholesalers and the big chains of stores, very good at troubleshooting, knows about most products and all suppliers, very good on the telephone.

If you own (or buy for) more than ten stores, ask Sandra about our 'call-off' system, you send us a weekly spread sheet, we send the orders out to the stores, no need for you to get 'accounts' to authorise each order.

Diana: in charge of warehouse, production and returns; does order processing for retail orders (including most telephone orders); good at general enquiries, very good on the telephone.

If you have a query about a dispatch or about a returned item; if you need advice about stock or delivery times, then Diana is your person.

Lesley: helps with packing, very good at preparing bulk orders. Answers the phone if the three of us aren't available.

Andy: packing and maintenance, a good person to talk to if it was he who packed your order or repaired your return. Unlikely to answer the phone.

Mathew: assembly. He does not answer the phone.

Chris: works in the lab, on Sundays (you might get to speak to him if you phone on a Sunday).


FREELANCERS:

- Karen (bookkeeping)
- Levi (SEO)
- Phil (marketing)
- Stephen (general computer support)
- Nigel (major computer fixes)


STUDENTS:

Harry, Megan...and various others after school and in the holidays.

Timeline

Timeline

THE HISTORY OF QUICKTEST

My name is Raffi Katz, and this is the history of QUICKTEST.

1970s / early 1980s, I worked in a jobbing workshop for jewellery, then a retail jewellers, a watch company and a scrap/bullion company. All of this came in useful for my book, The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook. Over this period I frequented some of the early antiques fairs and markets.

Early 1980s, in my spare time I worked at antiques fairs, selling jewellers' loupes, weighing machines (in those days it was spring balances) and Troytest acid testers for gold and silver. These were also the early days of selling by mail, I placed an advert it Exchange & Mart, I had a mailing list that grew to several dozen, and I was sending out 2 or 3 parcels per week. I used an accommodation address near my full-time work, in Covent Garden, London.

1986. In addition to selling loupes and balances, I produced the first QUICKTEST acid tester, made in a portable fume cupboard set up in my mum's kitchen (presumably I thought it too dangerous to handle the chemicals in my flat). These were the days, long ago, when you could actually buy chemicals from a local chemist shop. I continued to sell the Troytest brand of precious metal acid testers.

However, my main project, at this time, was the development of the very first miniature digital weighing machine for gold. This was six years before the first mass-produced balance, made by the Japanese company TANITA. After a few months I ran out of money for research and development and the project folded - but I do still have the prototype and it still works well. The project left me with a detailed knowledge of how weighing and weighing machines work.

1986. The first edition of The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook

Late 1980s. I was still working from home, but the flat was too small to store the stock, so I borrowed space in a friend's storeroom in Hendon, North London (which I briefly used as an address for QUICKTEST). But I needed a local address for mail order customers, so I got myself a box number: QUICKTEST, PO BOX 180, WATFORD.

I was working at two or three antiques fairs per week, from Devon to Kent to Staffordshire to Southern Scotland. With the collapse of the Soviet Union I started dealing in night vision equipment and other military optics, first as it came out of the Russian military bases in Eastern Europe, then directly from a factory in Russia.

1988. Second edition of The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook, with a third edition in 1993.

I also took to writing for the antiques press, with two regular columns for the Antiques Dealer newspaper (a humorous column, and a serious column about the antiques fairs) - this lasted for six years and greatly subsidised the small antiques business and the small mail order business. I employed a part-time packer.

1990s. I moved the business out of home and into an industrial unit in West Watford. I decided, for the sake of continuity, to keep the P.O. box number as the address. Several part-timers worked for Quicktest, both in the office and at the fairs. Then the antiques fairs went into decline, and I lost my job as a columnist (apparently, six years is a good run for a columnist!)

We had now become a 'proper' mail order company, sending the parcels out on contract with Royal Mail (I think the minimum quantity at that time was 3000 per year).

Early 2000s. We moved three times, each time into slightly larger premises, my dad worked for me part time; then he died suddenly; Chris took his place, and soon became full-time. It was hard work with just two of us processing and packing orders, writing and producing mail order catalogues, maintaining a website, and I was still working at some antiques fairs and writing some newspaper articles. Chris left and a succession of part-timers helped out.

2006.Chris came back to work on Sundays, helping mix and bottle the acids in the laboratory.

2007. Mac takes control of the warehouse and dispatch.

2008. We bought our competitor Troytest (the founder, L T W Hansen invented the tester in 1949), and we supplied Troytest and Quicktest precious metal testers to most jewellery wholesalers in the U.K.

2010. We took over the warehouse next door.

2019. We are still a relatively small company, three permanent staff, three 'casuals' and a collection of freelancers and students. This is good. This means that we are all at one location (unlike large mail order companies which can be split into several companies scattered aroundt the country) - so that we always know what is in stock, and all about the products, and a lot about our customers.


THE HISTORY OF THE GOLD & SILVER BUYER'S HANDBOOK

To see its contents and also some rather good reviews click here.

In the 1970s I worked in a jewellers shop just off London's Leicester Square, the main business being scrap and bullion, medals and coins. From my very first days I started gathering 'data' on gold, coins and medallions, and by about 1979 this had, in my mind, transformed itself from pages of charts to a book.

I have an un-dated copy of my 'original idea', called Is it Gold? Is it Silver? and dates from about 1981. It's a hand-folded 36-page booklet, photocopied from originals, typed (by me) on a manual typewriter, and illustrated by cartoonist Phil Davis. If you have one of these, it's rare, I could only have produced a few dozen.

It seemed, to me, that this could be developed into a proper book, and I set about finding myself an agent to sell it. Literary agents (in the days before the internet) were nearly impossible to find, they hid themselves from the many would-be writers who were liable to walk into their office un-announced - but I found one, Serafina. Now, thirty years later, I notice that not much has changed, Serafina's website states that they are "not currently accepting unsolicited submissions" and that anyone emailing a submission will probably not receive a reply.

Serafina said the book looked interesting enough for her to research, but warned me that there were probably many similar books, in which case she would not be interested.

A few months later (these things take time!) she reported back. My book was, indeed, unique, and she was happy to take it on. A few months later she found a publisher, my book was to be the third on the list (a new 'imprint'). A few months later the publisher was bought out by a larger company...who 'dropped' the entire imprint, thus 'killing' my book and the others on the list.

I decided to publish it myself.

I know, from the ISBN number, that the first edition was in 1986. I've found my own archive copy, and to my amazement it is home-made, photocopied from my own typing, probably on an electric typewriter, with a plain card cover. It has 64 pages. A similar copy has an introduction dated December 1986 and a glossy cover, I take this to be a reprint of the original, with some amendments.

The second edition is dated 1987 and, again, there are two versions with two different covers and slightly different page formats, it looks as if I progressed from a typewriter to a computer printer, they still look 'home made' but at least they are properly trimmed.

The third edition is dated 1988, professionally printed and bound, 96 pages.

There was then a slight pause, probably because I had printed a couple of thousand books and wanted to sell them before updating the book.

We are now on the fourth edition, 2011, 184 pages.

The Gold & Silver Buyer's Handbook is a proper book, not (as you will see on the internet) a booklet telling you how to 'get rich quick' by buying and selling gold, To see its contents and also some rather good reviews click here.