Luxury watches are designed and built to last a lifetime, and their price tickets reflects this. However, they do require a little maintenance if they’re to stay in shape. Most watch brands will have a service interval that they recommend and in many cases this is required to keep up the guarantee.
But if you have a luxury watch and haven’t really considered its servicing requirements before, or if you suspect your watch might need a once-over, have a look at the following advice. Servicing may not be cheap, but regular maintenance could save you a costly repair bill in the future.
Here are some signs your watch needs a service:
1. EVIDENCE OF MOISTURE
Does your watch have condensation on the glass, water droplets on the dial or hands, air bubbles floating around under the glass? If so, you need to see the watch doctor quickly. Water is a watches’ worst enemy. Rust can form very quickly and prove fatal to the movement.
2. HAS THE TIMEKEEPING BECOME ERRATIC?
All mechanical watches’ timekeeping will fluctuate, but this should be within specific parameters. A quartz watch will keep almost perfect time. If you notice a change in the behaviour of the watch, it may need a service. Get your watch to a proper watch workshop.
The watchmaker will have a clever box of tricks to test either quartz or mechanical watches. These will tell him exactly how much time the watch is losing or gaining, and how this is changing and fluctuating. This is the starting block of all watch repairs.
3. DOES ANYTHING FEEL OR SOUND DIFFERENT?
You would be amazed at what can be deduced by turning the hands or listening to the movement without even opening the case.
An experienced watchmaker will have developed the senses of touch and hearing to the ninth degree. On opening the case, the third sense of the trained eye comes in and will spot very quickly the condition of the movement.
4. DOES THE SECOND HAND SEEM TO JUMP 4 OR 5 SECONDS?
This one is for quartz watches only and is a sign that the battery is about to die, although it will continue to keep good time for another two weeks or so.
This is actually a feature which is built into the brain of the watch. It guarantees you won’t be stuck (without warning) with a stopped watch.
5. DOES THE CROWN STILL SCREW IN?
This applies especially to sports watches. If the watch has a screw down crown, it should screw nicely against the case. If not, moisture, dust or full on water ingress may occur (and we have already visited the possible horrors of this!) so do see a watchmaker ASAP if this is happening.
6. HAVE YOU BEEN REGULARLY WINDING AND/OR WEARING YOUR WATCH?
If an automatic watch isn’t worn, it means it isn’t being wound, and is likely to seize up. The incredibly fine oils used to lubricate your watch can dry, so, like a car, your watch will last longer if worn or at least regularly wound. A watch winding box that keeps your watch moving can be invaluable.
7. HAS YOUR WATCH HAD A HARD LIFE?
Not so much a sign as something to bear in mind, but - if you are a person who enjoys water sports, a particularly active lifestyle, lots of golf or even rock climbing - you may wish to service your watch more regularly.
Bangs and jolts, sudden movements and frequent water contact all take their toll, and in these cases, regardless of what the watch is telling you, regular servicing is a must if you want to keep your watch healthy.
You have invested a great deal of money in your treasured timepiece, and if serviced on a regular basis, it will be with you for life.
Take care in choosing who will service your watch; as with everything in life, there are good and bad watchmakers. Ask questions about what a service will consist of. Are original parts going to be used? And what guarantees will you get on completion of the work?
As stated above, a watch service may not be cheap, but you are after all using the services of a highly skilled and well trained craftsman. The money spent is an investment in the longevity of your watch. Here’s to a long and happy life together.
If you think your watch needs a service or just have questions about looking after your watch, call or email Burrells to talk to one of our experts.
We are a registered stockist of several luxury watch brands, and can give you general advice on caring for your watch, as well as specific information on manufacturers’ servicing.