It’s not something that you necessarily think of when you are buying your new watch, but a mechanical watch, like a car, needs to be serviced regularly. It is also not something that your watch retailer will often bring up at the moment of purchase. For most brands, a minimum two-year warranty is the norm, while others go up to five years, with some watch brands like Jaeger-LeCoultre offering eight years.
The Difference Between Service and Warranty Contracts
When a watch brand provides a warranty, they assure us that this is a good product that they believe in, and therefore, so can we. A watch needs to be serviced regularly by a certified specialist, and that is often not covered by warranties. These contracts are that much more valuable if they include service as well. Don’t mistake your warranty for a service contract, so check the fine print.
What Does a Service Entail?
A complete service is a complicated process. The watch is opened up, taken apart, cleaned, and polished. Any parts that show wear and tear are replaced, then the movement is reassembled, lubricated, and regulated. The gaskets – a tiny ring that forms a seal – are also changed to ensure that water resistance is guaranteed. The watch is then tested for accuracy.
Why Service Your Watch?
Everything that has some kind of engine will eventually wear out. And you can either choose to buy a new one or repair it. By servicing your watch regularly, you can significantly extend its life span and ensure that it keeps operating year after year.
The oils that lubricate the many components of a watch tend to dry up over the years, causing friction and decreasing the watch’s accuracy. With reduced lubrication, the crown of your watch will be harder to turn, and other metal parts will rub together, creating a fine dust that can harm the watch.
There are a few signs that mean you probably need a service or, at the very least, a check with a certified specialist:
- If your watch is not on time
- If there is moisture inside the case
- If any parts seem to be loose.
There is no exact time frame, but watch companies suggest that your mechanical watches should be serviced every four to five years. How often you need to service your watch depends on a host of factors, such as – how often have you worn it? Did you wear your watch during your daily fitness training? Etc. If you wear your mechanical watch intermittently, you might not need to service it as frequently but it is essential to wind and run the watch at least once a month to keep the parts lubricated. If you wear your watch while swimming or diving, you need to have your watch serviced more frequently to ensure the gaskets continue to keep the water out.
Where Should you Service your Watch?
The best place to have your watch serviced is the retailer where you purchased it. Alternatively, you can go to any authorized retailer of the brand, and they will perform the service. You can also send your watch out to any brand-authorized service center. You will find a list of authorized centers on most brands’ websites.
Be careful as when your watch is under warranty, using anything other than a brand-authorized service center could void the warranty.
How Much Does a Service Cost?
There is a cost associated with a service. It varies from brand to brand and largely depends on how complicated your watch is. It’s safe to say that most mechanical watch services cost somewhere in the region of $100 to $1,000, depending on the watch’s complexity and what needs replacing. For example, an Oris Automatic watch will cost around $200 to service, while a Patek Philippe complication will be closer to $2,000!
Remember that a mechanical watch has more parts than your car engine and will take just as many hours to service, if not more.
How Long Does a Service Take?
The time needed for a service will largely depend on what kind of watch it is and how much work is required. A service is not a small job, so it is safe to say that you should be prepared to be without your watch for a few weeks. This timeframe will increase the more complicated your watch is or if it needs to be sent back to its country of origin for service. As a rule of thumb, most services will take at least four weeks, while some can take up to 6 months.
Do Quartz and Digital Watches Need a Service?
Because they have far fewer moving parts than mechanical watches, Quartz watches do not need the same maintenance and service as mechanical watches do. That being said, it is worth cleaning your Quartz watch whenever you change the battery.
Digital watches have no moving parts, so they need no service at all.
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