Don’t Buy that Mechanical Watch Until You’ve Read This


A watch movement outside of its case (Zenith).

A watch movement outside of its case (Zenith).

If you haven’t yet purchased your first good luxury mechanical wristwatch, it is time to do so. There is so much to be said for the craftsmanship and fine-tuned technological workmanship that goes into a mechanical wristwatch. Typically, these timepieces have hundreds of tiny components all inside the case that work harmoniously to track time to the second. However, one must be aware that, unlike a quartz watch that generally just needs a new battery every few years, a mechanical watch will require maintenance.

Just like a fine  automobile, whose fluids and oils need to be regularly checked, and whose maintenance should be kept upAssemblage-schiller-myimage-24155_PR(CMYK) in order to achieve optimal performance, a mechanical wristwatch  needs servicing.  What’s more, that service is an involved process.

Here are 5 things you need to know in order to maintain that wonderful mechanical watch.

1)      Every mechanical watch needs servicing at least every three to five years or so to stay in shape (although at the very high end, where silicium parts are used in a very few brands’ timepieces, that service timeframe can be drastically reduced).

O2)      That servicing is not as simple as taking a caseback off and re-lubricating parts. In fact, typically the crown and winding stem are removed and then the movement is dissembled and inspected, then repaired if necessary, cleaned,  freshly re-oiled, new gaskets applied (to ensure water resistancy, etc. ) and put back together.

3)      Get an estimate from the watchmaker. This is usually given after the watch has been opened, so they have a clear idea of what they are dealing with inside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA4)      Plan on at least six weeks without your timepiece, as most service takes at least this long- sometimes longer due to the complex nature of the work.  Also, watches are submitted to a thorough testing period before being returned to the owner. (Sometimes watches still under guarantee or warranty can take a shorter amount of time, as they are often pushed through the process.)

5)      Go to a reputable jeweler with a watchmaker on site, or go directly back to the brand for servicing.  Plan on the cost being anywhere from $300 on up Oto the $1,000 mark depending on the watch brand, its age, its required repair and other factors.

To find out more about servicing your watch, visit the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute or, for educational information, visit the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors.

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