Fine luxury watches are the result of years of research and development. They represent a long history of expertise and craftsmanship meant to produce timepieces that last a lifetime. As well-made as they are, watches still require regular maintenance. Although there are no set rules in how often you should get your watch serviced, many experts suggest getting it serviced anywhere between 3-5 years. Of course, service intervals can vary by brand, model, materials, and movement. It also matters how often you wear a watch, whether you wear one during any physical activities or have dropped it recently. While it’s the case, there are some obvious signs that your watch has to be checked as soon as possible. Here are three signs your watch needs servicing.
1. Water Damage
Even luxury watches like Rolex can get water damage. Moisture is the primary cause of watch damage. It can corrode the metals inside the watch, compromising its movement. If you see droplets of water or dew inside the watch’s face, then it may have lost its water-resistance. In this case, you’ll have to send it for servicing sooner or later.
Standards for Swiss luxury watches allow for a margin of error of +6/-4 seconds. Some luxury brands even have a stricter margin of error—Rolex, for instance, currently maintains a +2/-2 standard. If your watch runs any slower or faster than this, it’s better to have it checked by a professional. There are many possible reasons for this problem. It is either that the movement is magnetized, your watch’s lubrication is drying up, or some parts have been damaged by impact, resulting in inaccuracies.
3. Loose or Tight Parts
An average automatic watch has at least over 100 different parts that can loosen up as you wear it. If something seems to be loose or you hear something that’s rattling inside the watch, there may be some screw or spring that’s not in place. Consider having it checked to be sure. The same applies when the crown becomes stiff that it’s hard to set the time and date. The oils may have dried up, causing friction in the metal parts. Immediate service is necessary at this point.
Maintenance and servicing are all the more necessary if you own a luxury watch. It will help keep it in good condition, making sure it keeps its value if you’re selling it in the future. It’s also a good idea to keep receipts to document any professional servicing done.
How to Prevent an Untimely Watch Service
While regular servicing is necessary, untimely repairs caused by negligence are not. There are a few practices you can follow to avoid these and keep your watch in tip-top shape.
- Clean it regularly.
An effective way to clean a watch is with soapy water. Fill a small bowl with warm water and add some mild detergent/dish soap. Using a microfiber cloth, wipe it clean, including the back where dust, dirt, and grime usually build up. You can also use a soft-bristled toothbrush to get around the hard-to-reach areas of the watch. However, keep in mind that this method may damage a leather watch—so, always be mindful.
- Wear it regularly
Automatic watches stop running when you don’t wear them. So, regularly wearing them can help maintain them by ensuring that their internal parts and gears are well-lubricated. Consider switching watches now and then—at least wear a timepiece for a day or two, every month to give it a good shake.
- Consider a watch winder
If wearing a particular watch at least once a month is a tall order, you can consider using a watch winder to keep the watch in motion and make sure that the gears and parts inside are well-lubricated. However, avoid buying cheap watch winders as they are at risk of overwinding your watch and damage it instead.
A full watch service usually involves stripping a watch down to its smallest parts and cleaning them with specialized tools—both manual and mechanical. By request, it can also be polished for a brand new appearance. Although, some watch collectors do not prefer polishing because it can reduce the resale value of a watch.
During the service, your watch will also be diagnosed for any issues or broken parts and repair if necessary. The watchmaker will then reassemble the watch, add fresh lubricants, and probably replace the rubber gaskets with a new one for water-resistance. The watch will also be regulated as necessary to make it as accurate as possible. This process will take at least a few hours and is all done by hand. This explains why a watch service isn’t cheap.
These preventive measures will make sure that your watch is protected against any damage and will keep its value by the time you’re ready to sell it. How often do you think you should get your watch serviced? Let us know by leaving a comment below.