What does ‘servicing’ a watch mean? Well…

What does ‘Servicing’ a watch mean? Well…

By CS Watch Repairs

… it really depends on who you ask. And this isn’t a good thing.
I have worked on countless watches (you may refer to some examples which I have posted on my Instagram page) that people have bought online and were bought as ‘serviced’. Soon after receiving the watch, the watch begins to either stop, lose time, or otherwise play up.

Once the watch has been brought to me for servicing, I can tell as soon as I have opened the watch that it has not being serviced according to my standards. The gasket is marked, old, dry; there is debris everywhere in the watch just floating around; the balance wheel is barely moving; and the watch is generally in poor condition. In most cases, it hasn’t even been serviced to the lowest of standards. This bargain ‘serviced’ watch has just set someone back an extra service fee, but more over, a larger amount in parts cost due to wear and tear.

This isn’t just online. Unfortunately I have seen many examples from local watchmakers that have performed sub-par ‘serviced’ on watches that they have worked on. However if you ask them what they did to the watch they will straight away tell you it has been ‘serviced’, ‘overhauled’, ‘cleaned’, ‘lubricated’ and they will swear they’ve done a great job.

To their defence, they don’t know any better. In fact, here in Australia you do not need a license to be a watchmaker, nor do you need to be qualified in any way shape or form. This is worrying to not only people with precious time-pieces, but also to the handful of watchmakers that try so hard to uphold the meaning and value of their trade.

So to finally get to the point of my blog post. It’s not to name and shame or bring down anyone or any group. It is more to bring to your attention that there are many perspectives on servicing, and that I am here to provide you with the best and most updated perspective I can offer. In fact, I won’t offer you a simple service, overhaul, clean or lubrication; I will instead provide you with you with a ‘complete and thorough disassembly, inspection, and diagnosis of your timepiece with the intention to repair, restore and replenish the watches condition with its technical specifications and customers parameters in mind.’ Dam… what a mouthful!

Yes, I intend on providing you with a service that involves everything that you should expect from your watchmaker. I will work to your budget, specifications, and advise you what my limits are and more importantly, what the watches limits are. I will not promise you something I cannot provide nor will I attempt something I am not comfortable with that could be out of my training.

For those that want to refer to a quick list of what should be expected during a service, and what I do, here are some bullet point:

  • Address issues raised by the owner of the watch
  • Compare the watches current condition to manufacturer, technical or other specifications (may not be possible with vintage and restorations – more in other blog posts)
  • Dismantle the watch in its entirety inspecting, diagnosing and repairing along the way
  • Clean all components ridding them of previous lubricants, wearing (where possible) and other foreign matter
  • Replace components where necessary to meet manufacturer specifications (vintage will be addressed in another post)
  • Reassemble watch once it has been repaired and adjusted to full working condition
  • Put the watch through a cleaning process to rid all components of old lubricants, debris, foreign matter, and other impurities
  • Once the watch is clean, re-inspect all components
  • Re-assemble the watch and lubricate it appropriately along the way. This includes using correct greases and oils in locations required.
  • Test assembled movement before re-attaching dial and hands
  • Replace all gaskets and return the watch to its water resistance level specified by manufacture, where possible. In instances of pitted or damaged cases, this may not be possible.
  • Test the watch under working conditions (e.g. on a watch cyclomat/winder) including checking for timing, power reserve and automatic winding.

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