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Watches and timepieces can have tremendous sentimental value. And that makes it hard to put a price tag on their care and maintenance. It’s telling that watches are the object most handed down from one generation to the next. Because older watches especially tend to have such intricate workings, the more you pay attention to maintenance, the less likely you are to shell out for expensive repairs. Whether your timepiece is a newer quartz model or a vintage chronometer, make an effort to learn what is required to properly care for it. If you’re in the greater Denver, CO area, the watch repair specialists at Matheu’s Fine Watches can help.
New Watch Maintenance
Besides keeping it clean and dry, caring for a fine newer model watch should include regular servicing by a qualified watch repair technician.
They’ll suggest getting your watch serviced every two or three years for a mechanical watch, and three to four years for a quartz watch. This will include a thorough cleaning and inspection.
Adjustments for sizing, band replacement and other types of minor calibrations can also be performed during regular maintenance servicing. Bands should be regularly inspected for wear and degradation, and replaced as necessary.
New Watch Repair
Even a newer watch can stop working suddenly, be subject to trauma, or need minor adjustments to keep it ticking over.
A skilled repair technician can perform routine crystal, crown, gasket, hands, clasp, pin and spring adjustments or replacements. Movement issues may require some diagnostics, but technicians like those working at Matheu’s Fine Watches love a good challenge. And if you don’t know exactly what is wrong with your watch, they can provide a quote before starting any kind of repair. Watch repairs can be costly, but if your watch is valuable it makes sense to protect your investment.
Vintage Watch Maintenance
Older mechanical timepieces grow more precious as they age. If you value your timepiece and are in it for the long haul, arrange for servicing every 5 years or so.
During the regular servicing of an heirloom timepiece, technicians will perform the following tasks:
- disassemble and inspect exterior and interior moving parts
- thoroughly clean with specialized solutions
- polish the crystal and casing to remove scratches
- clean out and replace the lubricants that are essential for mitigating friction
- test and adjust the movements
- replace rusted or distorted parts
- set correct time and monitor
Vintage Watch Repair
Although they can function flawlessly for very long periods of time, fine timepieces do have several vulnerabilities – including water, shock and dust. All of these can result in the need for minor watch repairs or a full overhaul. You’ll want to choose your watch repair service carefully when it comes to a vintage or heirloom watch. The technology of timepieces has changed completely over the past century, with old school technicians who understand the workings of an older watch becoming more scarce. The best may be able to completely overhaul an antique watch. Be aware of the following enemies to fine watches of any age:
- Watches are susceptible to the shock that comes from a drop. It can nudge the movement out of alignment or cause damage to the exterior crystal and case or internal workings
- Exposure to magnets can damage some types of older watch, so be careful around TVs, computers and tablets
- Water damage is a result of submerging the watch and can impact even water-resistant watches
- Excess exposure to sun can degrade surfaces and
- Age and neglect can lead to dust and dirt collecting in the workings of any watch
Batteries and Winding
The most common source of timepiece problems, whether it’s with old or new models, is winding, re-setting, and battery replacement. Mechanical watches are like cars, they need to be used to stay in the best shape. So if your heirloom timepiece needs regular winding, try to schedule a time to keep it ticking over. Be careful not to over wind, another source of problems that require repair.
Automatic watches rewind themselves as long as they are in motion. Some watch collectors swear by winding devices to keep automatic watches going when they are not being worn. But, these can be expensive and of questionable efficacy. It may make more sense to take your automatic watch for regular servicing where lubricants can be cleaned out and reapplied.
Battery powered watches are a whole other story. While you could change some model batteries yourself, it can be a fiddly job. Again, it is best to have battery replacements done by a pro during regular maintenance servicing.
The Case Against DIY
It may be tempting to change to perform minor repairs or a battery change on your watch. But there are several solid reasons why you should resist this temptation. In addition to violating warranties, it can be extremely tricky to dismantle a watch, remove its cover or mess with its workings. You’re unlikely to have special tools that an authorized watch repair specialist has in his or her toolkit. And even touching certain watch parts can render them useless. Watchmakers generally do their work in a pristinely clean and well-lit environment. Much like a surgeon, they are prepared to take precise steps with extreme care to service or repair your watch. To avoid the disappointment of reducing your beloved timepiece to a handful of non-functioning cogs and wheels, take it to a pro. You won’t regret it.
If you’re in the Denver, CO area and have a timepiece that could benefit from the expert attention of a skilled watch repair technician, give Matheu’s Fine Watches a call. Whether your watch is new or old, no matter the type, whether it needs servicing or repair, their technicians will give it the love it deserves.