Photo By hueberto at istock
Watches first began to be seen in the early 16th century, when they were derived from a portable spring driven clock. From then until the 20th century, they were a mechanical run by winding a main spring. This turned the gears and moved the hands. A departure from the norm happened in the 1960s with a new development. Quartz watches were invented and ran on electricity and kept time with a vibrating quartz crystal. Quartz watches now outsell the mechanical ones, but high-end watch companies still sell the mechanical kind. Smart watches allow you to answer your cell phone on your wrist and tell you how many steps you’ve taken that day, along with your heart rate, but they can’t beat out mechanical watches for their beauty and craftmanship. With routine maintenance and repairs, these watches can last a lifetime.
These early watches were pendants for both men and women, but eventually became pocket watches for men. Women’s watches remained as pendants until the 20th century. Old vintage watches, especially pocket watches, are making a comeback. Pocket watches are a snapshot in time as some of the cases have been engraved with meaningful names, quotes, and dates. They present a picture to the past that is no longer. These pocket watches and many of the other mechanical ones are seen at thrift stores and yard sales and appear to be worthless junk. It has been predicted that watches will go out of style, but the sales trends don’t necessarily show that. A classic mechanical watch is a piece of artwork and can become a cherished memento to hand down through the ages. Watches have been given as gifts for special occasions, such as graduations, anniversaries, and engagements, for centuries. They have been crafted the same way for centuries.
Vintage watches in good repair are selling for more and more every day. What appears to be junk in a thrift store could actually be a gold mine awaiting if they found someone to do watch repair for them. A family heirloom watch that has been well-maintained or repaired is more likely to be worn and admired than one that is broken and in disrepair. They are art pieces waiting to be admired if only repairs were completed on them. These vintage watches remind us why it’s important to do routine maintenance on our new watches.
One way to ensure a watch lasts a lifetime is to do annual cleanings of the bracelet and watch case. Premature wear and breakage are caused by body oils, dust, and dirt. These cleanings can save money and keep down costly watch repair bills.
Resealing is another maintenance step that can stop damages from happening, so repairs don’t have to be made. Watch manufacturers recommend doing this to all waterproof watches when the batteries are replaced. It includes replacing all of the gaskets and pressure and vacuum testing. Watch batteries should be replaced every 12-18 months. springs, and Matheu’s Fine Watches and Jewelry of Breckenridge, CO offers both of these services to its customers.
Since many vintage watches are in some state of disrepair, it is important to seek out a good watch repair company if you are going to start collecting these items. Small tools are used to remove the watch from the case so an examination can be done in order to determine what kind of repairs are needed. Some repairers will use a loop, a special magnifying glass, to find the issues. Broken parts are then replaced or repaired. Sometimes it’s as simple as needing a new band, but others may involve a whole mechanical movement overthrow or crystal replacement.
These are often delicate jobs and takes years of training to learn to do watch repair. Most who learn to do repairs are also watchmakers themselves. It takes two to four years to learn the trade with another five to 10 years of on the job training to become an expert. Even then, the learning is not done, as makers continue to learn to ways to do watch repairs and maintenance. This is why repairers are highly sought after.
Not only does Matheu’s Fine Watches and Jewelry of Breckenridge, CO offer maintenance services to its customers, it also does watch repair. Staff isn’t able to give estimates over the telephone or by email. They need to have the watch in hand to give an accurate estimate, but there is never a charge for those estimates. Time frame for the estimate is usually about a week, and this estimate will let you know how long your watch repair will take.
Even if you don’t live in the Breckenridge, CO area, you can still send your watch to the store for repairs. They are factory authorized for most brands. It is important to insure the watch when you mail it and include a note about why you are sending it to them. Ninety percent of the work is done on the premises with 10 percent being factory repairs required by warranty or the manufacturer. Matheu’s Fine Watches and Jewelry not only does watch repair, they are also able to fix other pieces as well.
If you have an old pocket-watch of your grandfather’s or pendant watch of your grandmother’s, consider having repairs done. If you’ve been admiring that antique watch at the thrift store but thought it just junk, think again. Repaired, they may last a lifetime and might be cherished by all those who own them.