I plan to service my watches only when I see a decrease in performance. My reasons are these:
1) I have bought vintage pieces, serviced them, and have seen them perform well for well beyond 5 years.
2) I do believe that the short 'suggested' service interval is a form of revenue generation.
3) Most importantly - I have sent expensive (to me - up to ~5k) watches in to OEM service centers only to have them come back with caseback scratches, mis-aligned hands, dust under the crystal, etc. I feel that sending in a watch for repair is a crap shoot - you never know what you'll get back. Of course, reputable makers will most often attempt to make it right, but this usually causes me extra work, wait, and frustration. In some cases I'll never get the watch back in better shape (at least cosmetically) than when I sent it in. Do some searching here and on other forums, and you'll find instances of this, even from high-end brands.
I've yet to find a local repair person to service my watches with a high level of professionalism, but when I do I'll feel like I've found the goose that lays golden eggs.
The guy who "over-hauls" my watches charges 60-70 dollars per watch. I hear this is dirt cheap. I wonder if he just likes me, or if he just likes how constantly I go to him?
Also, I know someone will call B.S. on this, but whatever. My father has a Elgin pocket watch that he has had since... Mid 60's I believe. He has never had it serviced. He will not allow me to have it serviced for him. It still holds correct time. Who knows? (he says he doesn't trust anyone to touch it)
Last edited by Shepperdw; January 4th, 2012 at 03:29.
From Nye oils website:
This is where I get my suggestion that the service interval can be not less that 10 year, and I think (my opinion based on knowledge of other oils) no more than 15 years.Synthetic oils are inherently stable materials. Generally, they are not expected to oxidize, polymerize or volatilize at room temperature for 10 years or more. For example, we have regularly conducted ASTM tests to check the quality of certain very delicate synthetic hydrocarbon precision bearing oils five years after manufacture and have detected no degradation. Ester oils, where the ester linkage may be subject to a minute degree of hydrolysis in the presence of moisture, could become more acidic if moisture is present. Fluorinated oils and silicones are not likely to be affected by simple aging.
EDIT: Here they are. The horror, the horror....
Servicing a Watch
Last edited by lysanderxiii; January 4th, 2012 at 03:40.
Parit enim conversatio contemptum; raritas conciliat admirationem.- Lucius Apuleius
est necessry, accurate ad secundo? - Lysander magna
iustum est horologium - Obscurus Genius
Thanks for the link to those pics. Very informative.
I have heard this as recently as within the past two years in a conversation with a master watch technician who is on retainer by the Smithsonian for watch and clock consulting and servicing.
JLC Extreme Diver Chrono in 18K, Panerai 165, Breitling steel and rose Evolution, Roger Dubuis Easy Diver, DeWitt Academia Chronographe Sequential, Alain Silberstein Krono Bauhaus II, UN Maxi Marine Chronograph, Ball Ceramaic XV, Blancpain Fifty Fathoms chronograph, BRM MT-51/49, Breguet Marine II Chrono 18k yellow, Breguet Classique w/ power reserve, Franck Muller Conquistador chrono, IWC Aquatimer, B&M Capeland 1000m yellow diver, Angular Momentum diver, Glashutte Original Panodate Diver
Back in the days of whale oil, the oil would break down and lose its ability to lubricate after a few years(see my comments above about crystallized oil in watches).
Now, the biggest enemies to degradation in performance, at least to my understanding, are oil migration and dust contamination. Dust contamination is less of an issue with tightly sealed cases, but migration is still an issue.
Member National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors, member NAWCC Ch. 149 Early American Watch Club
Serious collector of American pocket watches-Waltham(and the predecessor companies) is my specialty.
My collection these days is fairly varied in both age and countries of origin. I consider myself very fortunate to know 2 very knowledgeable watchmakers, but both are either on the verge of retirement or already retired. My biggest worry for the future of this hobby is the inevitable lack of expertise and parts to maintain/repair my vintage pieces (American pocket watches and Chinese handwinds). I hate to say it but decades down the road, I think anyone with the intent of getting into this hobby (w/o money to burn) will need at least some watchmaking training.
Last edited by RuffRydas; January 4th, 2012 at 06:26.
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