DIY vs. taking it to an expert

Thread: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

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  1. #1
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    DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    I've been browsing this forum for quite some time, and I'm always impressed by the things people can do with their own watches. I used to be under the impression that any alteration or problem, like removing scratches on the crystal or resizing a stainless steel band, could only be fixed by taking the watch to an expert, but I found out through WUS that I was totally wrong.

    Just out of curiosity, what are some issues that you would not attempt to fix yourself and need to take it to a professional?

  2. #2
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchAdct View Post
    I've been browsing this forum for quite some time, and I'm always impressed by the things people can do with their own watches. I used to be under the impression that any alteration or problem, like removing scratches on the crystal or resizing a stainless steel band, could only be fixed by taking the watch to an expert, but I found out through WUS that I was totally wrong.

    Just out of curiosity, what are some issues that you would not attempt to fix yourself and need to take it to a professional?
    Like anything, whether it is a DYI project depends on knowledge, experience and equipment/tools. I personally handle all repairs around the house, including appliances. I have the knowledge, experience and tools to handle anything that comes up. With cars I'm less confident, some things I bring it to a shop.
    With watches I'm almost a complete neophyte. I bought a caseback opener and some bracelet tools, but repairing or servicing movements is beyond my current capabilities. That would require more stuff, an investment in books and practice watches and I think a dedicated work space. Oh, and time I don't have right now.


    So batteries and bands/bracelets are where it's at for now.
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  3. #3
    Moderator Public Forum John MS's Avatar
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchAdct View Post
    I've been browsing this forum for quite some time, and I'm always impressed by the things people can do with their own watches. I used to be under the impression that any alteration or problem, like removing scratches on the crystal or resizing a stainless steel band, could only be fixed by taking the watch to an expert, but I found out through WUS that I was totally wrong.

    Just out of curiosity, what are some issues that you would not attempt to fix yourself and need to take it to a professional?
    I would fix problems that I have the tools, training and time to undertake. Issues are usually too political in nature for my skills.

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  5. #4
    Member lysanderxiii's Avatar
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    Here's a good rule of thumb for any do-it-yourself project:

    "Only attempt to fix what you can afford to break..."
    familiaritas parit contemptum; raritate admiratione wins.- Lucius Apuleius
    est necessry, accurate ad secundo? - Lysander magna
    iustum est horologium - Obscurus Genius

  6. #5
    Member clouser's Avatar
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    After looking through a ton of WUS threads last year, I decided to try and restore a Seiko 6309-7040. I bought all the needed tools and got to work. I quickly discovered that there's no way in hell I can:

    1. Service or repair automatic movements.
    2. Relume dial or hands.
    3. Press new hands.

    I finally gave up on these 3 things and sent the watch in to Bob Thayer Jr.
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  7. #6
    Member TNT13's Avatar
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    Quote Originally Posted by WatchAdct View Post
    I've been browsing this forum for quite some time, and I'm always impressed by the things people can do with their own watches. I used to be under the impression that any alteration or problem, like removing scratches on the crystal or resizing a stainless steel band, could only be fixed by taking the watch to an expert, but I found out through WUS that I was totally wrong.

    Just out of curiosity, what are some issues that you would not attempt to fix yourself and need to take it to a professional?
    A professional is only someone who charges money. There are good professionals and bad professionals. I only work with affordables so I pretty much try to do everything I can. I've broken things on occasion, but I learned in the process. It really depends on each individual. But IMHO, I think if you are a member of this forum, you should at least know how to change straps and batteries.
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  8. #7
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    My 5 step method to restoring/repairing/servicing vintage watches:

    1) buy watch
    2) inspect watch
    3) drop watch off at watchmaker's shop
    4) retrieve watch when finished and pay
    5) wear and enjoy watch

    Foolproof!

  9. #8
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    I've tackled a few vintage watches with varying success. What I've found;
    1 - I can regulate a watch that is in otherwise good shape. But it will take a few attempts.
    2 - I managed an old Tissot and an old Omega movement partial assembly/reassembly(just to clean crap out) and they worked! The bad news is I had to give up on 4 or 5 others that were actually broken. I think a bit of education would have helped here.
    3 - Krylon is NOT a good paint for a redial (it was on an old Bulova that I'd given up on the movement)
    4 - Not that complicated really. I think the size puts most people off.
    5 - I'm presently trying to repair a badly worn "gold filled" case, soldering gold into the worn areas. This is certainly labor intensive and cost prohibitive so I wouldn't recommend it.

    Point is, I believe it is possible. And, I think you really need some training to do it right. Basic tools can be had cheap (but NEVER buy cheap tools, of course) although like anything , some tools will become pricey. Junk watches are all over ebay so you have an unlimited supply of victims. Obtaining parts, other than Ofrei, I'munsure of as I haven'T done so.


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  10. #9
    Member DM71's Avatar
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    I started collecting watches about 4 years ago, so no need to say I'm still new to this but with that said, when I first started looking at watch forums, I was like you, very impress by what people could do by themselves, like: opening a watch case and doing little regulation on the auto movt. swapping MOVTS from one watch to the other, removing bezel and /or replacing insert, swapping hands... If we just take replacing a bezel insert, it seemed impossible to do for me, because I had no idea how that stuff worked, how that bezel hold on this case??? 4 years later, after I read a lot and read again, I now can do all of this little stuff by myself and I'm happy I can. I understand it's not for everybody, but I use to be a mechanic and I was so fascinated by those micro-machines that I had to know HOW IT WORKED, and how to fix simple things. If you wish to attempt a few repairs by yourself, I would say that you could probably find many tutorials on HOW TO DO IT YOURSEL, on this forum then buy the proper tools, vice-grip, regular hammers and big flat screw divers or nails are not part of that kit! With the right tools, the work is easier to perform and chances of damage greatly decreased. It might sound stupid, but I always feel great when I do a repair without braking anything. On that, IMHO, the best recommendation comes from lysanderxiii "Only attempt to fix what you can afford to break..." Yep, ..... happens, I have a chrono waiting for it's hands to go back after I changed the dial (for an after market one), I just can't do it, so I will bring it to a watch maker someday, before I brake it. I did a lot of learning with a cheap Chinese MVT from a Parnis watch. I completely disassembled the MOVT, like a pro, so now I have parts to sell if you need, because there is no way I will find how to reassemble it It was a lot of fun though, and I felt like a real watchmaker for a few minutes!
    ~ Daniel ~

  11. #10
    Member Geof3's Avatar
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    Re: DIY vs. taking it to an expert

    Basic watch movements like the 6497 etc are fairly easy to work on if you have tools, patience, and a steady hand. I've built a couple of watches from the ground up (purchased complete mvmnt's) and it's a fairly easy process given the above. As mentioned the size is daunting but doable. I have not tried to tackle a complete restore or full service, but have disassembled and reassembled a 6497 with success. I just wanted to see if I could do it and it was a cheap Chinese copy so I wasn't too worried about it. Still have the mvment, works great.
    Too many flipped...

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