How often to service mechanical watch
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  1. #1
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    How often to service mechanical watch

    Hi all. I asked this earlier today in the Watchmakers' forum, only got one response so far. Since there is much more activity in this forum, I will ask here: How often do you service an old mechanical watch, and what role is played by the conditions of use/abuse?

    I have searched the 'net and found the 3-7 year recommendation, but those mostly come from watch repairers. I'm wondering if it is really needed that often. And yes, I don't know much about old mechanical watches.

  2. #2
    Member jakisbck's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    it all depends on the watch and the owners some dont ever get them service until something happens i.e. loose time drastically or something breaks inside but 3-7 is a good number.

  3. #3
    Member aladin_sane's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    I have a number of vintage seikos from the 70's. Some I have had to have serviced, while others are still running strong with no service needed. If the watch you have a question about is expensive, I may consider having a preventive maintenance service done. If it is affordable, I would wait until there is a problem, and then weigh the cost of a service against the cost of replacing the watch.

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  5. #4
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    For my 1930's manual wristwatches, I took advice from professional watch repairers - a service every 3 to 5 years.

    The watch-repairers gave me some sage advice: to treat my watches as I would my car; services done regularly, for less money - don't wait until a breakdown happens, because a repair can cost much more money!

  6. #5
    Member GMT-II's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    Maybe modern movement need less servicing? Those 70's seiko watch I heard has been running for 30years with still good time keeping.

    I basically find modern watch quality from 1970's to 2000's far more superior interms of movt and casing than those before.

  7. #6
    Moderator sixtysix's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    Here is the deal...if your watch starts to act like it needs servicing, then it does. (Runs slow/fast irratically). If you watch is 30 years old and you don't know if it's been serviced, then it needs it. I always figure a $100 service into any vintage watch I buy.
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    Later, Gary




    We are the caretakers of mechanical art.
    Member NAWCC, National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors

  8. #7
    Member Dr. Robert's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    Service your watch(es) when they aren't working right.............if it ain't broke don't fix it.
    MarkND and Rista like this.

  9. #8
    Member NickDolin's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    Quote Originally Posted by dr. Robert View Post
    service your watch(es) when they aren't working right.............if it ain't broke don't fix it.
    +1

  10. #9
    Member ISAIL's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    I've asked a couple of watchmakers personally, and a few over email/forums.

    The two watchmakers I trust the most say:

    One:
    "The oils we use break down after three years, period. Lock it in safe, put it on a winder, wear it every day; doesn't matter. After three years you are slowly killing your watch." He doesn't work on much of anything cheaper than a Rolex, and won't crack a case for less than $450 US. So you know where he coming from.

    The other:
    "If it still works, and parts are available then wear it until it breaks and I'll fix it for a heck of a lot less than service every three years. Heck, it may run fine for 20 years." He will service anything for $85. Parts and repairs add to that, but most still come in under $120. He used to be Rolex certified, but doesn't need the marketing anymore, and is embarrassed to charge Rolex prices.

    So here's where I ended up:
    ETA powered watches (or others) with common movements that will have parts available for my lifetime get serviced when they act up. If they start running funny or winding different or give any signs of difficulty, off they go (not to the guy who charges $450. He only works on my girlfriends JLC).

    If they are obsolete, or uncommon (like my Seiko 6309's, my old Waltham 100 Jewel, etc), then they go every three years, or when I remember, whichever comes last.

    Oddly, the result of this has been that my most expensive watches are the cheapest to keep, because I'm wearing them until they break. My old cheap watches are the expensive ones!
    Todd H
    "Ticking away, the moments that make up a dull day..." - Pink Floyd
    Disclaimer: The contents of this post are solely the well-meant ramblings of its author, and any resemblance to fact, intelligent thought, or even educated opinion is purely coincidental.

    Keepers: Omega Seamster Pro, Fortis B-42, Eterna Super Kontiki, Ball DM1012B, DJR Chronoscope, Ocean7 LM-1LE, Seiko 6105, Seiko SKZ214

  11. #10
    Member KenC's Avatar
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    Re: How often to service mechanical watch

    Quote Originally Posted by ISAIL View Post
    I've asked a couple of watchmakers personally, and a few over email/forums.

    The two watchmakers I trust the most say:

    One:
    "The oils we use break down after three years, period. Lock it in safe, put it on a winder, wear it every day; doesn't matter. After three years you are slowly killing your watch." He doesn't work on much of anything cheaper than a Rolex, and won't crack a case for less than $450 US. So you know where he coming from.

    The other:
    "If it still works, and parts are available then wear it until it breaks and I'll fix it for a heck of a lot less than service every three years. Heck, it may run fine for 20 years." He will service anything for $85. Parts and repairs add to that, but most still come in under $120. He used to be Rolex certified, but doesn't need the marketing anymore, and is embarrassed to charge Rolex prices.

    So here's where I ended up:
    ETA powered watches (or others) with common movements that will have parts available for my lifetime get serviced when they act up. If they start running funny or winding different or give any signs of difficulty, off they go (not to the guy who charges $450. He only works on my girlfriends JLC).

    If they are obsolete, or uncommon (like my Seiko 6309's, my old Waltham 100 Jewel, etc), then they go every three years, or when I remember, whichever comes last.

    Oddly, the result of this has been that my most expensive watches are the cheapest to keep, because I'm wearing them until they break. My old cheap watches are the expensive ones!
    I absolutely agree with "other". My Glycine Airman is going on 44 years of service, including 8 very hard years and it has never been serviced.
    "Find the little bastards......and then pile on!" Maj Gen George S Patton IV



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