Watches are a magnificent creation – these mechanical objects, are the result of great engineering, often created by hand. When investing in a top quality watch, whether it’s a quartz watch or an automatic watch, you need to commit to it. Like any other machinery, a car, for example, watches require maintenance to improve performance and to preserve their value.

What is a watch service and why is it important?

A watch service is very similar to that of car service. When you take your watch for a regular service, it generally includes giving your timepiece a polishing, oiling, and extensive cleaning. Additionally, a comprehensive assessment is also included to check for any damaged parts that need to be fixed or replaced.  

Majority of watch owners neglect routine servicing mostly because they do not know the importance of it. Your watch might be ticking and showing you the right time but that doesn’t mean everything is working perfectly. A good watch, because of its strong mainsprings, would keep on operating even without lubrication. However, this can affect the accuracy of your watch and cause damage to the parts. If left unchecked these tiny problems could collectively cause a major complication such as a broken mainspring or decreased water resistant of the watch.

How is a watch serviced?

To understand how a watch is serviced, you first need to know the two main kinds of watches: a quartz watch and an automatic watch. The difference between the two watches comes down to the movement. A quartz watch relies on battery-power to move its hands. An automatic watch, also known as a self-winding watch moves its dial with the help of a free-spinning rotor. The rotor spins itself in response to the wrists natural movement, thus moving the hands.

Unlike an automatic watch, quartz watches very rarely need service (if kept in good condition). Although sometimes quartz watches may need oiling for the gears that too after an approximate 10 years (this could differ from brand to brand). However, when you do get a battery change, make sure your service provider cleans out any trace of dirt or dust inside the watch.

An automatic watch needs a much more detailed service compared to a quartz watch. The service process of an automatic watch includes the proper and careful dismantling of each part of the watch. Cleaning all parts and replacing the damaged ones and then assembling the parts back together. An automatic watch should generally be serviced every three to four years (given that you wear the watch religiously).

When should you get your watch serviced?

The general rule is to visit your local repair shop every year or two – to check if there’s any need for replacing or cleaning parts. However, there are a few indicators that tell you it’s time to get your watch serviced. Some of these include:

  • Moisture – If you see any condensation on the dial or inside the crystal, you need to contact your watch manufacturer or service center. A watch has many small parts that work together, even the minimum amount of moisture could dry out the lubrication or corrode the parts. If you take your watch to be fixed immediately, chances are that the expert would be able to dry out the movement of the watch before any harm comes to the part. Worst case scenario would be that the parts start to rust and must be replaced with new parts.
  • The second hand skips seconds – this usually happens in a quartz watch movement. This indicates that your battery is nearing its end and needs to be replaced. There are many quartz watches that can detect this sudden jump of two to three seconds. You can still use the watch for a few months after this but it’s better to get the battery changed beforehand.
  • The hands or dials look loose – A watch can have over three hundred parts working in it. These parts are not only very small but also very delicate and sensitive. If you ever drop your watch or it falls for whatever reason, make sure to closely examine it. If something doesn’t seem right to you, go see your local watchmaker, it’s always better to be sure!
  • You’re planning on going on a vacation – If you’re traveling then your timepiece could be at risk from all sorts of hazards. From water to temperature change to security scanners at the airport. It is always better to get your watch checked before leaving for a vacation. Make sure to check water resistance, magnetization, the strap, and any screws that need to be replaced or tightened.

Pros and cons of servicing your watch

Damage to different parts of your watch can have different effects on the price if you’re looking to resale it. Some parts have minor effects on the resale value while others can have a more serious effect.

  1. The Watch Case – If the outer metal case of your watch has slight scratches, it will cause a very minor decrease in the resale value, of up to 5%. However, if you damage this part significantly, you may lose up to 50% of the resale value.
  2. The Bezel – Any damage to this part of your watch can cause up to a 60% loss in resale value
  3. The Crystal – This clear cover that protects the watch can chip or shatter, depending on the use. If you chip this part it only affects 10% of the resale value but if you shatter it completely it could cause you to lose 70%.
  4. The Bracelet – Damage to the bracelet could cause a loss of anywhere between 20%-30%, depending on the type of bracelet.
  5. The Crown – A damaged crown can cause a loss of up to 20% whereas a missing crown could result in a 30% loss in resale value.
  6. The Dial – A damaged or refinished dial could cause you to lose up to 50% of the resale value. This is because it takes away the authenticity of the watch.

Servicing your watch has pros and cons. For instance, in the case of vintage watches – polishing the hands or dials of the watch may cause a significant decrease in the value because of the lack of originality. However, if we put the aspect of reselling to the side servicing your watch has numerous benefits.  

One big benefit of regular servicing of you watch is the longevity and durability of the watch. Furthermore, if you’re looking to resell your watch, regular service may be in your favor. By keeping a check on your watch you make sure that there is no damage beyond repair to the parts. Replaced parts can decrease the resale value further compared to parts that have been repaired, tightened, or cleaned. Any watch should ideally be serviced every three to five years, failure to do so will cause an overall loss of 20%.