Servicing Automatic Watches: Your Go-To Guide
When looking for a cost-effective repair or service for your automatic watch, there are a few key elements to keep in mind. It is important to consider all aspects of servicing a watch. This includes the brand, any damaged parts and the labor involved in the repair or service. Furthermore, there are options when it comes to where you receive service. You can send the watch to the manufacture for service, which has its pros and cons. Alternatively, you can contact a local independent shop. As a general rule of thumb, it costs between $200 and $700 to service an automatic watch.
Similar to all other valuable items such as cars, handbags and jewelry, the brand of your automatic watch plays a large role in the overall cost and service experience. Each watch has different parts and materials, therefore the price can fluctuate between even two similar brands. Some of the most popular luxury watches include Patek Philippe, Rolex and Audemars Piguet.
Manufacture vs. Local Independent Shop
As mentioned previously, there are two main options when it comes to servicing your automatic watch. Sending your watch to the manufacture comes with its benefits. For example, you can be sure the manufacture will have the original parts, they are experienced and offer a manufacture warranty on the service. For these reasons, many customers choose to service with the original manufacture only.
However, local independent shops have their place as well. In the event you want a quicker, local repair, an independent watch shop can be a great option. They can offer lower prices due to fewer overhead costs. This enables the customer to receive the same high-quality service at a more affordable price. Your timepiece will not change hands more than once or twice with an independent shop. It is quite common for a watch to change hands many times at the manufacture. This can rack up costs significantly. An independent shop will service your watch by one or two specialists max.
The long wait time to service your watch at the manufacture is a major turn-off to customers who need their timepiece serviced quickly. The reason behind the long wait time has to do with the number of watches ahead of yours already scheduled for repair or service. Also, due to the fact the watch is serviced by many different employees, each step needs to be successfully completed before it can move on to the next employee. All of these factors contribute to the long wait times. On the other hand, an independent shop can have your watch ready within a much shorter time frame.
Another consideration when comparing manufacture repairs versus independent shops is your collection size. For example, if your collection consists of multiple brands such as Omega, Montblanc, Chopard, Rolex and Cartier, you’ll want to ensure that you choose the most convenient and cost-effective option. If more than one of your watches needs service, sending each to their original manufacture can be costly and inconvenient, especially for those with busy and hectic schedules. A more practical alternative would be to reach out to a highly rated independent shop for service on all of your luxury timepieces.
The Type of Service Needed
Now that you have a basic understanding of where to service your watch for the best result, you must also consider the type of service you need. For example, as watches age, the parts become worn and in need of an upgrade.
The goal is to keep your timepiece in the original condition it was in at the time of purchase. Just like cars and homes require maintenance, so does your watch. One of the most common requests is a “full service.”
During a full service appointment, important parts such as the movement will be completely dismantled, cleaned, re-assembled and re-lubricated. In this case, worn parts should be replaced as well. Additionally, crowns and pushers should be replaced in the event they are worn. Seals and gaskets should also be replaced to confirm the watch is water-resistant. Polishing should take care of any minor scratches on the case or bracelet. Lastly, each watch should come with an official service document.