Quite like a high-performing sports car, your automatic watch also needs servicing once in a while. In timepiece jargon, such services are referred to as complete overhaul and even though it’s mostly correct, there’s a chance of you being misled by it. In essence, it means fine-tuning your watch.
When To Overhaul Your Watch?
Most German and Swiss watchmakers recommend that you should service your watch once in three to five years. And there is a major discrepancy surrounding it. You may see that some watch manufacturers suggest as low as four years while for other watches, it may be ten years.
Actually, there are several factors at play along with how often you use your automatic watch and how well you take care of it. Contrary to what you may think, the more you wear your timepiece, the better it is. So, according to the general rule of thumb, you should overhaul your watch once in five years. When you take proper care and store it in a dry place, you can also wait longer.
What Are The Things You Need To Know About Better Watch Care?
Owing an automatic watch comes with a host of responsibilities and the only thing you can do to keep it in the proper shape, is to take very good care of it.
Wear your watch:
The first and perhaps the most crucial step of protecting your watch is to wear it always and even at night if possible. Even though you may not believe it, but it takes energy from the movement of the person wearing it. Your moving arms and hands can help in activating the rotor within the mechanism and it tightens the spring and aids the watch to wind on its own.
Most of the high-tech watches come with a power reserve of around 40 hours. When this power reserve is completely used up, the watch will stop functioning and needs to be manually wound. It’s worth mentioning that when your watch is hand-wound, the crown mechanism will wear down faster compared to when it’s worn regularly.
Set the watch:
When you are manually winding your watch, it’s important that you don’t have it on your wrist. In case you wish to set it up while wearing it, you must apply pressure to the crown and turn it. This often leads to faster wearing off of the watch crown and misalign from the mechanisms and even bed. This will cost you even more repairs than you may expect. Thus, to rule out chances of damage, you must always take it off and set it securely while holding it with the other hand.
Also, keep in mind that you should never set your watch between 9 PM and 3 AM, especially if you have a day/date function in your watch. Your automatic watch is having its gears working for making the necessary changes for switching the date. Thus, if you set up the watch during this time, it may lead to unwanted issues with the precision in the long run.
Clean and service:
You should not only service automatic watch but clean it routinely. Since you will be wearing it often, dirt and grease are likely to build up in no time. You should wipe it down with a soft cotton cloth. But if your watch is water-resistant, you can rub it with a soft cotton cloth dipped in soap water for complete removal of grime and dust. Make sure you practice caution while cleaning the push-pieces and crown. This takes us to the most significant part of watch care and that’s how often should you be servicing it.
When To Take Your Automatic Watch For Servicing?
You are already aware of the three to five years service interval. But there are certain guidelines that may allow you to tweak the servicing time to some extent.
Checking with the manufacturer’s guidelines:
Some manufacturers claim that their watches can go unserviced for ten years down the line. Now, this is definitely an added advantage since the service charges of costly watches will also cost you a hefty amount. So, you should check with the manufacturer’s manual to know about the precise device interval for your particular watch. One of the major reasons why servicing your watch is always recommended is that it lets your timepiece run in prime condition. Moreover, the last thing you will ever want is to have your watch broken down all of a sudden.
So what goes in watch servicing? While servicing, a professional will open your watch and check the movement. He may also take it out and clean the parts. Reoiling is also done to ensure that the parts are well lubricated to help you glide seamlessly. Sometimes it also includes demagnetizing the watch since a number of electronic items are also involved within. The mechanical may also adjust the movement to enhance its accuracy level.
Frequency of usage:
As it is recommended that you should wear your automatic watch always to keep it in good condition, you must also note here that by the end of the third year of continuous usage, there will be much wear and tear on the movement. At this particular juncture, the recommendation of servicing your watch after three years becomes valid.
On the flip side, if you have a lavish collection of watches and wear one of them in significantly lesser time than the previous scenario. This means that there is no need to follow the three-year service time here and you can push it by another year or two.
You must also consider how heavy you use your tell automatic watch. For instance, if you use it for all kinds of outdoor activities like swimming, gym, or sports, then it’s better that you be conservative in this area and go with the recommended service interval. Needless to say that such activities place a lot of stress on the inner parts of the watch and it’s highly likely that some of them have been damaged.
Further, you should also get the gaskets and O-ring changed every three to four years since these rubber components get easily deteriorated. Also, they are responsible for keeping up the water resistance rating of the timepiece. So, getting new ones will keep your watch fresh and great for use around water.
Signs of physical damage:
In this case, you should run to a professional watchmaker without further delay. Moisture may have seeped inside the dial or the movement and by the time it comes to your notice, the damage may wreak havoc and bring about rust on the steel components.
The watchmaker will open it and clean it thoroughly. He will also install new gaskets while closing the watch for keeping any moisture seepage from making its, way into the watch. You should also be watchful of the power reserve. If you see that it had come down compared to how it used to be when you first got your watch, then it’s a matter of concern.
If you are someone who keeps the watches intact in dedicated watch boxes, then you may save them from getting scratched. But this is not the case with most people. If you look closely, you will surely find tiny scratches on the casing, bracelet, or dial unless your watch is made of sapphire crystal which is resistant to scratches.
You can bring your watch to the makers to have it polished once again to restore the original looks. Though there is no hard and fast rule that you will have to get it done, but it definitely keeps up the aesthetic value of your automatic watch.
What Are The Signs That Your Automatic Watch Requires Servicing?
Automatic watches are a product of exceptional engineering and they call for sizeable investment. This is because they manifest an arduous history of handcrafted innovation and expertise. And some of these are meant to last a lifetime. For your watch to work trouble-free for years, you need to service an automatic watch. Fortunately, there are some reliable signs that show your watch needs to be checked by an expert, and here goes a few of them.
1. Moisture accumulation in the watch case
Moisture is one of the major destroying elements for any watch as it can cause corrosion within the movement. If you see that there is condensation under the glass, it’s time for your watch to be professionally checked and serviced.
With moisture within the watch, it’s indicative of the gaskets being worn out or that the seal is not properly done. If you are not able to send it for immediate servicing, you should wear it at all times. This is because your body temperature can ward off moisture from the moving parts of the watch.
2. Inadequate accuracy
As per the standards set by COSC, the acceptable margin of error for watches is up to 4 seconds lagging or 6 seconds faster. Some high-end watches may come with a strict margin of error like +2/-2. And if you notice your watch is lagging or going way too fast, then you should get it checked by a professional.
There can be various reasons why this can happen. May be the movement within your automatic watch has magnetized. It means that the lubrication within the watch has dried up and requires oiling again. It may so happen that some parts of the watch have worn down or been affected by use. Whatever be the issue, it needs to be reviewed by an expert.
3. Damage of parts
An automatic watch comes with around a hundred parts on average which may knock against one another as you wear it. In case you hear a rattling noise within the timepiece or if the hands are appearing to be very loose, a screw or spring may have come out of its place.
With the passage of time, you may also notice that the crown has become loose or excessively stiff and you can see that it may be difficult to set up a time and date. This may be indicative of the stem within the watch movement to be stuck or snapped. This needs professional servicing and repair if required.
It’s also a great idea to have your automatic watch checked if you are exposing it to elements. No matter whether your watch is showing signs of damage, you should check the water-resistance and magnetization. These preventive steps will ensure that your priceless timepiece is shielded against common hazards so that it keeps going fine.
Can You Service Automatic Watch By Yourself?
It’s true that servicing your automatic watch is going to be a hefty affair and you may be tempted to do it by yourself. But before you start off with your watchmaker and fine tools, you should consider the watch type, the price you paid for it, and whether you can digest any damage caused to it.
Thus, it is in your best interest to get it serviced by a professional for their robust service and experience in handling different kinds of watches every day. Moreover, you can get a faster facility without any added stress. When having your timepiece professionally serviced, you can rest assured that they will check it according to the list of items mentioned with their protocol. This could be a contributing factor affecting the amount you have to pay but the peace of mind it gives mane oh a highly popular option.
As it goes with all watch lovers around the globe, all of us want our costly investment to work fine for years. But it is also important that we take ample care of our timepieces and get it serviced when it’s due. Also, when you are not wearing your watch frequently, you should wind and keep it running for at least once a month so that it stays lubricated. To conclude, you should choose the duration elapsed in between servicing very thoughtfully so that your invaluable belonging keeps running forever.