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Vintage Watch Mantainence: Why you should have your vintage watch serviced?

Watch servicing is one of the most important aspects to consider when you start your vintage watch collection journey. You might get a watch and not have it serviced. It is always a good idea to research the service history of the watch before you buy it.


Well, those who are new might ask that what is watch servicing? The definition of servicing changes from watch-maker to watch-maker. However, the 2 major categories of servicing are General Servicing & Overhaul.

General servicing is something that is done to maintain the watch but not fully cleans it. General servicing is to be done once a watch has been overhauled {this is in context with vintage watches}

An overhaul is what type of servicing is recommended once you have bought a vintage watch that is new (to you, otherwise it has been in use for decades)

Overhaul generally includes proper cleaning of each and every part of the watch. All the parts are oiled, and the whole watch is disassembled. Parts like yoke-spring (A spring that prevents the crown from opening on its own and keeps it pulled up tight and shut), mainspring (the power source of a mechanical watch/ a small metal coil inside a watch which tightens when you wind it and slowly releases power to the watch), et cetera are replaced because wear and tear are rarely preventable on these. Several parts are replaced even if it is not necessary.

(caliber corner)

*This is just the general overview, and the components of servicing may depend on your watchmaker

Now, coming to the main point, why should you have your watch serviced?

I will explain this through a little portion of the vast history of watchmaking. Jewels in watches were invented in 1702 but were not commercially used until the 1800s. However, this is a topic for another story; how does this relate to servicing? Well, despite one being a part of the watch movement and the other being a procedure, both are used to prolong the life of the watch! Jewels were introduced to prevent the gears from grinding on the metal plates holding the gears in place. This increased the longevity of watches because, without jewels, the gears made a hole into the plate after being used for 20-30 years. The servicing further ensures that the watch does not stop. How? Any moving mechanism needs oil and needs to be serviced to remove all the dust and grime for the movement.

The dust inside the watch slowly mixes with the oil, which slowly starts grinding along with the movement. This slowly causes the watch to halt. The watch may continue for several years without servicing, but regular service ensures the watch keeps working, whereas if you wait for the watch to stop and then service it, too much damage would have already be done.

The servicing also ensures the accuracy of a watch and also makes the watch more reliable. The oils ensure proper and comfortable operation.


Now that I have answered your question about why you should have your watch serviced, I will tell you now that When should you have your watch serviced?

I myself generally follow two parameters to assess if my watch needs to be serviced. Modern watches can last longer between services, but vintage watches are different. I generally have my vintage watch serviced when the timing starts to vary drastically (unless magnetized, in that case, I demagnetize or regulate it) or when 8-10 years after the last service has been completed.

So that is it for this article! Subscribe to my blog and like the article if you like it!

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