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Everything you always wanted to know about watch repairs

Here at CJEX we often have clients who want regular maintenance or need repairs for their good quality watch.

Brands like Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Tag Heuer etc. shouldn’t just be taken anywhere. They were an investment to purchase, and like a fine luxury automobile they will require proper care to keep their value.

So we asked our incredibly talented watchmaker to answer some questions for us about watches, and how best to care for them.

How many years have you been a watchmaker & where did you receive your training?

It’s been 27 years. I took my training at Manufacture Glashuette in Germany.

How long can a good quality watch last if it is maintained properly?

If you maintain the watch on a regular basis, at least once every 5 years, a higher end Swiss or German watch will run for 20, 30 years or more.  I frequently work on watches here that are 50 years and older.

What is included in proper maintenance?

There are four basic steps, each with multiple components:

1 – dismantling of the movement, piece by piece & doing any necessary repairs at the same time

2 – cleaning all the components in an ultrasonic watch cleaning machine

3 – assembling the movement, lubricating and adjusting it

4 – testing the complete watch for several days

What are some of the problems that arise when maintenance is not done at all or is not done right?

The lubrication inside of the movement will eventually dry up and parts begin to wear. Also crowns, crystals and gaskets start to deteriorate over time.

Why does proper servicing seem so expensive?

It is very time consuming, requires a lot of special training and often requires expensive replacement parts.

Automatic watches have hundreds of moving parts, depending on the functions of the watch.

For a high end watch (Rolex) it takes about 1 1/2 days to do the job including the case & bracelet restoration. For some vintage models it can be 2 – 3 days.

What are some things that can compromise the water resistance rating of my watch?

Worn crystals, crowns and gaskets will all have a negative effect. Also improper handling by untrained repair shops can end up being costly.

It’s also best to rinse off your watch really well after you’ve been in seawater, because if the salt water is left on it can corrode the watch.

What is your favorite watch to work on & why?

I don’t really have a favorite watch to work on. I prefer the higher end Swiss and German brands, since these movements are very nicely designed for  servicing. 

Thanks for answering our questions!

The other bonus about proper maintenance is that it will keep your watch looking fantastic. We’ve seen estate watches before and after they’ve been properly restored. The difference is night and day. So in addition to maintaining your investment, you’ll also look pretty good too. And who would say no to that?

– Heidi

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Canadian Jewelry Exchange

590 KLO Rd #101 Kelowna
British Columbia, Canada, V1Y 7S2

Telephone: 877-763-2099
Tuesday – Friday: 10-5pm
Saturday: 12-5pm