FAQs – Watch Repair

FAQs - Watch Repairs

FAQs WATCH REPAIRS

We do repair vintage watches for our customers due to mostly emotional attachment to the watch. A vintage watch was a part of someone’s daily life for many years. They may like a particular feature of the watch which may not be available on an updated design. Many customers got the watch as a gift from friends or family.  They may have received it on a family occasion which is a happy memory for the giver.

Mechanical watches are driven by the main spring, while quartz watches are driven by the battery. More specifically, mechanical watches are powered by unwinding power of the main spring.  Quartz watches are powered by a step motor whose current is supplied by silver oxide batteries. Most mechanical winding watches are designed to run about 36 hours upon full winding while quartz watches last two to five years on a new battery.

Many Swiss luxury mechanical watches such as Patek Phillippe, Rolex, Cartier, Omega cost on average £250 or more to repair. The reasons are simple and two fold.  One reason is to do with the number of Swiss trained watchmakers in the UK which is exceedingly small.  The second reason is to do with the original parts needed to service the watches.  The availability is tightly controlled by the Swiss watch manufacturers as there is no market substitution. Therefore, they can command an exceptionally high price for their parts and labour.

While many quartz watches are serviceable by finding and replacing malfunctioning parts such as circuit board, coil or wheels, most watchmakers prefer to replace the whole movement due to wide availability of the quartz movements at reasonable price. The job is easier, better, and cheaper in terms of performance of the watch and watchmakers labour. Most of the inexpensive quartz movements come from Switzerland and Japan and most of them are sold for under £100.00.

If it is a quartz watch, it is worthwhile. Replacing the movement with a brand new one would be most probably less than £125.  It will be like a brand watch inside and it will double the life of the watch. If it is mechanical, it may not be worthwhile because of the complexity of repairing mechanical watches. Mechanical watch parts are hard to find.

In order to find the right battery replacement for your quartz watch, you need to use a watch battery size measure gauge chart (Renata) which is a watch repair tool. There were meagre efforts to standardize the watch battery spec and  voltage, which is 1.55V.  The government does not regulate the size or the shape of the watch batteries. This results in a vast number of different watch batteries and makes it confusing for consumer. What makes it worse is that each manufacturer has its own battery number system. It is hard to find whether Sony’s LR44 is compatible to the Energizer’s A76 without a watch battery size measurement gauge. It is better to let a competent local watchmaker to find the right battery for your beloved watch.

 

On average a new battery will last three years. The simple rule is the more functions your watch has the shorter the battery life. Simple hour and minute hand watches are common in small lady’s watch design have the longest battery life of more than five years. Chronograph with day/date, sweep second function lasts about two years with a new battery.

Usually automatic watches are designed to last 36 hours with full power and the full power is reached after you wear your watch for about eight hours in a normal day. But the normal daily work is open to different interpretation. A nursing home patient was complaining his watch is always slow. We did not find anything wrong in his watch. Our talk with him revealed he stay at his bed all the time. He did not have enough activity to power his automatic watch.

Currently we are ready to accept repair jobs from anywhere in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland). Watch repairs are time consuming and highly concentrated work and our watchmaker in our workshop can only do so much work in a day. We do not want to overextend ourselves and end up with decreased quality.

We do not repair fashion watches. There are more than 400 watch brands sold in the UK with annual piece count of more than 30 million watches. We repair high priced Swiss watches as we are fully trained watchmakers. The rest of the watch brands are mostly coming from China. Even though there are wide variety of designs and functions in fashion watches, there’s a surprisingly small number of movement manufacturers supplying all of the designers’ needs. If you own a high-priced Swiss watches send it to us. If you own any Japanese branded watch send it our repair centre and we will carry out for the watch repair.

There are no waterproof watches in the market. Therefore, watch industry does not use “waterproof” in a sense as waterproof basement or waterproof raincoat.  Rather, most of the watch has “water resistant” mark followed by depth rating either in feet or in meter.  “Water Resistance 100” usually means the watch can resist the water pressure of up to 100 feet, “Water Resistance 330” means water pressure of up to 330 feet and so on. If the watch dial contains “M” followed by the number means the depth rating is in meter. In some rare cases, water resistance is rated in “bar” on the back cover of the watch. One bar represents 10 meter or 33 feet of water pressure. Therefore 10 Bar means 100 meter or 330 feet of water resistance.

We should not wear any watch in Jacuzzi or hot tub or hot shower wherever there are significant temperature differences from normal environment unless the watch is specially designed for moon landing.  The reason is simple. No matter how much we pay for a watch, expansion rates of materials used for the watch case construction are all different. Heat from these sources distorts components at different rates resulting in leakage. Fog may disappear after a while for the well-constructed watches. If the fog is still there after a couple of hours of normal wear, then it is better to bring to watchmaker to open and dry-out.

 

With a bit of hand dexterity, yes, you can replace the band yourself. You need a small screwdriver and tweezer.  Your watch band is attached by the spring bar which is spring loaded inside the tube with strong coil. Using a small tool, press the shoulder of the pin to release the band from the watch case. Be careful not to lose the pin because the spring bar has the tendency to jump once it is released from the case shoulder hole. To install the new band simply reverse the process by inserting the spring bar into the shoulder hole. Test the band by holding tight and wiggle a little bit to make sure the end of the bar is comfortably in the hole.