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When To Service Your Automatic or Mechanical Watch

November 9, 2018

Most well-made mechanical watches will ensure its owners years of trouble-free ownership. However, with just about anything mechanical, things will eventually breakdown and would need repair which is the same scenario for mechanical watches.


What are the clear and present signs that your mechanical automatic watch needs servicing?

See below a compiled list that can help you troubleshoot if you would need to visit your local watch service tech soon.

Antique Pocket Watch

A Seiko SKX007 with water moisture buildup inside the watch face. Source: Here

Sign 1: Aesthetically, something is not right

You see and use your watch every day. You know what is normal. If you see the following issues aesthetically, have someone check it:

  • Watch face issues like hour/minute/indices are dangling or misaligned

  • External watch face issues (bezel, glass, crown) have deep damage or is loose

  • Problems with the bracelet like broken/dislodged spring bars, links, or buckle

  • Unwanted exposure to contaminants like water moisture or dirt inside the watch face

Depending on your watch service technician's assessment, your watch may need to replace some of its parts especially if they are damaged beyond repair or polishing.


I would be more concerned on damaged parts that would prevent you from using the watch (reading the time) like dislodged watch hands, thick water moisture, and broken or deeply scratched glass/crystal.

Seiko Movement.JPG

Seiko movements are tough but they have issues once in a while. Source: Here

Sign 2: Automatic Movement Issues

Internal movement and mechanism issues are the top cause on why someone would have their watch serviced. Here are some common issues that would warrant a visit to your watch service technician:

  • You watch is running fast

  • Your watch is running slow

  • Your watch stops even at full charge

  • You watch doesn’t keep charge or lacking its expected power reserve

Your watch service tech will most likely ask you what is wrong with the watch. They would need to know if your watch is running slow, fast, or just stops altogether. 

He would most likely get the health of your watch movement using a Timegrapher (timing machine) so we leave all the guesswork behind.


Source: Here

After getting the overall health of your watch movement, your watch service technician would probably recommend some steps in order to get your watch back in acceptable state.

He/She might offer to do basic movement calibration if the watch is repairable. Some watches do run fast because it was magnetized or exposed to strong magnetic fields. Your watch technician would need to run it through a demagnetizer in order to remove the unusual magnetic field and bring back its normal operational state.  

Best to discuss with your watch service technician on his/her recommended course of action and hopefully the cost to service will be affordable at the same time quick. 

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