How frequently should I get an overhaul?
The frequency at which a watch should be overhauled depends on several factors, including the age of the watch, how often it is worn, the conditions it is worn, and manufacturer recommendations. Generally, a mechanical (including automatic) watch should be overhauled every 5 to 7 years, while a quartz watch may need to be serviced every 3 to 5 years.
Here are some signs that a watch may need to be overhauled:
- Loss of accuracy: If a watch begins to lose timing accuracy, running either too fast or too slow, it may be time for an overhaul.
- Visible wear and tear: If a watch shows visible signs of wear and tear, such as scratches, dents, or damage to the dial, bracelet or crystal, an overhaul may be necessary.
- Stopped working: If a watch stops running or cannot be wound, it may need an overhaul to fix any broken or worn-out parts.
- Water damage: If a watch has been exposed to water or moisture, an overhaul may be necessary to prevent further damage. If you notice water inside the case, have it looked at by a professional as soon as possible.
During an overhaul, a watch is completely disassembled, cleaned, and any worn or damaged parts are replaced. The movement is then reassembled, lubricated, and tested for accuracy. An overhaul is a complex and time-consuming process that should only be performed by a qualified watchmaker or service center.
In general, it is a good idea to have a watch checked regularly by a professional watchmaker, who can advise on whether an overhaul is necessary and provide recommendations for ongoing maintenance.
What causes a watch to lose accuracy?
There are several factors that can cause a watch to lose accuracy over time. Here are a few common causes:
- Wear and tear: As a watch ages, its mechanical components and gears can wear down or become damaged. This can cause the watch to lose accuracy and require repairs.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to extreme temperatures, magnetic fields, or shock can affect the accuracy of a watch. For example, exposure to strong magnetic fields can magnetize the watch’s movement, causing it to run too fast or too slow.
- Improper handling: Rough handling or dropping a watch can also cause it to lose accuracy, as the components can become misaligned or damaged.
- Lubrication issues: A watch’s movement relies on tiny gears and components that need to move smoothly and precisely. Similar to an oil change on a car, if the movement is not properly lubricated, or if the lubrication breaks down over time, the watch may lose accuracy.
- Power reserve issues: Mechanical watches rely on a mainspring to power their movement. If the mainspring is not properly wound, or if it has lost some of its tension, the watch may lose accuracy.
During a watch service, the watch is cleaned, inspected, and any worn or damaged parts are replaced. The watchmaker will also lubricate the movement properly and adjust the timing as needed, ensuring that the watch runs as accurately as possible.
How is the timing adjusted on a watch?
Timing adjustments on a mechanical and automatic (Self-Winding) watch are made by regulating the rate at which the balance wheel oscillates. The balance wheel is a small wheel that oscillates back and forth, acting like a pendulum and regulating the speed at which the watch runs. Here’s a breakdown of how timing adjustments are made:
- Timing machine: To adjust the timing of a watch, a watchmaker will use a timing machine. A timing machine is a specialized tool that measures the rate at which the balance wheel oscillates and provides a readout of the watch’s accuracy.
- Adjusting the hairspring: The hairspring is a tiny, delicate spring that surrounds the balance wheel and helps to regulate its movement. To adjust the timing, the watchmaker will adjust the position of the hairspring, either by bending it or shifting its position. This will change the rate at which the balance wheel oscillates, and therefore the speed at which the watch runs.
- Regulating screws: Some watches also have small screws that can be adjusted to regulate the rate of the balance wheel. By turning these screws slightly, the watchmaker can fine-tune the timing and make very small adjustments to the watch’s accuracy.
- Testing and adjusting: Once the timing adjustments have been made, the watchmaker will test the watch on the timing machine to ensure that it is running accurately. If necessary, they will make further adjustments until the watch is running within acceptable accuracy limits.
Timing adjustments are a delicate and precise process that require specialized tools and expertise. It is important to have your watch serviced by a watchmaker who has the necessary knowledge and tools to make timing adjustments.
Why would a watch stop working?
There are several reasons why a watch might stop working. Here are some of the most common causes:
- Dead battery: With quartz watches, a dead battery is the most common cause of the watch stopping. If the battery has run out of power, the watch will stop ticking. Simply change the battery and start enjoying your watch again.
- Damage to the movement: Mechanical watches, quartz watches and automatic watches all have intricate movements with many tiny components that can be easily damaged. If any of these components become damaged or broken, the watch may stop working.
- Water damage: Exposure to water or moisture can cause damage to a watch’s movement, leading to it stopping or running erratically. We have found that steam can often cause moisture damage when exposed for long durations.
- Dirt and debris: If dirt or debris gets inside the watch, it can interfere with the movement and cause the watch to stop.
- Magnetized: If too close to a strong magnetic field, your watch could get magnetized making it hard for the timepiece to keep accurate time and may need to be demagnetized before it will work properly. A quartz watch is a little more resistant to magnetization as they are made with more plastic gears and should resume working properly when removed from the magnetic field.
- Worn-out parts: Over time, the components of a watch’s movement can wear out or become damaged. This can cause the watch to stop working or run erratically.
If your watch has stopped working, it is important to have it inspected and repaired by a qualified watchmaker. They can diagnose the problem and provide recommendations for repairs or replacements as needed.
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