Why do watch manufacturers advise people to have
their mechanical watches serviced regularly even
if they're working fine?
A mechanical watch needs to be lubricated regularly
to keep it running smoothly. Over time, the oil
will deteriorate and friction between the movement's
part will increase, causing abrasion and making
the watch less accurate. In addition, the friction
can create a very fine dust that will itself act
as an abrasive on the watch movement parts.
2. How often does a mechanical watch need
to be serviced?
Manufacturer's recommendations vary, but most
range from every three to five years.
3. What happens to it when it goes in to
watch is taken apart and the bracelet and case
are cleaned ultrasonically and polished. The pieces
of the movement are cleaned chemically and examined.
Worn parts are replaced. The movement is then
reassembled, lubricated and regulated. Then, if
the watch is water resistant, its water resistance
4. Where should you take your watch to have
If the watch is under warranty, the warranty may
be invalid unless you take it to a service center
authorized by the manufacturer. You can get a
list of authorized repair centers from the manufacturer.
If the warranty has expired, you can take it either
to an authorized center or to a reputable repair
How much does a service cost?
It varies a great deal, but consumers can generally
expect to pay upwards of $100 - sometimes a great
deal upwards for an overhaul of an uncomplicated
automatic watch. As a rule, the more expensive
the brand, the more expensive the service.
6. How long does the watch have to remain
in the shop?
This, too, varies by repair shop, but turnaround
times for service are generally measured in weeks,
two or three in many instances.
Do quartz watches need to be serviced like mechanical
Quartz watch movements do not need nearly as much
maintenance as mechanical ones do. That's because
they have fewer moving parts, just the gears that
move the hands. (A digital watch has no moving
parts at all). All that most quartz watches require
is that when the case is opened for a battery
change, it be cleaned of accumulated dirt. However,
some expensive quartz analog watch movements should
have their gear train lubricated ever eight to
10 years. For inexpensive quartz watches, this
isn't worth doing.
How often does a watch's water resistance need
to be checked?
All water resistant watches need to have their
water resistance checked ever time the battery
is changed or the case is opened for any other
reason. That's because when the case is opened,
the gaskets that keep the water out of the case
are dislodged. (These gaskets, or O rings, are
located inside the case at the joints where the
case meets the case back, crown and crystal).
For this reason it's important that when the battery
in a water-resistant watch needs to be changed,
the watch should be taken to a repair center that
has water-resistance testing equipment. In some
instances, water-resistance should be checked
between battery changes. If the watch is worn
in the water, frequently or exposed to a lot of
sweat, it should be checked at least ever two
years and, if exposure to water is very frequent,
9. Do you need to wind a mechanical watch
The watch will run better if you do. You always
get better performance from a watch when it's
fully wound than when it's wound down. It's best
to wind it even if you don't intend to wear it.
That will prevent the movement's lubricants from
congealing. This doesn't, of course, apply to
an automatic, or self-winding watch. This type
of watch should be wound initially to get it started.
If the wearer is reasonably active and wears the
watch for 12 to 15 hours a day, it will remain
Does it matter which direction you turn the crown
to set a watch?
most mechanical watches it doesn't. On some, particularly
those equipped with calendars, you should only
move the hands clockwise. The manufacturer's instructions
will include directions for setting. On quartz
watches, it's OK to move the hands in either direction
to set them. Manufacturers point out, though,
that you can eliminate the free play in the minutes
hand by setting it in the following way (a quartz
watch, unlike a mechanical one, tends to have
play in its minutes hands due to the lack of tension
in the gear train): Move the minutes hand clockwise
until it is a few minutes past where it is supposed
to be, then move it counterclockwise back to the
11. Will heat and cold affect a watch's
and cold will affect the time-keeping ability
of a quartz watch. Quartz crystals, whose extremely
steady vibrations are responsible for the unrivaled
accuracy of quartz watches, are cut so they perform
optimally at room temperature. A temperature of
100 degrees Fahrenheit will throw the timing off
by about 1 second a day, as will one of 32 degrees
Fahrenheit. Extreme temperature will also affect
the accuracy of a mechanical watch, but not as
much as other factors (see below). One reason
is that hot and cold cause the metal parts of
a watch movement to expand and contract, though
advances in metallurgy have made this less of
a problem than in the past. Another reason is
that heat and cold affect the viscosity of the
oil that lubricates the movement, and thereby
affect the movement's accuracy.
What other factors affect the accuracy of a watch?
In a mechanical watch, wearing habits such as
when the watch is wound, how long it's worn each
day and what position it lies in when it is not
being worn all play a critical role in determining
how consistently a watch runs. Although a typical
mechanical watch might gain or lose about 5 minutes
a month, it's possible, by adjusting the watch
to fit a wearer's regular habits, to achieve much
higher accuracy than that. The more consistent
your wearing habits, the more consistent the time-telling
will be. None of these factors make any difference
with a quartz watch. With quartz, temperature
is the only variable that affects the accuracy
of the movement.
Can a mechanical watch be worn playing sports?
general yes. All or nearly all mechanical watches
manufactured today are equipped with anti-shock
devices that protect the watch's balance-staff
pivots the part of the watch movement most vulnerable
to damage from impact. These devices are usually
effective enough to protect the watch from the
shock it encounters when you hit a tennis or golf
ball, for instance. Nonetheless, there is a small
change that an especially hard knock could damage
not only the balance but the rotor axle, which
in some automatic movements serves to secure the
rotor to the watch movement. So deciding whether
to wear your mechanical watch or not while playing
sports is a matter of risk assessment. The odds,
however, are on your side.
Is the same true of a quartz watch?
is very little chance of damaging the movement
of a quartz watch while playing sports -a quartz
watch does not contain the delicate balance-staff
pivots that make anti-shock devices necessary
in mechanical watches. You can, of course, damage
other parts of the watch such as the crystal,
whether the watch is quartz or mechanical.
Will anything damage a scratch-resistant sapphire
be misled by the term "scratch resistant". It
doesn't mean "scratch proof". The most scratch-resistant
crystals are made of synthetic sapphire, an extremely
hard mineral that measures 9 on the Mohs hardness
scale (diamond, the hardest natural substance
known to man, measures 10). Despite its high rating,
sapphire can be eroded by some materials. Brushing
against a synthetic stone surface, like those
found on some furniture or walls, for example,
could cause a scratch. Also keep in mind that
the more scratch-resistant a material, the more
brittle it is, so scratch-resistant crystals are
more likely to chip or shatter than non-scratch-resistant
Will wearing a watch on the inside of the wrist
affect its accuracy?
it's a quartz watch, no. The position of a quartz
watch has no bearing on its time-keeping ability.
A mechanical watch is a different story. Mechanical
watches are regulated at the factory to run optimally
on a right-handed person who will wear the watch
on the outside of his or her wrist -i.e. crown
down, dial up. The watch will not run as accurately
in any other position, unless it is adjusted to
do so. If you want to wear the watch on the inside
of your wrist and have it run as well as if it
were on the outside, you'll have to have it re-regulated.
How long will a quartz-watch battery last?
silver oxide battery will last two to three years.
Lithium batteries will last 10 years or more.
They aren't interchangeable. Watches are designed
to use either silver oxide or lithium batteries.
18. Can you hurt a watch by pulling the
crown out too hard when setting it or, in the
case of a mechanical watch, winding it too much?
It's unlikely you would hurt a watch doing either
of these things. You would have to pull extremely
hard on the stem to damage it while setting the
watch. In theory, it is possible to over wind
a mainspring so that it breaks, but watch technicians
say this rarely happens.
19. It is true you can preserve a quartz
watch's battery power by pulling out the stem
if you won't be wearing the watch for a few days?
Pulling out the stem saves 75% to 80% of the watch's
energy because the gears and hands aren't turning.
However, the savings is marginal when you consider
that a silver oxide battery will lose 5% to 8%
of its power a year just sitting unused. Another
argument against trying to save battery power
this way is that if the gears in the gear train
sit stationary for a long time, the lubricants
Is the new method of "Ionic Plating"
on watch cases and bracelets better than gold
Plating entails the combining and electrolysis
of certain materials to look like gold plating,
but contain no gold material. This new technology
is more durable than gold plating and less expensive
because the gold material is not used.