Wait a minute!! What I’ve been losing time. If your watch or timepiece seems to be losing time even if it's just a little a day it is time to service that piece. Time is important especially yours. Everything runs on the clock from morning alarms, bus stops, and not to mention that boss that wants you to be on time for work and deadlines.
We don’t often think about how much work that little piece of machinery does everyday. It’s purpose is to run 24/7 all while being bumped and knocked by the wearer. Then add to it being exposed to different environments, such as temperature changes, dry to wet, elevations which leads to external pressures. Your watch is really a pretty impressive work of engineering. Don’t forget to show it a little love every-so-often. It works hard for you.
Automatic and mechanical timepieces, such as Rolex and pocket watches, really need to be serviced because the components they run on are more intricate. Mechanical timepieces have oils and lubricants in them that dry out over time and need to be replaced, much like changing the oil in your car. Each timepiece is different when it comes time for service but typically three to five years seems to be the recommended timeline. You do not want to wait too long because without lubricants the metals in the timepiece will wear each other down and more problems might arise.
In order to service one of these timepieces, a watchmaker (or technical name horologist. Horology is the field of study of the art and/or science of measuring time.) will need to examine the time piece. The process will require him/her to partially disassemble the watch to investigate the full condition of the timepiece. When he proceeds with the service, he will fully disassemble the watch to clean the internal parts to remove grime and old oils. Once the parts are clean and completely dry, it is reassembled and oiled. The process is much more complicated but that is a subject for a whole other time.
A quartz, or battery powered watch, may just need a new battery. The battery life on a quartz watch is different for every watch. Some watches, such as Seiko, has an indicator built in so show when the battery is getting low. It is often the displayed by the second hand jumping 2 to 3 seconds at a time. When the time comes and the battery is drained, don’t let it sit.
A common misconception is that pulling the stem (little knob on the side you set the watch) out will save the battery. This isn’t true. The seals are only good for so long. Dead watch batteries are notorious for “smoking” or leaking acid once the battery’s seal has broke down. This is a wonderful way to destroy a good watch. So unless you are just looking for a way to justify buying that watch you have had your eye one, come in quick.
There is a “new” kid on the block now, Solar. Solar watches, such as Seiko Solar and Citizen Eco Drive, gain their power from a solar cell or capacitor. This cell acts like a power well for the energy it gains from the light it absorbs. Most brands advertise that their cells will hold a charge for months, even years. Yet without being exposed to light for extended periods of time, those cells do lose their lose their “juice”. We have found that somewhere between 5 to 10 years the solar cell needs to be replaced. But before you go through the trouble of finding boxes and bubble wrap, try these tips first.
Theses watches are wonderful for everyday wear. They are often built to handle the stresses of daily use. Where we tend to see an issue is when they have been shut away in a jewelry box or drawer, unable to gain their much needed light.
The first tip to get them up and running again, is to place them in a window seal or windshield of your car (and I don’t recommend you leave it in your car windshield if you are not in the car.) A location where they can get good sunlight for 24 hours. We believe that it is the best power source. If that isn’t something you feel comfortable doing you can place it under a lamp for 48 hours. If this doesn’t get it back on track, it needs to be sent back to the manufacturer. This is a service we can provide for you for Citizen, Seiko, and Pulsar.
Another good yearly maintenance upkeep is to have your watch’s case and band cleaned. Not only does it make the timepiece look better and sterilizes from germs, it also helps the watch band from wearing out. The dirt works like sandpaper anywhere the metal rubs. The pins that hold the links together are thin metal pieces inside a hole. Once the hole is enlarged the pin will not fit snug and start to slip out. This can lead to loss, the watch falling off your wrist breaking the crystal (glass cover), or damaging other internal parts.
Bring your watch or timepiece by the shop and let us look at it. We can service it, check the battery, or just clean it up for you. Don’t let time slow down, you have too much to do!
Let me know what you think about this post. Share your comments below. Thank you for reading.- Lance
Our staff of GIA trained and accredited professionals with over 50 years of experience.