Why you need a Master Watchmaker for your vintage watch repair – words Al Woods

Any watch collector will know how important it is to keep vintage watches as close to their original condition as possible in order for them to hold their value.

Vintage watches do need regular servicing, but botched repairs are sadly the cause of the devaluation of many vintage timepieces. A bad repair job not only affects the value of the watch, but can also affect precision timekeeping and aesthetic appearance.

If your vintage watch is in need of repair or restoration work, it is always advisable to seek advice from a reputable professional.

 

Why use a Master Watchmaker?

Vintage watch repair, and indeed any watch repair, should always be referred to someone with the appropriate skills and experience required to keep the integrity of your watch in tact. With the Internet awash with conflicting advice on watch repair, it is definitely not recommended that you attempt to repair your vintage watch at home by yourself. It takes years to train as a Master Watchmaker. It’s hardly surprising, since the mechanisms of watches are complex, delicate and some contain up to around 500 intricate parts.

Master Watchmakers are much more than a local watch tinkerer; they have many years experience and a deep understanding of the workings of a wide range of antique, vintage and modern watch mechanisms. They are experts in their field and can repair and restore most timepieces. They are adept at succeeding in complex repairs where other less qualified repair services have failed.

A Master Watchmaker will always try to source original parts for watch repairs, but where that is not possible they have the skills and expertise to make the part required with the utmost precision.

Master Watchmakers have many state-of-the-art tools at their disposal to safely investigate what is preventing your watch from working at its best, and remedy the problem.

What qualifications does a Master Watchmaker have?

There are a number of routes a Master Watchmaker may have taken in his or her training. Importantly, a Master Watchmaker will have trained with a reputable school and completed many years of bench work. They have taken many courses to expand their skills. More recently it is possible to gain a degree in Horology, and many watchmakers may have completed a series of additional training courses at the British Horological Institute, or the more recently formed British School of Watchmaking.

How do I choose a watch repairer?

Seek out a Master Watchmaker for any vintage watch repairs. A Master Watchmaker will have the experience and expertise to repair and restore your watch in an appropriate environment with the appropriate tools and properly sourced parts. More importantly, they will have the expertise to dismantle and repair your timepiece without causing any damage.

Always check out independent reviews of a watch repair service. There’s no greater accolade than previous customer satisfaction. Also, be sure to choose a watch repair service that will give you an estimate of the costs involved before they start the work. Repair of antique luxury watches can be expensive.

It’s worth noting that many watch brands offer their own comprehensive repairs and servicing. However, don’t rule out using a third party Master Watchmaker. Brand repair services often take longer and many will automatically replace parts that don’t necessarily need replacing, which can make the cost of repair more expensive than it needs to be.

Choose a watch repair service offering a Master Watchmaker, good reviews and a guarantee. You may also want to check if they offer a fully insured free postal service. 

What can go wrong with vintage watch repairs?

A lot. In the wrong hands, small parts can be lost as the intricate mechanism is taken apart for repair. Badly made replacement parts can also cause damage to the mechanism. And repairs carried out in inappropriate environments can introduce dust to the mechanism causing further problems down the line.

Always seek expert advice from a Master Watchmaker as some less experienced watch repair services may cause more harm than good.

Simple tips to care for your vintage watch

To keep your vintage watch in best condition, here are some simple rules to follow:

  • Always remove your watch when you sleep
  • Never get your watch wet – remember, even waterproof watches don’t remain waterproof forever!
  • Wipe down your watch with a soft cloth every week
  • Don’t wear your watch when playing sport or performing any activities where it may take a knock
  • Keep your watch away from televisions, speakers and iPads (and anything else with magnets in)
  • Don’t apply lotion to the skin when wearing your watch
  • Don’t use perfume or cologne on the wrist you wear your watch on
  • Use a reputable Master Watchmaker for any repairs, servicing or restoration work
  • Get your vintage watch serviced regularly – mechanical parts need regular cleaning and oiling
  • Don’t be deceived by dials that read waterproof, shockproof or unbreakable mainspring – many were marketing gimmicks that are no longer covered by more recent consumer laws

Any act to limit your watch’s exposure to moisture, extreme temperature variations, dust and physical jarring will result in extended years of accurate wear.

Why you need a Master Watchmaker for your vintage watch repair – words Al Woods

 

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