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Thread: What does 'servicing a watch' mean?

  1. #1
    Master
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    What does 'servicing a watch' mean?

    What does 'servicing a watch' mean? Cleaning? Yes. Lubricating? Yes. Regulating?
    Last edited by Tinker; 25th November 2021 at 11:36.

  2. #2
    Master
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    All of the above in my experience, with replacement parts where necessary.

    Polishing case as required.


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  3. #3
    Craftsman Redwolf's Avatar
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    I think any watchmaker worth their salt would regulate as part of a service. What is it you’re being told?


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  4. #4
    Master
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    I’d be a bit miffed if I paid for a service and it came back not regulated. Also, I would assume cleaning entailed some degree of disassembly, therefore reassembly must presumably entail some degree of regulation?

  5. #5
    Grand Master
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    A Pressure test too presumably if it's a watch with meaningful WR.

  6. #6
    Grand Master
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    Loaded question......what does the OP really want to know and why?

    Servicing a watch involves stripping the movement down to component parts, cleaning using special cleaning/ rinsing solvents to remove all old dirt and dried up oil residue. Nothing mystical about this process, the aim is to get all surfaces clean, ultrasonic cleaning is very efficient. Parts are inspected for wear, the hairspring is trued up if required, the end-shake of the train wheels is checked and adjusted if required. The movement is re-assembled and oiled as required using specified lubricants or modern equivalents. In the absence of data an experienced repairer can judge which lubricants to use, it isn`t rocket science. Epilame treatment should be applied to the escape wheel teeth, pallet stones and the balance end-jewels to prevent lubricant migrating away.

    The case should be cleaned up as a minimum prior to refitting the movement. The watch should then be allowed to run for a few days and regulated accordingly to get optimum performance considering the age and type of watch. During this period the self-winding should be checked (if the watch is automatic) but there are other ways to do this at the assembly stage.

    If a watch is designed to be water-resistant the case and seals should be checked. If there's any doubt about condition of seals they should be replaced.

    The principle of 'pass the parcel' applies with watch repairs, whoever touches it last ends up taking responsibility for any faults and that's why manufacturers insist on a full service to correct virtually any faults. I take a more pragmatic view but if I'm in any doubt the watch gets fully stripped down. Requests to 'just do the minimum' are usually declined, I`ve fallen into that trap before, the watch subsequently gets put up for sale with claims that I`ve 'fully serviced' it.......to quote a famous band I won't get fooled again.

    Hopefully that answers the OP's query, what I do is what should happen!

  7. #7
    Journeyman Ascalon's Avatar
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    VVV - What he (@walkerwek1958) said! VVV

  8. #8
    Master
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    This is a great answer, bravo!

    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Loaded question......what does the OP really want to know and why?

    Servicing a watch involves stripping the movement down to component parts, cleaning using special cleaning/ rinsing solvents to remove all old dirt and dried up oil residue. Nothing mystical about this process, the aim is to get all surfaces clean, ultrasonic cleaning is very efficient. Parts are inspected for wear, the hairspring is trued up if required, the end-shake of the train wheels is checked and adjusted if required. The movement is re-assembled and oiled as required using specified lubricants or modern equivalents. In the absence of data an experienced repairer can judge which lubricants to use, it isn`t rocket science. Epilame treatment should be applied to the escape wheel teeth, pallet stones and the balance end-jewels to prevent lubricant migrating away.

    The case should be cleaned up as a minimum prior to refitting the movement. The watch should then be allowed to run for a few days and regulated accordingly to get optimum performance considering the age and type of watch. During this period the self-winding should be checked (if the watch is automatic) but there are other ways to do this at the assembly stage.

    If a watch is designed to be water-resistant the case and seals should be checked. If there's any doubt about condition of seals they should be replaced.

    The principle of 'pass the parcel' applies with watch repairs, whoever touches it last ends up taking responsibility for any faults and that's why manufacturers insist on a full service to correct virtually any faults. I take a more pragmatic view but if I'm in any doubt the watch gets fully stripped down. Requests to 'just do the minimum' are usually declined, I`ve fallen into that trap before, the watch subsequently gets put up for sale with claims that I`ve 'fully serviced' it.......to quote a famous band I won't get fooled again.

    Hopefully that answers the OP's query, what I do is what should happen!

  9. #9
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomers View Post

    Polishing case as required.


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    Refinishing work is laborious and time-consuming, it's unrealistic to expect it to be included unless it's being paid for and agreed. Some manufacturers service centres do it as a matter of course, but you're paying for it one way or another! No-one works for free.

    On the topic of regulating, that in itself is time-consuming (depending on the watch) and it's difficult to simulate the exact performance the owner will see during his normal wear-pattern.

    Why is it difficult? Here's why:

    Take a 60s Omega 565 with swan-neck micro-adjuster, set it up to run +6 dial-up as a starting point, then run it on a cyclotester for 6 hrs and calculate the rate. Leave it dial up overnight and check the rate. Hopefully both will be close, supported by good positional agreement on the timegrapher. I work on a formula of 16hrs wear and 8hrs dial-up overnight to calculate an overall rate that the wearer is likely to see. Ideally this should be around +2 sec to +3 secs. If this Omega is giving +6 I can easily make a small adjustment to make it run slightly slower, the swan-neck adjuster makes this easy to do and I don`t lose the original setting. Once the ratio of cyclotester (or 'on the wrist' rate) : dial up is known any further adjustment can be monitored in the dial-up position which makes life easier.

    Now consider a bloody Seiko or Miyota, with no fine adjustment. It's nigh-on impossible to move the regulator in small enough increments to change the rate by 2-3 secs/day, you end up with it changing by around 15 secs because it sticks. If the watch is set to run around +6 dial-up then it turns out to be running fast (say +10 overall) it's not possible to make a small change with any confidence, you end up losing the original setting and starting again. This can involve 15-20 attempts to set it right, going back and forth around the value you're aiming for. The watch then has to be run to confirm it's doing what you want, these watches are quite sensitive to the state of wind too so that introduces another variable. Anyone who attempts this without a timegrapher is unlikely to succeed, trust me. I`ve spent 40 minutes adjusting 2 this morning.....hence my reference to bloody Seikos!

  10. #10
    Master blackal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post

    The principle of 'pass the parcel' applies with watch repairs, whoever touches it last ends up taking responsibility for any faults and that's why manufacturers insist on a full service to correct virtually any faults. I take a more pragmatic view but if I'm in any doubt the watch gets fully stripped down. Requests to 'just do the minimum' are usually declined, I`ve fallen into that trap before, the watch subsequently gets put up for sale with claims that I`ve 'fully serviced' it.......to quote a famous band I won't get fooled again.
    My BIL is the same with building surveys - avoids any clients who stipulate "Just do xxxx, xxxx, and xxxxxx" (because sure as shxt- when something outside the remit is found at a later date - they claim on the basis of "He should have spotted that!".

    Similarly if the first question on the phone is: "Do you have professional liability insurance?".............

  11. #11
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    Refinishing work is laborious and time-consuming, it's unrealistic to expect it to be included unless it's being paid for and agreed. Some manufacturers service centres do it as a matter of course, but you're paying for it one way or another! No-one works for free.
    !
    That’s what I meant Paul, as required according to the owner’s stipulations. Agreed, a factory service would more than likely include this as a matter of course. Personally, I always decline a refinish, which is easier to specify with an independent.

    As a matter of interest, are the majority of Seiko movements lacking fine adjustment ?


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  12. #12
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gomers View Post
    As a matter of interest, are the majority of Seiko movements lacking fine adjustment ?

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    I don`t know about the Grand Seiko movements, I don`t get involved with them, but certainly the cheaper 'everyday' ones do. The regulator stud has to be moved by a tiny increment and it's nigh-on impossible to alter the rate by anything more or less than 15 secs/day. The trick is to go too far then come back, checking on the timegrapher to see if you've hit the number you're aiming for.

    I'm currently regulating a Seiko diver with the 6R15C, one I`ve just serviced, that's giving +10 on the cyclotester and +13.5 dial-up so it needs to be regulated further. On the Timegrapher it's showing +12 dial up, I want the watch to run at +5 to +6 dial up, if it had a fine adjuster that would be easy to do. After a few attempts with the regulator it's now showing +5 on the timegrapher so hopefully it'll be where I want it, if not I`ll have another go at it. I never let a watch out without checking what it's really doing, a number showing on a Timegrapher isn`t a guarantee of how the watch will actually run.

    Edit: I see the OP's not added anything to clarify his reasons for starting the thread and whether his question has been answered?
    Last edited by walkerwek1958; 27th November 2021 at 16:03.

  13. #13
    Grand Master wileeeeeey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    The regulator stud has to…
    I thought you were going into third person for a second there

  14. #14
    Grand Master
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    Is that mine giving you grief Paul? 😎😎 I’ve heard before that the 6 series movements are actually less accurate than the workhorse 4 series.
    Quote Originally Posted by walkerwek1958 View Post
    I don`t know about the Grand Seiko movements, I don`t get involved with them, but certainly the cheaper 'everyday' ones do. The regulator stud has to be moved by a tiny increment and it's nigh-on impossible to alter the rate by anything more or less than 15 secs/day. The trick is to go too far then come back, checking on the timegrapher to see if you've hit the number you're aiming for.

    I'm currently regulating a Seiko diver with the 6R15C, one I`ve just serviced, that's giving +10 on the cyclotester and +13.5 dial-up so it needs to be regulated further. On the Timegrapher it's showing +12 dial up, I want the watch to run at +5 to +6 dial up, if it had a fine adjuster that would be easy to do. After a few attempts with the regulator it's now showing +5 on the timegrapher so hopefully it'll be where I want it, if not I`ll have another go at it. I never let a watch out without checking what it's really doing, a number showing on a Timegrapher isn`t a guarantee of how the watch will actually run.

    Edit: I see the OP's not added anything to clarify his reasons for starting the thread and whether his question has been answered?
    Last edited by ktmog6uk; Today at 17:36.

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