"My watch has been running for years and I've never had it serviced," we frequently hear. Why should a watch be serviced if this is the case?
It's vital to remember that there's a considerable difference between a watch that works and one that genuinely keeps time. If a watch has gone decades without being serviced by a watchmaker and is still running, this is due to the amazing design of the watch movement (such as the wonderful Swiss lever escapement) rather than a sign that your watch is in good shape. Most relatively recent clocks should, to varying degrees, keep time. If your watch is losing or gaining minutes per day, this is a clear indication that it needs to be serviced.
Even if your watch is keeping time, there are numerous additional parts of a watch movement that need to be serviced on a regular basis aside from those involved just in timekeeping. If your watch has a chronograph function, for example, or the parts required to wind the watch efficiently.
A watch movement requires periodic maintenance in the form of a service in order to function properly. This entails completely dismantling, cleaning, reassembling, lubricating, adjusting, and testing the entire system. It is also inspected for wear and replaced any damaged parts. When a watch is not serviced for an extended period of time, the oils and greases begin to dry up or act to actually increase friction, and parts are left to run dry, resulting in greater wear.
If you have a really unusual or ancient watch, this may present problems because worn components may be difficult to obtain. This could need the creation of new parts, increasing the expense of the repair enormously. You may also have heard that some Swiss watchmakers limit the availability of parts for even their most recent clocks. Another reason to keep an eye on your timepiece! Having stated that, we are fortunate in that we can obtain a large number of such parts. Service intervals for different models vary, but as a general rule, we recommend 4-5 years.
Clients have expressed surprise at the requirement to maintain a watch on a regular basis to ensure its continuous longevity and accuracy. The comparison I prefer to use is that of car maintenance. Consider your watch's movement to be a miniature engine. If you wear it every day, it keeps time 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It's a very amazing thing. Consider driving your car in this manner! Thinking about it in these words makes the necessity for upkeep seem less strange.
When you own a high-quality timepiece from a brand like Rolex, San Martin, or Baltany, it makes sense to take care of it. By keeping your watch repaired on a regular basis, it will continue to offer you with years of dependable service and may even become an heirloom to hand down to the next generation.