Mechanical WW care and advise please.

Discussion in 'Watch Repair' started by watchunglava, Feb 3, 2009.

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  1. watchunglava

    watchunglava Registered User

    Feb 3, 2009
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    can you folks school me on the best way to keep my gold watches clean . fingure prints, smuges ,ect. or for example like a nice clean up similar to say detailing a car or something. but notice i didnt say oil change on the car just to keep it blinging.

    also how often should i take it to the watch maker for service.

    i have only taken my watches to arron faber in nyc http://www.aaronfaber.com/service.html for crystal repair and service on my pocket watch. and vacheron constantin in switzerland for a complete repair of my wrist watch . 24.jpg

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    i did find this shop here where i live now locally in maine . http://www.myswisstime.com/repair.htm

    is this a well known watchmaker?



    thanks
     
  2. Ansomnia

    Ansomnia Registered User

    Sep 11, 2005
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    Well, I can't comment on the watchmaker you referred to but generally-speaking, I would advise against having your watches serviced unless they are really due for service.

    Servicing a watch will subject the watch to wear and tear... and exposes them to accidents in the watchmaker's shop and other places (like while being transported). Watchmakers are human and they will make mistakes, often unnoticed by the watch owners. You as a concerned owner will likely be more careful than the watchmaker when handling your precious belonging. Whenever someone touches your watch you must expect wear and tear. So don't constantly service your watch - you are just making it worse. Servicing is not some magical process. I suspect the only instance a watch will come back to you with less wear than before is if you have the watch professionally restored using factory technique and original parts.

    Use the watches instead and try not to fret about normal wear and fingerprints. Very few watches were made NOT to be used or worn. Watches work much better when you use them regularly. If they are not used, they are more likely to not work properly after prolonged storage. IMO, using them with care and servicing them when needed is better than relegating them to display items.

    I think most well-made and well-maintained watches should outlast us when used without accident.


    Michael
     
  3. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Registered User
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    Aug 31, 2000
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    Vintage watches (before they were water resistent) were designed to be service once a year. This was because the oil broke down and because they were not sealed to dust and grit getting in. Modern sythetic oils now last about 8-10 years, so we are left with dust and grit penetration.

    If you are wearing a vintage watch every day, then I would recommend that it be cleaned every two to three years. If it is spending much of the time protected from dust (for example, stored in a glass dispaly case), then you can extend this time. If you are wearing it in a high dust, lint and/or grit environment, then you should shorten this time.

    If your watch is form the water-proof or water-resistent generation where it is sealed from water and thus dust, you can then extend this time to 7-10 years, provided sythetic watch oils are used.

    If a watch is not being run, it does not need to be cleaned.

    Don
     
  4. watchunglava

    watchunglava Registered User

    Feb 3, 2009
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    thank you for the advise .

    i hardly ever wear the pocket watch . which is a shame . ussually just for formal events like weddings ect.

    the wrist watch gets worn more often but not daily . i constantly work in both white and blue collar environments . so depending on what color collar im wearing dictates if the vacheron is worn on the wrist.

    even though my great grandfather who owned a machine shop wore this watch everyday on the floor , back then this was brand new and easily replacable .

    i cant just go to the store and replicate my great grandfathers watch . so i just wanted to know how to best care for it .

    thanks again.
     
  5. Kevin W.

    Kevin W. Registered User
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    Apr 11, 2002
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    I work at the Veritas Tools machine shop.
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    I guess a bank vault is the best, controlled heat and humidity, but you would not see them often.I have a locked display cabinet in my bedroom and display most of my watches there.You could take them out sometimes and just rub them down with those jewelers clothes.
     
  6. Don Dahlberg

    Don Dahlberg Registered User
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    Aug 31, 2000
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    To elaborate on what I said before, if you keep it in a dry place out of the sun, perhaps in a glass dome and if you do not run the watch, you don't have to do anything in terms of service.

    If you run a non-water resistent vintage watch from time to time, then you have to have it cleaned by a good watchmaker every 3 to 5 years.

    If you wore it every day, then I would cut that down to 1 to 3 years depending on the environment.

    It it is a water resistent and thus dust resistent watch, then clean it every 7 to 10 years.

    If you are dealing with a normal vintage watch, then you need to ask a potential watchmaker how he/she cleans a watch. It should involve taking the watch apart to all moving parts, cleaning and rinsing in an ultrasonic or mechanical watch cleaning machine, inspecting the parts, reassembling the watch, oiling and adjusting appropriate to the movement. Finally the watch should be run several days in several postions. The watchmaker needs to stand behind their work for several months.

    For a high level watch like the Vacheron, you need to be more careful and make sure that the watchmaker has worked extensively with level of watch. A scratch on the movement from a slip with the screwdriver decreases the value of the watch.

    A good watchmaker is not cheap. A high end watchmaker is very expensive. I have friends who work on only high level watches. Their work starts about $400 for an overhaul. See for example http://www.rgmwatches.com/repair.html For this kind of service the watch will come out in as good a running order as it did from the factory. It cost more to overhaul a Ferrari than a Ford.

    Again, if you do not run it and do not store it where it will rust, then you need do nothing more.

    Ask the watchmaker questions. If you hear any tendancy for shortcuts or that something doesn't matter, walk away.

    Don
     
  7. watchunglava

    watchunglava Registered User

    Feb 3, 2009
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    yea i only took it to this one guy here in portland maine , to have the watch band changed .

    when i had it serviced after sitting for like 20 years in a bank vault . i sent it to vacheron in switerland .

    mabe you could check this local guy out for me as he is the only one around .

    i would be willing to travel to boston if need be any good watchmakers there?

    this is the local place the watchmaker is from swiss himself . he seemed really confident about working on it.

    http://www.myswisstime.com/
     
  8. watchunglava

    watchunglava Registered User

    Feb 3, 2009
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    i mean this guys resume seems really good

    A native of Switzerland, Claude
    studied at Ecole D' horologie, Fleurier
    He worked for a time at OlmaJeannin
    and Fleurier Watch Co. before moving
    to Bridgeport, Ct. to become manager
    of the repair dept. at Waltham Watch
     
  9. Dave Haynes

    Dave Haynes Registered User

    Sep 12, 2000
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    As Don pointed out, the frequency of service has a direct connection with how well the movement is cased. You can take a 40 year old Wyler or similarly cased watch and it will appear as new inside. The watch is only as good as its case (one of the keys to Seiko's success). If you are lucky enough to find a really good watchmaker, the service will not damage or shorten the life of the watch. Watches were designed to come apart and be cleaned. That said, there are people out there posing as watchmakers who take drastic shortcuts with people's watches. There are watch cleaning machine rinses that contain lubricants and supposedly lubricate the watch in the rinse. This method will leave evidence of use by having this chemical leech out onto the dial if not done well. In any event, it is not a watch service, it is a bad joke. These are the people I would steer clear of. You can find out a lot by talking to the person and asking questions. The actual amounts of lubricants used in a service is tiny. The important part is where the oil is placed, will it stay where it is placed, and is the watch completely clean before new oil is placed. If you have a pocket watch that was serviced well and is pulled out and used every year or so at a special occasion, you could go decades between services. Don't get on the excitement plan about it. One last thing: there is no correlation between price and quality. I have seen watchmakers in some of the most exclusive areas of Marin county who feel no guilt about charging $4-500 for one of these cheap services. They look you right in the eye and tell you that it is just fine when it isn't.
     
  10. mentat247

    mentat247 Registered User

    Apr 19, 2009
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    Henry Fried in the watch repairers manual says a watch should be serviced every 9 to 12 months. I assume that is outdated and written before synthetic oils were in use?
     

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