A Guide to Watch Repairs

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Guide to Watch RepairsIf you own watches, then you will eventually need to get them repaired. At some point, everyone experiences problems from aging. It could be something as simple as needing a battery replacement to something more complicated with the movement that will require expert hands to fix. Regardless of what the problem is, there are many ways to get your watch repaired. The key is to know where to take your watch for service and how best to manage the process. Here is a guide to watch repairs to help you keep your collection in good order and to get your watches serviced.

Package Your Watch Safely

When you decide to take your watch in for service, start by packaging it so that it will be safe during the trip. If your watch was damaged in needs to be repaired, you want to make sure that you put it in sealed packaging so that none of the parts disappear on the way to the shop. This is why many watch owners keep the original packaging so that they have something to transport their watches and that are padded and will not scratch the surface.

Before you hand your watch over to the service team, put a card in the packaging with it that has your name and contact information. This will make it easier for the repair team to contact you if they need to and it will help keep pristine watches from being confused with the store’s inventory. Plus, you are more likely to get the packaging back since they will understand that it is a collector’s item, as well as your watch.

Repairs vs. Service

Many people get repair services confused with getting a watch serviced. These are two different services and you want to make sure that the repairman that works on your watch has experience with the service that you need. 

A repair is a process to fix a specific problem. For example, your watch may need a new crystal if you drop it and it cracks. The repairman will focus on a specific problem so that he or she can get your watch back into working order.

Getting your watch serviced means that you are having maintenance work done on your watch. Watches need periodic maintenance work so that they do not damage components and continue to work without serious problems. You should have your watch serviced regularly to protect it from serious wear over time.

Common Watch Service and Repair Tasks

Most of the repairs on watches involve common problems on parts that can wear out quickly. For you, this means that repairing your watch should be relatively easy in most cases. There are several common problems to have worked on if your watch is being serviced or repaired.


If your watch is powered by battery, it will eventually need to be replaced. Batteries can last a long time, but they cannot last forever. In most cases, replacing a battery is simple. It involves removing the back of the watch and replacing the battery, which should be located in an easy-to-reach spot. You could do this yourself, but more delicate watches should be taken to a repair shop or service. You do not want to risk damaging something while trying to replace the battery.

This also applies to watches that are mechanically driven. They have a component called the mainspring, which serves as a battery of sorts. Over time, the mainspring can lose some of its tension and elasticity, making it less effective at creating mechanical energy. If your watch begins to lose its accuracy or cannot last as long after winding, it may need a new mainspring.


All watches need to be lubricated on the inside so that they run smoothly. This used to be done with animal-based lubricants, but you can get synthetic options now as well. Regardless of which one you choose, that lubrication will eventually stop being effective. You will see this when your watch begins to slow down, have trouble ticking, or stop altogether. 

Take your watch in for servicing so that the lubrication can be replaced. Do this as soon as you notice a problem so that the gears are not damaged. If this happens in a vintage watch, it may be difficult to replace the damaged part.


Although most watches are well sealed, it is possible for dirt and other contaminants to get inside of some watches. On top of this, an oil-based lubricant tends to become sticky over time. This can stop your watch from working effectively.

Periodically, take your watch in to be cleaned. The repairman can clean the old lubrication out as well as any dirt or other contaminants that can interfere with the mechanical workings of your watch. Once that is finished, your watch can be lubricated again so that it runs smoothly.

Movement Repairs

One of the most complicated repairs do to a watch is to fix the movement system. Each watch has a slightly different movement and they are very complex. If you notice that your watch is having trouble ticking or does not run at all, take it to a repair shop or service center as soon as possible. As there may be a problem in the movement and getting it fixed as soon as possible helps protect all of the pieces.

Outer Cleaning

If you want your watch to stay in good condition, make sure it is cleaned regularly. Dirt, oil from your skin, and other contaminants can build up on the surface of your watch and affect the way that it looks. If not cleaned regularly, some watches will be prone to rust and scratches. 

Every now and again, make sure it receives a deep cleaning to get anything out of the crevices of different parts. If it is allowed to build up, it could damage different parts of your watch or make it harder to repair. Repair shops can give your watch a deep cleaning, including cleaning the band so that it stays in pristine condition and always looks great when you are ready to wear it out.

Work with a Qualified Repair Shop

Maintenance is crucial to making sure that your watch collection stays in good condition over the years. While getting prompt repairs can help, you will get the best results from being proactive in your maintenance. Work with a qualified repair shop like the team at Swiss FineTiming. We have extensive experience working with many of the industry-leading watchmakers to ensure that all of our timepieces are in top condition. Call us at (312) 337-4700 to discuss your repair and service needs with our team.