We often take for granted that the precision piece of machinery on your wrist is with you through all of life's little dramas; getting wet while swimming or while worn in the shower (not recommended, but we know you'll do it anyway), damp with perspiration, exposed to magnetism, sudden temperature changes, dirt, grime and generally knocked about as part of its everyday life.
Yet a typical automatic movement can contain over 100 moving parts, chronographs and other complications more than 250 - some smaller than a pin head. These delicate wheels, levers and springs are both durable and sensitive. In many instances, your watch may survive a fall or hard whack completely unscathed, however a gentle bump at precisely the wrong angle can damage one of these many parts.
A common question we get asked is how often should your watch be serviced? Most watch manufactures recommend a service every five years. Some say as few as four; others as many as 8; so every five years is therefore a good number to keep in mind. The more the watch is worn the better. If a watch is worn infrequently, it's important to wind and run the watch at least once a month to keep the movement's parts lubricated, to prevent rusting and ensure oils do not completely dry. A watch winder is also a good idea if you have automatic watches. We stock a wide range of Wolf watch winders to keep your watches running in top condition.
If you're in the water frequently, five years is the maximum time between servicing, not the minimum. This will ensure that the gaskets are kept in good condition and the screw-down threads aren't compromised. For watches worn while swimming or during water related activities, it's also important to have the watch tested for water resistance every two years, as the sealing gaskets age and corrode when exposed to the elements. Changing the gaskets ensures that the water resistance of your watch is still intact - which in turn makes sure that moisture and debris cannot enter the watch.
Quartz (battery operated) watches also need regular maintenance. It's important to replace the battery as soon as it's exhausted to prevent the old battery leaking acid and causing extensive damage to the circuit and mechanical components. A lot of modern quartz watches have a low battery indicator built into them. If you notice the second hand on your watch "jumping" every 3-5 seconds, this is usually the movement recognising that the battery voltage is low and a replacement is needed. It's also recommended that the all the gaskets are checked and the watch is pressure tested while the battery is being changed. A quartz watch, like a mechanical watch, is made up of a number small wheels and levers that all require proper lubrication and clean surfaces to operate correctly. In fact, because a quartz watch lacks the mechanical torque of a spring driven watch, they are more susceptible to the effects dirty or dry oils. So like a mechanical watch, servicing is recommended every 5-7 years.
One of the most overlooked parts of your watch is the strap. The spring bars holding your strap to the watch are designed as a break-away point should you get your watch, and therefore your arm, stuck in a dangerous position. Bending of these spring bars is common and should be replaced if excess movement is noticed. With everyday use, debris builds up in the links and pins. This combined with the constant movement while wearing causes wear. If not kept clean, large amount of wear can render the bracelet unrepairable. This is especially evident with titanium watches. It's recommended to have the spring bars, pins, screws and clasp checked, cleaned and adjusted once a year to prevent losing your watch off your wrist.
Clocks are very different to watches. Whereas watches are sealed up from the elements, clocks do not have the same luxury causing oils to dry out quicker and allowing foreign particles such as dust and debris to build up inside. There are two types of regular maintenance required in order to keep your clock running for years to come.
As mentioned, because a clocks movement is not sealed away, the fine oils inside slowly dry up over time, and left unchecked, this can cause damage. It is therefore recommended to have your clock re-oiled every 4-5 years. Depending on the type of clock, some can be done on site; others will need to be brought into the workshop.
Clock servicing should be undertaken every 10 years. Over time the oils collect dust and will start acting as a cutting paste, cutting out bearings and wearing pivots. Servicing is much more involved than re-oiling. A typical service for a clock involves completely stripping down the movement, cleaning, checking all components, polish the wheels pivots, replace worn bearings, repair or replace worn or damaged parts, reassemble the movement, oil, functions set up and tested and timing checked. This is just a quick overview of what's involved; the actual process can take many hours to complete.
When it comes to external clock repairs, there are two paths that can be taken; restoration and conservation. Restoration involves bringing a clock back to looking like new. Sanding back and refurbishing woodwork, cleaning, polishing and lacquering metal surfaces and repairing or remaking making broken case parts. Conservation is all about keeping the clock as original as possible while protecting its exterior surfaces and preventing damage that may already be present from getting any worse. We undertake both types of work and we'd be happy to discuss the options for your own clock with you.
We also stock clock keys, glasses, pendulums, suspension springs and movement parts for many clock types and brands.