Watch Hacking – A Beginners Guide

Watch Hacking – A Beginners Guide

Movements and mechanical timepiece mechanisms are common topics of conversation amongst watch enthusiasts. If mechanical watches are your preference, you have more than likely heard about winding, but what about hacking?

Here is what you should know.

Watch Hacking Explained

When you have a mechanical watch, one of the standard features is time adjustment. However, it is not always easy to get the seconds right. This changes when you have a watch that can stop the second hand.

In a nutshell, watch hacking is when you have the ability to set a watch’s second hand as well as the hour and minute hands.

This functionality first surfaced in the 20th century in order to improve mechanical watch synchronization.

Watch hacking will not impact the timekeeping element of a timepiece. All that happens is the hands are temporarily detached to allow for accurate time setting.

You should also know that a non-hacking watch isn’t less accurate.

How to Hack a Movement

To hack a movement, you would start by pulling out the crown to the time-setting position. Pulling the crown causes the movement level to touch the balance wheel, bringing the movement to a stop.

You can now use another watch as a reference to accurately set the time of your mechanical timepiece.

Once you are done, push the crown back to resume movement.

Is It Possible to Hack a Non-Hack Watch?

Not all mechanical watches have hacking capabilities, which is perfectly fine. If precise time is critical for you, you may want to consider a quartz movement timepiece instead.

The good news is there are a few mechanical non-hack watches that can be hacked using a trick called back-hacking.

Here are the steps you would take:

  • Pull the crown out to the last click, which is when you can adjust the time. If your timepiece has day or date wheels, make sure the crown position isn’t set to adjust those. ‘
  • Next, you are going to turn the crown counterclockwise very slowly. Basically, you want to make several micro-adjustments. This is how you will back-hack the watch. If you do this too quickly, it won’t work, so take your time.
  • You will know this technique worked when the second hand freezes. If it hasn’t, repeat the above step again until you see the second hand stop.
  • You now have the ability to set your time down to the second.

If you don’t feel comfortable back-hacking a watch yourself, rather contact a watch specialist. If your watch is due for a service, ask for the time to be adjusted at the same time.

 

How to Care for an Automatic Watch

10 Tips to Help You Better Care for Your Automatic Watch

Like any other device, you need to care for your automatic timepiece if you want it to look good and work correctly for years to come.

We have put together a few tips to help you take better care of your watch.

10 Ways to Better Care for Your Automatic Watch

  1. Service Your Automatic Watch Regularly

To keep your watch running smoothly, it needs to be serviced and cleaned regularly. This includes oiling and potentially replacing various parts. Servicing your watch every 3 to 5 years is recommended. However, this differs between brands so rather service your watch according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  1. Avoid Dropping or Bumping the Timepiece

An automatic watch is made up of hundreds of parts, so any external shock can result in internal damage. Not dropping or bumping a watch can help you avoid unnecessary repairs. If the movement is damaged, this can result in a very costly repair, so it is best to be as careful as possible. Over and above this, you also want to avoid bumps to protect the appearance of the watch.

  1. Keep the Watch Away from Moisture

Mechanical devices and water should never mix. This doesn’t mean your watch can’t come into contact with water, it simply means you shouldn’t immerse it in water. Exposing the watch to rain for a prolonged period is also not recommended. Basically, limiting how often your watch is exposed to water will prevent rust. Even the steel bracelet can start rusting if it is not dried correctly. Have a cloth or leather strap? Moisture will reduce the strength of the material over time.

  1. Stay Away from Strong Magnets

Electronics and magnets are also not something that should come into constant contact with an automatic watch. If a watch is magnetised, it loses accuracy. It is not always possible to keep your watch away from electronics completely but limiting exposure can make a difference.

  1. Don’t Wind on the Wrist

If you don’t want to break the crown stem, don’t make a habit of winding your watch while it is on your wrist. Winding it this way places too much strain on the stem, which is why it is easier to break.

  1. Use Your Watch

Not using an automatic watch for long periods of time can cause the lubricants to coagulate. This causes inaccuracy or it will bring the watch to a standstill completely. There’s no need to wear one watch too often but find a way to rotate your collection evenly.

  1. Take Care When Changing the Strap

It is always nice to add a new strap to your favourite watch, but it is important to be careful when doing so. If you haven’t changed a strap before, it is really easy to scratch the watch. Rather get a professional to show you how to do it the first time, ensuring you do it correctly in the future. Keep in mind that you also need the right tools for separating the spring bar from the lugs. Using the incorrect tools makes scratches far more likely.

  1. Keep Manual Winding to a Minimum

Even though manual winding will power up your watch quickly, it is best not to do it too regularly. Remember, your automatic watch has self-winding capabilities, so it is not designed for manual winding. If you go the manual route, stick to 5 to 10 revolutions.

  1. Avoid Extreme Temperatures

Automatic watches aren’t designed for extreme heat or cold. By exposing the watch to extreme temperatures, the internal parts expand and contract, causing functionality issues. The temperatures will also cause oil and condensation-related issues.

  1. Don’t Use the Crowns or Pushers in Water

Using the crowns or pushers inside the watch will expose the internal parts to water, so avoid this at all costs. Even if your watch is water resistant, parts such as the crown protrude out, meaning water can pass through when pulled out.

When you correctly care for an automatic watch, it will last for years to come. When you aren’t wearing it, keep it in a watch box for extra protection.

Official vs Independent Watch Repair Centres

Official vs. Independent Watch Repair Centre: Is One Better Than the Other?

If you want to extend the life of your favourite timepiece, it is going to require regular maintenance. During routine maintenance, a watchmaker can test the movement’s performance and watch’s water resistance and replace or repair any components.

Where should you take your watch for servicing and repairs though? Is an official watch repair centre better than an independent facility?

The answer is, not necessarily.

Both facilities are able to service your watch, ensuring it ticks over for many more years to come. However, whether or not you take your timepiece to an official facility has no bearing on how well your watch is serviced or repaired.

Here is why independent centres are often favoured over official facilities.

The Personalised Service

Unlike official repair centres in major cities that receive countless watches every day, independent centres work on a much smaller scale. Independent centres are renowned for building long-term relationships and offering a more personalised experience. An independent horologist takes the time to better understand your maintenance and repair preferences, resulting in a more positive experience.

The Cost Effectiveness

While this does depend on the type of repairs you require, overall, independent centres are far more affordable. Too many watch owners hold off on sending their watches in for routine maintenance because official centres charge such high rates. Unfortunately, this lack of service will ultimately lead to additional problems, which attract higher fees. Independent centres are able to offer lower prices because their overheads are generally much lower. Over and above this, independent repair centres have fewer specialists working on your timepiece, which means less labour costs.

The Wider Variety of Repairs

In most instances, official repair centres won’t take on a timepiece that has been modified – this is not the case with independent watchmakers. If you have added a specialised coating or gems to your timepiece, an independent watch repair centre is the ideal choice. An independent horologist is also more likely to specialise in a larger variety of brands. This means if you own multiple watch brands, you can send them to the same place. Just make sure the centre you have in mind specialises in your specific watch brands before you take them in.

The Faster Turnaround Times

The sooner you can get your watch back, the better. Unfortunately, since official repair centres are inundated with work, the turnaround times are often far longer. The fact that different repairmen are responsible for different parts of the maintenance process also extends the turnaround time. Independent maintenance and repair centres are typically able to service a watch in a shorter amount of time. Again, this is dependent on the work that needs to be done though.

Now that you have a better understanding of why independent watch repair centres are the preferred choice for many watch owners, you can decide which option is right for you. The most important thing is that you don’t skip out on routine maintenance and essential repairs.

Contact Martin’s of Glasgow to discuss your watch maintenance and repair needs.

 

Can My Watch Still Be Repaired

Can My Watch Still Be Repaired?

It’s always disappointing when your favourite timepiece stops working. Not as disappointing as finding out it can’t be repaired at all though.

If your watch stops working, the best thing you can do is get it to a horologist as soon as possible. Wearing the watch once it stops working can cause further damage, so avoid doing this.

Whether or not it can actually be repaired still needs to be determined.

Watch Repairs – Beyond Repair or Not?

Who repairs your watch is the first factor that determines whether or not you can save your timepiece.

The good news is that even watches that date back to the 19th century are still working because they’re serviced on a regular basis. However, this entails taking the watch apart, cleaning and reassembling several hundred parts, which is why it requires the assistance of a professional.

There are a lot of online guides that explain how you can service your watch at home, but this is not recommended, particularly if your watches are investments. What’s more, watches need to be serviced and repaired in a clean environment to prevent dust from further damaging the parts.

Even though servicing a watch can keep it in good working order, some repairs are far more complex. And in some rare cases, watches can’t be repaired at all.

There are two instances when a watch could be beyond repair:

Water Damage – Once water enters a watch, it gradually rusts the parts that keep the timepiece working. In many instances, water can make a watch irreparable. Regularly servicing your watch ensures the seals keep water and dust out. Most seals tend to fail because of a lack of maintenance or due to at-home repairs.

Part Sourcing – When the internal mechanism or spring inside a watch is damaged, it needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to source parts for older watches, which means there’s no other option than to replace the watch completely.

The Cost of Maintaining a Timepiece

Many people tend to put off repairs because of the perceived cost. However, what many don’t realise is that the cost of servicing a watch is often far less than having to send it in for repairs.

Naturally, certain watch brands and models are more costly to repair than others. However, there’s never a reason for a timepiece to get to the point where it can’t be repaired.

Regularly servicing a watch instead of waiting for it to stop working is still the most cost-effective solution available to you.

Possible Reasons Why Your Watch Has Stopped Working

Possible Reasons Why Your Watch Has Stopped Working

It’s not uncommon for a watch to suddenly stop working and there are several reasons why this might happen.

Sometimes, it’s something as simple as a flat battery that needs replacing. Other times, a watch stops working because there’s a problem with the internal mechanism.

Let’s look at some of the main reasons why people end up bringing their timepieces in for repairs.

Why Your Watch Might Have Stopped Functioning

  • Dirt and Dust Have Built-Up

When a watch isn’t serviced for an extended period of time, dirt and dust can end up affecting the internal components. To correct this issue, the individual parts need to be separated, cleaned and oiled by a professional. From there, your watch should start working as normal again.

  • There’s a Problem with the Automatic Winding Mechanism

There are a few reasons why a winding mechanism stops working correctly, forceful impact is one of the most common. Older watches can be challenging to repair because the winding mechanism can be difficult to source – it can also end up being a costly exercise depending on your watch brand.

  • A Loose Screw is Affecting the Internal Mechanism

It’s possible for a screw to come loose after years of regular hand movements, which ends up interfering with the internal mechanism. Engaging in activities such as golf or mountain biking can also gradually loosen screws within the watch. To correct this, the screw is first removed from the mechanism before it’s replaced and tightened.

  • Water Entered the Watch

It only takes a single drop of water to affect watch functionality. When exposed to liquid, the working parts begin to rust, which gradually prevents the timepiece from working. If the water damage is severe enough, it’s not always possible to repair the watch. Water usually enters a watch when the seals are defective, which is why they need to be checked regularly.

  • The Mainspring is Damaged

Clamping pressure and age can cause the mainspring to tear. Automatic watches are designed to stop unnecessary movements of the rotor, which prevents the spring from over-tightening. In older watches, it’s much easier to break the spring. If the mainspring is damaged, it needs to be replaced completely to get the watch to start working again.

Avoiding Common Watch Concerns

To avoid unnecessary repairs, it’s important to have your timepiece checked by a professional every year. These checks will ensure the watch is working as it should and that the seals are keeping the internal mechanism protected. In fact, the mechanism should be proofed every 5 years to avoid these common problems.

If damage occurs or your timepiece stops working, it’s recommended that you stop wearing it to avoid additional damage. Rather bring it straight to a watch professional for analysis and repair.

Make sure that wherever you take your watch to be repaired that they have experience with your specific watch brand.

If you’re wondering whether finding a professional to assist you with your repairs is really necessary, we suggest reading this blog.

Are Patek Philippe Timepieces a Sound Investment

Are Patek Philippe Timepieces a Sound Investment?

No matter what you’re investing in, there will be some degree of risk. Whether you’re investing in bonds or tangible objects such as a watch, it’s the risk that makes investing so lucrative.

Watches are a form of art on your wrist, but by purchasing the right brand and model, your timepiece can also be an investment.

What timepiece to invest in is a common debate amongst watch lovers, but Patek Philippe is one brand that always seems to crop up in these conversations.

A Look at the Patek Philippe Design

Patek Philippe is renowned for its engineering as well as it’s beautiful dial design and finishing details. Any diamonds that are placed are done so by hand, as is any enamel painting. Each watch’s in-house movements are created in Geneva, with each timepiece undergoing stringent quality checks.

It’s no wonder their watches take around 12 months to complete – some of their more complicated pieces take even longer.

The brand is also behind innovations such as the perpetual calendar, split-seconds chronograph and the minute repeater.

Overall, Patek Philippe is one watch brand that takes pride in bringing each customer a unique and memorable timepiece.

Investing in a Patek Philippe Timepiece

Rolex has become such a famous brand that it’s become a go-to option for first-time investors. In fact, you don’t even need to be interested in watches to know the name. Unfortunately, this means that Patek Philippe is often overlooked by new buyers.

This family-owned watch brand was founded in 1839 and to date, they have only produced around a million timepieces. With each watch taking at least a year to complete, it’s not difficult to understand why these timepieces start at around $20,000. Many of their other pieces cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Grandmaster Chime ref. 6300A-010 is one of the most noticeable Patek watches. It sold for $31m at an auction in 2019, making it the most expensive watch to ever be sold on auction.

Historically, while Patek Philippe is not a brand that always springs to mind first, particularly amongst first-time investors, it has one of the best year-on-year performance records. This alone makes it a sound investment, not to mention the high-end engineering, exclusivity, and noteworthy heritage.

While many celebrities wear this watch as a day-to-day piece, most watch buyers purchase Patek Philippe timepieces as an investment. Their vintage pieces are particularly intricate, making them an ideal investment or family heirloom.

You will also be interested to know that every Patek Philippe watch is registered in their archives, making it that much easier to trace the history of the timepiece. The searchable extract is where you will find the date and time of production, as well as where the watch was originally sold.

In terms of where to purchase a Patek Philippe watch, it’s essential that you take the time to find a reputable dealer. If you are planning to buy from a private buyer, make sure that you know what to look out for to ensure it’s a genuine Patek Philippe timepiece.

Watch Investment Tips_Martins of Glasgow

7 Need-to-Know Watch Investment Tips

The right kind of watch kept in a good condition can end up with a high price tag over time. This is not to say that you should only invest to sell though – owning a unique or vintage watch can be priceless.

If you do want to go the route of investing in a timepiece, it is important to familiarise yourself with brands, models and how the watch valuation process works. Brand is certainly not everything though. Rarity, craftmanship and demand also play a role – discontinued watches are in particular demand.

Most people are familiar with brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe but demand for brands such as Omega, Tudor, Heuer and Panerai are on the rise.

Since modern watches are manufactured in larger quantities, the return on investment is not as sizeable – not now anyway.

Watches that tend to increase in value over the years are as close to their original condition as possible. Variations of an original model are not as valuable.

Let us get into a few top tips that will help you better understand how to invest in a timepiece or two.

Investing in Watches – 7 Pro Tips

1.Look at Brand Reputation

Watch brands that have impressive reputations are far more likely to sell for higher prices later on. Start by looking at the reputation of the watch brands you are considering before you take the next step.

2. Spend Time on Research

Next, spend time looking at watches that have increased in value over the years and consider why. By connecting the dots and looking at why a watch’s value has increased, you can identify similar characteristics in potential timepieces. Some watches just keep their value better than others, Rolex being one of these brands.

3. Mechanical is Better

Mechanical watches tend to have a longer lifespan. Even if a watch has obsolete parts, a professional watch repairer may be able to create identical parts or source similar parts that will keep the timepiece working as it should. Keep in mind that using generic instead of original parts can affect the value of a watch.

4. Limited Edition is Ideal

Limited edition watches almost always increase in value over time. Statement pieces are automatically more sought after and are easier to sell when you are ready to do so. However, you will need to keep the watch in excellent condition if you want it to fetch an impressive price.

5. Service Your Timepiece

The better the condition of the watch, the more valuable it is. If you are going to repair or service a watch, take it to someone who is reputable, qualified and has experience with your brands. If you are going to invest in a timepiece, do a little research to find a reputable repair centre.

6. Insure Your Timepiece

If you are going to spend a decent amount of money on a timepiece or two, make sure that it’s covered by your home insurer. Cover the watch against both theft and damage.  Martins of Glasgow are be able to offer advice with regards to insurance.

7. Practice Patience

If you are going to invest in a watch with the idea that the value will increase in a year or two after your purchase, you may want to reconsider. Most watches will only see a significant increase in value after 5 to 10 years. Investing in watches takes patience.

Investing in timepieces can be exciting and worthwhile. Just make sure that you are only purchasing your watches from reputable dealers. Take your time when making this kind of investment if you want to make it worth your time and money.

How to Remove Watch Links_Martins of Glasgow

A Basic Guide to Removing Watch Links

When a watch is first purchased, it’s usually adjusted to fit the wrist of the owner. However, if the owner changes, the links are damaged or the wearer gains or loses weight, the bracelet needs to be adjusted again.

Links can actually be damaged by wearing your watch too tightly to begin with. When a watch is too tight, it places strain on the links, which eventually causes them to break. The solution, adding and removing bracelet links.

The Ideal Bracelet Size

There really is no ideal bracelet size – it’s all about the preference of the owner. Basically, you want the bracelet to be loose enough for you to fit a pen, or similar object, between the watch and your wrist. This will indicate the watch is both secure and comfortable.

Watch Link Removal – A 5-Step Guide

If you feel confident enough to remove watch links at home, these are the steps you should follow:

  1. Measure the Bracelet of Your Watch

Instead of guessing how many links you should remove, measure your watch bracelet first. You can do this by putting your watch on as you normally would. Once you’re happy with its position and it feels comfortable, flip your wrist so that the clasp is facing you.

Next, start grabbing the slack of the bracelet until you’re holding enough links for the watch to feel comfortable on your wrist. The links between your fingertips will tell you how many you need to remove. If you’re not feeling entirely sure, rather start removing one or two at a time until you’re happy with the final fit. Removing links is easier than adding them back.

  1. Grab Your Tools

You will now need a pin pusher, small screwdriver and a hammer – the smaller the better. Find a flat surface that you can work on before you start removing any links.

  1. Start Removing the Necessary Links

Every watch is designed slightly differently in terms of the bracelet so removing links might be different too. Here are some general instructions that you can follow to remove the links:

  • To start, place your watch in your left hand to remove the spring bar on the left of your watch clasp
  • Using the pin pusher, lever the spring bar out. The spring bar is the small bar that holds your watch bracelet in place
  • Next, look out for the arrows on the bracelet links you want to remove. The arrows will show you where to insert the pin pusher tool. Once the pin appears on the other end of the link, pull it out and the link will detach
  • Keep repeating this process to remove all necessary links. Just be sure to remove the links on both sides of the clasp and remove an even number on either side. This is what will keep your watch face centred
  1. Put the Watch Bracelet Back Together

Now you can start putting the pins back in to complete your watch bracelet. To do this, find the arrows again and push the pins in the opposite directions. You may need to use a hammer to tap the pins back in securely.

  1. Reattach the Clasp

Lastly, you will need to reattach the clasp by replacing the spring bar.

DIY or Professional Help?

While removing links from a watch is not overly complex, if you’re worried about damaging your timepiece or don’t have the tools to get the job done, you may want to get help from a professional. Contact us if you require any type of assistance with your favourite timepiece.

Watch Water Resistence_Martins of Glasgow

Water-Resistant Watches: An Easy-to-Understand Guide

Water-resistance is one of the primary features that watch lovers look for when shopping around for a new or second-hand timepiece. We come into contact with water on a daily basis and buying a water-resistant watch ensures your favourite timepiece won’t be ruined.

Watches that are water-resistant will have a specific rating, which indicates what you can and can’t do with it. Let’s get into the specifics.

Water-Resistant Watches vs. Waterproof Watches

No watch is 100% waterproof, which is why the majority of watches are labelled as water-resistant and have a metre rating.

The difference between a water-resistant timepiece and one that is waterproof is linked to how much water it can be exposed to before it breaks. This aside, almost any watch will break if it’s placed under enough water pressure.

There are a handful of waterproof watches available though, the Rolex Deepsea Challenge being one of them. Even this watch can’t go below 12,000 metres though.

If you want to shop around for a waterproof watch, you might be looking around for a while. Rather look for a good water-resistant piece.

Understanding the Rating of a Water-Resistant Watch

Water-resistant watches will have a depth rating and each watch will be different, depending on the brand and model you choose.

What many people don’t know is that the depth rating is not full proof. It merely means that a watch can be used at its maximum depth for a short period of time. For example, a watch with a depth rating of 100M, can probably only be used a fraction of that rating.

Here’s an idea of what you can and can’t do with your watch based on its water-resistance rating.

  • 50M/165 ft: The most you can do is shower with the watch.
  • 100M/330 ft:You can swim with the watch but only in shallow water.
  • 300M/1000 ft:You can swim in deep water or scuba dive with this watch.
  • 1000M/3000 ft:The watch is ideal for deep sea diving.

If your watch is not water-resistant, it can’t even be exposed to water when cleaning it. The more water-resistant a watch is, the smaller it will be.

Caring for Your Water-Resistant Watch

Once you’ve purchased a water-resistant watch, here’s how you can extend its life:

  • Have the battery changed by a professional. If you have a water-resistant watch, let a professional change the battery so that the seal can be checked. If the seal malfunctions, water will ruin your watch.
  • Rinse your watch after swimming in saltwater. If you’re planning to dive or swim in the sea, rinse your watch in freshwater and dry it thoroughly afterwards. Corrosive salt can ruin your watch if it builds up.
  • Watch your leather strap. If your timepiece has a leather strap, remember that it’s not very resistant to water, so you may want to keep exposure to a minimum.
  • Steam is not ideal. Even if your watch is water-resistant, it’s best to take it off before spending time in a hot sauna. The heat can cause the seal to expand, which will compromise the watch’s protection.

If you notice any water droplets inside your watch, take it to a repair centre as soon as you can. Depending on the extent of the damage, some watches can still be salvaged if water got into the internal mechanisms.

Signs Your Watch is Magnetised_Martins of Glasgow

How to Tell If Your Watch is Magnetised

Magnetism is an issue that affects mechanical watches. A significant change in timing is a clear sign that your watch could be magnetised. A watch that started out by running a few seconds faster per day can start running hours faster per day if it’s magnetised.

How Does a Watch Get Magnetised?

It’s actually very easy for a watch to become magnetised. Most of what you do during a normal day as the potential to cause this issue.

For one, appliances and electronic devices can slowly start to magnetise a mechanical watch, including microwaves and computers. Basically, any device that has a strong magnetic field has the ability to magnetise a watch. A watch’s balance spring is the component that’s usually responsible for most of the magnetism.

When a balance spring is magnetised, it causes the watch to oscillate faster, which is when a change in time occurs.

Signs Your Watch is Magnetised

There are two ways that you can tell whether your phone is magnetised. The first is a compass and the second is an application called Lepsi.

If you happen to have a compass at home, set it on a flat table and hold your watch over it. If your watch causes the needle of the compass to move, it’s magnetised.

The Lepsi app is currently only available for iOS. There is an app called Kello for Android devices but it isn’t known to work very well.

If you have an iOS device, download the Lepsi app – it’s completely free. The app provides clear instructions on how to set up the magnetic sensor. Once you start the sensor, place the watch about 1cm away – be sure not to touch the screen. The app will then tell you whether magnetism has been detected.

What to Do If Your Watch is Magnetised

If your watch is magnetised, you will need to fix it. The first option is to send it off to a repair centre such as Martins of Glasgow. It only takes several minutes to demagnetise a watch and it’s an affordable repair too.

The other option is to purchase your own equipment. A demagnetiser is inexpensive but it’s only worthwhile if you have several mechanical watches and want to ensure you can fix them at home whenever you need to. A demagnetiser is also very easy to use. You simply press a button while your watch is placed on top of it.

Do Anti-Magnetic Watches Exist?

Yes, there are several brands that have taken steps to reduce the effects of magnetic fields on their timepieces. One method is to protect the mechanics of the watch with a metal cage. Most of the time this cage is made from soft iron, which keeps the magnetism away from the internal mechanisms. The other way to reduce the effects is to build parts using non-iron materials, which can’t be magnetised as easily.

If you’re interested in purchasing an anti-magnetic watch, Rolex and Omega are two brands that make them. If you already have a collection of watches you love, magnetism isn’t a cause for concern and can easily be corrected.