How complicated is it to repair a watch

How Complicated is it to Repair a Watch?

Put simply, how complicated a watch repair is, depends on the watch. While a generic watch that you can buy at any superstore may be easy for you to take apart and figure out, a high-end luxury watch will be a lot more difficult and have much more at stake if something goes wrong. 

Here’s why.

Generic vs Luxury

Repairing a generic watch is actually quite simple. You can learn to repair many generic watches yourself using YouTube videos and books. 

Similar to luxury watches, you will have many small parts to deal with. When you open the watch, you will need to take out and individually check, clean, polish and reoil all the little parts. A generic watch averages 130 tiny little parts. 

Can you imagine taking apart and replacing 130 little parts in the right order, method, and place? 

Could you do that with 400+ tiny parts? This is what makes high-end watch repair so complicated. 

Some watches have hundreds of tiny parts to deal with. The watches themselves don’t get much bigger, the parts get smaller, fiddlier, and way more accurate. Placing a part even a millimetre in the wrong direction can prevent the whole system from working as accurately as it should.  

What does a Service and Repair Involve?

Before you even start repairing or servicing a watch, you need to prepare your tools and workspace. This task is not complicated, but it is also not something the average layman would think to do. When is the last time you thought to sharpen a screwdriver?

Someone preparing to repair a watch will also need tweezers. It is not uncommon for a watch repairman to have different types of tweezers. Some will help with the accuracy of placement, others, like the brass tweezer, will be to prevent scratching of the surfaces inside the watch.

When you have everything prepared it’s time for your watch to come apart. Piece by piece it is cleaned, polished, oiled, but also checked for any defects or signs of wear. As time goes by the little parts inside a watch can rub off on each other causing wear, this will in turn damage the watch if the watch is not serviced. These are the parts that will need to be replaced. 

Replacing Parts

With a generic watch, replacing a part is as easy as finding the equivalent generic piece and swapping it out. 

However, the issue is much more complicated if you need to repair a luxury watch. There are so many things you need to consider. 

  • Are they still making parts for this watch?
  • Are the workings outdated?
  • Do I need to order direct from the manufacturer?
  • Will the manufacturer release parts to me?

In many cases, a watch repairman will have a generic piece that may work just as well for that particular piece that needs replacing. But a quality watch repair service will never use it. Yes, it would fix the watch, but can a Rolex still be classed as a Rolex if it has a generic replacement part inside? What would happen if that watch was ever sent back to Rolex for repair? 

Luxury watches are expensive, and the client always wants to keep the quality of that investment as high as possible. So, replacement parts must be exact. 

Putting it Back Together

If you thought taking apart a watch was complicated, consider the work involved in putting it back together. It’s not just all those tiny cogs, wheels and gears that need to fit behind the face, but all those tiny screws. 

While all the screws are tiny, it often happens that a watch has more than one size of the tiny screw inside that mechanism. Putting the wrong size screw in the wrong spot can cause damage to the workings of the watch. 

Every single screw needs to go back into the watch in the right place. For an experienced watch repairman, this is simple. But someone learning will repeatedly be faced with that frustration of having a screw leftover or worse, a screw that doesn’t fit in the last hole. 

High-End Watch Repair Service

Martins of Glasgow has been in the business of repairing watches since 1992. Their team is made up of technicians & contacts who can handle the overhaul, repair & restore just about any watch. These include high end makes like Rolex, Cartier, Omega, IWC, Jaeger leCoultre, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Longine, Tissot, and more.

If you have a watch that you would like to be serviced, repaired, or restored back to its former beauty, contact us 0141 946 6333 on or through our contact us page.